Susannah Taylor: Are you a secret shopaholic?
Online shopping habits can get out of control all too easily
I don’t know about you but I have been on an armchair shopping spree lately. I know I’m not the only one as my friends say the same. One told me that she has bought numerous items of clothing, some of which she hasn’t taken the labels off yet.
Holli Rubin, head of multidisciplinary therapies at The Soke (thesoke.uk), a mental health clinic in Southwest London, says she wouldn’t be surprised if the statistics on shopping addiction have risen. ‘Lockdown will have contributed,’ she says. ‘Being at home, spending more time online, all accelerates purchasing. Once your bank card details are registered, it’s easier than ever.’ According to thisismoney.co.uk, we Brits spent £113 billion shopping online last year, which is hardly surprising as we were stuck indoors. However, those clever ads on social media (the ones that seem to read your mind) don’t help our impulse-buying habits ‒ pinging up an image of your favourite earrings just as you log off for the night.
I don’t see a love of clothes as bad – getting dressed in things I love is part of what makes me happy. But how do we know when a love for beautiful clothing turns into a full-blown addiction?
Holli says there is a dopamine hit that comes with pressing the ‘buy now’ button which makes us feel good. However, the more we do it, the less joy it brings (like any addiction), which can leave us craving more.
She says there are various questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you might have an issue. For example, are you spending more than you can afford, but carry on anyway? Do you feel that you can’t stop buying and are spending too much time shopping to the point that your family, relationships or working life are suffering? When you receive your purchases do you find they don’t satisfy you?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, or would just like to curb your spending habits, here’s some advice (and if you think you have a shopping addiction, then please do seek professional help):
Pause and reflect ‘Before you click on “buy now” ask yourself if you really need the item and whether it is going to give you what you are after,’ says Holli.
Acknowledge your feelings ‘What might those jeans be a substitute for?’ asks Holli. ‘Is it because you have lost some confidence or have low self-esteem?’
Find happiness elsewhere ‘Can your feelings be addressed with something else that might not cost anything, such as seeing friends, taking exercise or playing music?’ asks Holli.
Delete your shopping apps Taking tempting programs off your mobile makes it easier to interrupt the purchasing action, say the experts at addiction retreat Delamere (delamere.com).
Keep expectations real ‘It is not the norm to have the same amount of clothes as influencers,’ says Delamere. Remember, it is the job of social-media stars to make you buy more.
Get your kicks from vintage My goal this season is to rediscover all the fabulous items I had forgotten about in the depths of my wardrobe. The thrill I get when someone asks me where
I bought something, and I reply, ‘Oh, it’s ten years old,’ is far greater than any click.
Bereavement and beyond
If you are struggling to come to terms with the death of a loved one, or are not sure how to help others in that situation, then Grief Kind, a new podcast hosted by author Clover Stroud and created with bereavement charity Sue Ryder, could help. Clover speaks to celebrities including Lisa Riley, Candice Brathwaite and Pearl Lowe about their first-hand experiences. Available now; visit podfollow.com/griefkind
Retro to go
I have always harboured a desire to be Jennifer Beals from Flashdance ‒ leaping about in legwarmers to ‘What a Feeling’. Now I can act out my dreams in style thanks to a collaboration between fashion brand Maje and fitnesswear experts Varley, whose new activewear range was inspired by the 80s film. I love the leopard-print top, £109, catsuit, £150, and lurex belt, £55, Maje x Varley, maje.com.