Stress-less Black Friday shopping

Story highlights

  • Black Friday, the Holy Grail of shopping days, can be intimidating
  • Emotional stress from Thanksgiving dinner can be exhausting
  • Recognize your stress and anxiety triggers, remember your purpose
Like a lot of people, I think shopping is awesome.
I'll shop online, in a store, in a house or with a mouse. (Though it would have to be an amazing deal for me to pal around with a rodent.) For people who aren't keen on crowds or traffic, though, the Holy Grail of shopping days -- Black Friday -- can be intimidating, as the event is often rife with stress and overall chaos. But it is possible to banish stress from your Black Friday experience, if you have the right mindset.
Good: Rest (and fuel) up
Thanksgiving feasts are full of fun and family, but are also pretty friggin' exhausting. If you're planning to hit Black Friday sales, make sure to rejuvenate your body by resting or finding another way to decompress, like taking a long bubble bath. "People understand physical stress, but emotional stress is just as taxing on the body," says upwave reviewer and happiness expert Mary Steinhardt. "We have to sleep or look for ways to recharge our battery." Stress and lack of sleep are intricately connected, so it's important to give your mind and body a much-needed rest in order to make the most of your shopping experience.
Another of our most basic human needs is food, but people often forget to stay nourished when in bargain-shopping mode. Hunger causes anxiety and stress, so pack some healthy snacks -- like apples, bananas and graham crackers -- to keep yourself energized and full, and make sure to plan ahead for big-meal stops so the food you eat doesn't end up slowing you down.
Better: Keep calm and carry (some shopping bags) on
If you have issues with crowds or claustrophobia, Black Friday can be pretty daunting. Kick the day off on a calm note with a little bit of pre-dawn meditation. Also, make a plan to avoid or limit stress by recognizing your stress and anxiety triggers. "The best thing is to try to see [your stressors] coming on and remind yourself of your purpose," says Steinhardt. She specifically suggests simple, short exercises that can be done anywhere, like deep breathing, counting to 10, listening to music or even cracking a joke to lighten the mood. So if you need a break, retreat to your car or a fitting room for a few moments to find your Zen. It'll help, really.
Best: Don't lose perspective
The holidays are supposed to be about (among other things) love, generosity and goodwill towards men, but on Black Friday these principles often get exchanged for stress and panic. Do your best to remember what's really important about the season, rather than dwelling on missed deals or the guy with a million items who just cut you off in the check-out line. In fact, Steinhardt says, we can use these challenges to improve our reactions to stressful situations. She advises that you start the day (or early, early morning) with a resilient mindset and challenge yourself to have fun. "When the stress hits," she says, "use it as an opportunity to grow and see what you're really made of. Practice being who you want to be."
So go out. Buy some stuff. Most importantly, have fun! Even if you don't get all the deals you're hankering for, don't stress over it. After all, there's always Cyber Monday, right?