Hello all my wonderful followers and viewers
As promised, I am back with a post about shopping tips for those who struggle with things like anxiety or like myself who has always had a challenging time going anywhere public. Keep in mind these tips are not just to help those on the autism spectrum or have anxiety, it is to help anyone who finds shopping difficult. These ideas may also help in other situations, but I am gearing it towards shopping specifically for the sake of organization. I would also like to note that I collected these tips from research, videos and my own personal experiences in hopes to have some variety of tips to help a wider audience and all different walks of life. So grab a comfy chair, snack or your favorite drink because here are my tips to help those who find shopping almost impossible.
In no particular order or organization besides the bullet point list. 😃
Shopping Tip #1 ~ Make It A Routine
Directed more towards those on the autism spectrum who need their routine to survive or anyone who loves a routine.
For those of us who cling to their routine for sanity and are a mess when one’s routine gets interrupted it is very important to make shopping part of your weekly routine. By this, I mean pick the same day and similar time of the week to shop. If you are lucky enough and you have a day every week that is completely freed up, I would choose one of those days. Personally, I normally try to shop on one of the two days I have off every week because working in retail is hard enough and the thought of shopping after work is daunting. I also find for those of us who struggle with going out in public and can find certain environments over bearing that it’s best to minimize the amount of times you go out in a day. It can help you break up and get the amount of down time we need to recharge. When picking a day or time of the week to shop also keep in mind it’s good to pick a time the stores are going to be less busy. (picking the time of day is a tip of it’s own on this list so I won’t go into further detail here. Just note it can be important when choosing the day or times of the week you wish to shop. 😉 )
Shopping #2 ~ Make A List
Just about everyone makes a list for shopping, especially grocery shopping, but this is very important for those of us who find shopping difficult.
Making a grocery list or a list for shopping of whatever you need can benefit you in a few different way. It can help you with things like being more organized and so you won’t forget anything and have to go back. Most importantly it is one less thing you need to keep stored in your brain when you have it right in front of you on your phone or piece of paper. Your brain is already on over drive and feeling overwhelmed from the difficulties of shopping and making a list is a small way of minimizing the amount of over drive you are already in. Something else I find helpful is once you know a store and know where everything is it is really beneficial to write your list in order of the aisles, or areas of where things are on your list. It can make for a much faster and easier trip. If you don’t understand what I mean by this here is an example of a quick grocery list.
List written for a store that has dairy way at the back of grocery, non frozen/cold food and other in the middle, ending in frozen and produce near the front. Let’s say Health And Beauty is way at the other side of the store.
EXAMPLE: My Shopping List
(Both of these are on the other side of the store ways away from the grocery side. I personally try to shop in health and beauty first in case I am picking up any cold or frozen food.)
Cat Litter (Let’s say it is located in General Merchandise and near health and Beauty)
(written in how they are laid out in dairy. Also note these items are at the very back of grocery. Make your way from the back to the front near check out for a nice quick shopping trip. 😃 )
Water (bottled and gallons)
Grape Oasis Spray Juice (Cause this juice rocks and the drink/water aisle is Aisle:14)
Oreas (because the cracker/cookie aisle is aisle 13)
Continue your list like this based on how the store is set up. I really hope this example gave you more of an idea of what I tried to explain. lol
Shopping Tip #3 ~ Shop at bigger/bulk stores
Yes, it’s true that bigger or bulk stores are busier in general, but it’s great to shop in them when they are quiet.This is a great tip for those who are claustrophobic or have a hard time with smaller spaces and crowds.
Shopping in bigger stores can be really beneficial because it allows you to have a lot more room in the aisles and store to move around. When it is not as busy, there are a lot less people and are not cramped at all. It gives you more time to look around, shop and just really do your own thing. I find shopping in bigger stores at the right times are great when you are window shopping, or know what you want to get, but still need to browse. Department stores also have a bit of everything so you can do most if not, all of your shopping in one trip. However, keep in mind bulk and department stores have brighter lights and are not ideal for people with light sensitivity. I also find smaller stores are normally a lot quieter than the bigger stores. So it can still depend on what you find is best or what mood you are in.
Shopping Tip #4 ~ Wear Sunglasses And/Or Headphones
Specifically for those who have light sensitivity and/or noise sensitivity.
