Retail Therapy: The Art of Cheering Ourselves Up

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Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

‘Retail therapy’ is a concept that many of us are familiar with. Had a rough day? Do some shopping. Had your heart broken? Shopping. Bad exam? Shopping. Whether it’s for food, clothes, books or whatever else your heart desires, splashing some cash to cheer yourself up can really do wonders.

Personally, I am a big fan of retail therapy. Just this week I had an awful day, and, since I had been eyeing up a book for a couple of days and a mug for probably over a year, I figured, why not buy them and cheer myself up? And let me tell you, did it work. That evening I sat down with my book and a cup of tea in my new mug and I felt beyond content. I was still upset, but I certainly felt a whole lot better.

Whether it’s an impulse purchase or you finally bite the bullet and buy something that you’ve wanted for a while, there is nothing wrong with occasionally treating yourself, whether it’s on a bad day or just any other day.

You don’t even have to buy anything for yourself. Buying a gift for someone else can also make you feel good. I was in a pet shop the other day with a friend and figured that I would buy my dog a bone. Whilst it wasn’t intended to be ‘retail therapy’, seeing her so happy when I gave it to her made me happy. As selfish as that may sound, it is nice to treat the people – and pets – you love.

The process of shopping, in person or online, can help to distract you from whatever is upsetting you. Once that part is over, you have the excitement of a parcel arriving; of owning something new that can cheer you up. A film or book to distract yourself, a new outfit to give yourself a boost, or food to indulge in – there are endless possibilities to treat yourself.

My latest area of retail therapy is looking at flights while I’m sad. While I haven’t actually booked any flights yet, I have every intention of booking myself a flight to Italy this summer to give myself some much needed time away. This is certainly a dangerous path for my bank account to be going down (and will not help at all in my attempts to get out of my overdraft), but I know I’ll have a good time and sometimes that’s what is needed. I will be making more of a habit out of this.

Is retail therapy going to fix all of your problems? Absolutely not. But there is nothing wrong with making a purchase to cheer yourself up every now and then – it can make a world of difference when it is really needed. It is a slippery slope to go down, and happiness certainly should not be based on material things, however, it can give you a sense of control – a key part of retail therapy – when it seems like everything else in your life is chaos.

So next time you’re feeling down, and maybe haven’t done any shopping for a while, get yourself a new book, a CD, or an outfit, or maybe even all of them. Or, maybe, if you’re brave (and not completely broke), a flight or a train ticket to somewhere exciting.

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2019/2020 Travel Editor, third year English with psychology student with a love for travel and giraffes.

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