What is one thing that keeps you sane when everything turns upside-down, gets super crazy around holiday time, or seems to be sliding just out of your control? I used to have a small list of things, which included going for a long walk by myself, getting a pedicure, meeting a girlfriend for lunch, spending time with my husband and even shopping. Believe it or not, shopping relaxes me. I can let my mind wander as I browse and my imagination get to take a mini vacation. I look items over in the stores with an analytical eye, "Will that go with more than one thing in my closet? Does my love for it justify the price? Maybe I could make it myself?" The thought processes that go into mentally selecting my new fall (or whatever season it happens to be) wardrobe allow my mind to relax in other areas and, for those brief moments, and even sometimes well into the afternoon or evening, I have forgotten about the petty thing that was bothering me.
One thing that I truly love about buying gifts for family and friends is that the shopping is completely justified. And when I am not buying "one for them and one for me," buying gifts satisfies my desire to shop without ending up taking things home that I probably don't need. "Need" being a slippery word here because when I truly fall in love with something, there is usually a strong sense of "need" associated with it. And I usually can find all sorts of ways to justify that need. But anyway, my focus here is on the relaxing quality of shopping, which believe it or not has the exact opposite effect on my husband. Unless of course the shopping involves Home Depot, REI or the Container Store. Then there is the slight possibility that shopping has the same effect on him but in all seriousness, it is definitely not the same sort of effect it has on me.
I can literally spend hours shopping and exploring and coming across gift ideas, be they for myself or for my family and friends. Sometimes I'll even duck into a shop with no intention of actually buying anything but just to distract my thoughts. And it usually works. It is merely the act of distracting my mind that has a positive and happy-inducing effect. If I happen to find a great bargain in the process, well... I take no blame for that. I simply purchase it and move on. Next!