This tip is pretty self explanatory or straight forward. If you are a person who has light sensitivity sunglasses can help with the lights in stores that give you a headache or whatever it may be. Heck, even people who don’t have light sensitivity gets things like headaches from the lights in stores because they suck tbh, If you have noise sensitivity the loud noises in stores can be very overwhelming, headphones and music or ear plugs are just a couple ideas to help cancel out those unwanted noises.
Shopping Tip #5 ~ Pick a time of day or day when the stores are not busy.
This tip is really helpful for those who struggle with things like social anxiety and other kind of anxieties etc.
Picking a quieter time to shop, such as early mornings or late evenings can help relieve the stress of big crowds for those of us who have things like social anxiety. It should also make your shopping trip much faster because the less people you have to watch out for or fight through the better, am I right?! The more familiar you become with the store or stores you shop at you will learn what times of day and/or night are the best to shop at. Some stores also have their average/estimated traffic tracked online, giving you an idea of what times are busiest and what times are not. Sometimes you can’t avoid shopping at those busier times such as the weekends, but it’s helpful when you can shop at the more quieter times.
Shopping Tip #6 ~ Go Alone Or With A Buddy? You choose.
Rather going alone or tagging along with someone (IE: Friend, Family Member) all depends on what kind of person you are and it is important to know what is best for you.
Some people like shopping alone, especially at first so they can shop at their own pace without anyone waiting on them. They also eliminate the stresses of making conversation with that person or people and don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable in their presence. While others need more assistance with things like shopping, and others just prefer to have someone to tag along. Personally, when I shop by myself I am even more of a disaster than normal. I shop with my husband who is very patient with me and helps me with completing the shopping list with few mishaps. He also knows when I become overwhelmed by the trip and does really well in those situations. It doesn’t matter rather you like shopping alone or needing someone to assist you in your outings, but it is important to know what works best for you.
Shopping Tip #7 ~ Avoid Things You Don’t Like
All of us have our dislikes, but some of us become over whelmed by certain textures, noises and other things. It is important to just avoid things you dislike all together and don’t experiment or try to ‘change’ it up.
I cannot stand the feel of make-up on my face. I use to think I was just too lazy to do my make-up in the morning unlike all the other girls in my classes, but then I realized when I wore it on special occasions or tried it on more I couldn’t stand the gunk on my face. So I no longer bother shopping for make-up, no matter the brand or look it is a waste of time and money for me. I have the bare essentials in a makeup bag for those rare occasions. I find it is important to not try something on we dislike or can’t stand. Before I try on any clothes, I always feel the material because there is no point of trying it on if it makes me uncomfortable. Every dress I have bought cute or beautiful, sit in my closet for years besides the time I had to wear one or stupidly bought one because it looked beautiful. There’s no point in buying it if you are never going to wear it. It will just add unwanted stress and ruin the day. If you are sensitive to taste or certain textures of food it’s good to not buy foods too much out of your normal diet.
Shopping Tip #8 ~ Make A Plan, Including Some Of These Tips
Besides picking a time of day, store and making a list it is also important to look online before shopping for inspiration.
Looking online, Ads or magazines before shopping can help you with your plan for your outing, map out your day and help you with structure. It will help you know exactly where you are going, what time, what you are getting and what you will be spending.
Shopping Tip #9 ~ When All Else Fails…
This may be only useful to those living in the United States or possibly even Canada as I am not sure how many countries offer this now and it is relatively new here.
A lot of department stores and outlets are offering a thing called clicklist where they shop for you and you can pick up the groceries or whatever you needed at designated spots around the store. Another thing they are offering here in the USA is you pay for people to shop your whole list and deliver your items to your door. This is probably the best option and is great for those of us who do find shopping impossible, or can’t really shop for themselves.
Alright guys that concludes the list. I am off to listen to Eminem’s new album front to back as I am on a music binge and haven’t had a chance to listen to his full album yet. In case you guys didn’t know Eminem always was and still is one of my favorite music (not just rap) artists and so far I actually quite like the new album. It came out at a great time for me too as I have been under so much stress and people’s bull shit, that just like old times his music can save my sanity. Haha. I may or not post some Eminem tunage old and new later. xD
This post is subject to change at anytime if need be as I am still not back to my normal self. More on that later perhaps… ~ My Authentic Mind