Ah, Black Friday. The lines are long, and the hours short. But who doesn’t love a good deal?? Seriously, though—before we dive into 2020 holiday shopping, join me in taking a deep breath and a few moments to reflect. With a clear heart and mind, we can approach this season with intention, making the absolute most out of these shoppable days without feeling burnt out afterwards.
The pros of Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales are clear: save on what you need now, so you can spend more time enjoying the holiday season later! This has been my quest all through November, as I’ve been thinking up gift ideas for all the women in my family, including my three girls!
Yet, in the rush of a sale, we often end up buying the wrong thing, or too many things. This can mean more money than we budgeted and more work for us later. Maybe it’s an extra trip back to the store, the stress of buyers’ remorse, or unwanted clutter in the home. We’ve all been there! However, we can prepare ourselves in order to skip the holiday burnout and come out feeling oh-so-good about our purchases.
Just Breathe. No, Really.
To me, being well-prepared begins with wellness.
I think the pressure and stress many of us feel during Black Friday are often overlooked in favor of the gotta-have-it results. We want so badly for our loved ones to know we’re thinking of them, and this can feel like a heavy set of expectations to carry. Don’t forget to check in and show yourself some love!
At the outset of any holiday shopping spree, whether in-store or online, it’s SO important to follow the pace and intuition of your body, rather than the urgency all these sales would have us internalize. Grabbing those huge deals while they’re active might seem mission-critical, but so is your well-being!
The first step is allowing yourself to be present in your physical body. Listen for the signs that you need to slow down when your mind is telling you to speed up. This could mean anything from headaches to stomach discomfort, back pain or just the haunting suspicion that something is “off.” Whatever you might be feeling, acknowledge it!
Take a beat to settle back into yourself, and slow down. Connect to your breath and take a few 4-second inhales and 8-second exhales. It seems so simple, but deep breathing calms the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to make clearer decisions in the moment.
Reconnect to the Reason for the Season
I’ve talked a bit before about how well-being starts with mindset, especially when it comes to the holidays. When we expect something to be a certain way, we’ll spend our time and energy looking to validate those assumptions. So much so, we may miss what it actually IS!
Well-being is more than just feeling good about ourselves. It comes from a powerful sense of connection to others. Starting with gratitude rather than expectations will help us to better survey our emotional landscape. And all that gratitude taps into our generosity. Maybe that’s why Black Friday is right after Thanksgiving! 😂
To feel successful, we’ll need to marry our expectations with our reality. And I have just the thing! This quick mindfulness exercise will help you zoom in on your goals so that you walk into holiday shopping with a crystal-clear direction and slay the game.
1. Who’s on your list this year?
What do you love about them? Spend time reflecting on each person, and why you’re gifting to them. If you find lots of obligatory-gifts filling up your list, let them go, or at least simplify the gift to something you can bulk-buy.
2. HOW MUCH? Take account of your resources.
Exactly how much can you afford to spend on each person? Remember to factor gift-wrapping or shipping into your budget! Set a realistic number and stick to it—this will help slash the extras, reducing financial stress later.
3. My absolute favorite: the WHY.
Think about the values you hold, and what you want out of the season. What are your goals? Maybe you’d like to see your values reflected in the company from which you purchase, or want to give experiences rather than items. Whatever your reasons, knowing your why means you can give AND feel good about it.
My Holiday Shopping Tips
Now that we’ve identified our direction and intention (and have some deep breathing exercises ready to rely on) I think we can get to the good stuff. After all, it CAN feel good to lean into the Black Friday sales, as long as we’re internally aligned!
1. Go ahead of time!
If you did the mindfulness exercise, you should be ready! Bring your list with you so that you buy only what you need. This will help keep you on-track and in-budget.
2. Plan out your route.
If you plan to shop in-person, visit the stores strategically to minimize energy and time spent. If you’re going the online route, start with the high-impact items that are likely to sell out first.
3. Expect long lines.
Especially now that less people are allowed in stores. Wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and an energizing snack to refuel as you go. Bonus points for having a meditation podcast queued-up. A strong shopper knows things may be out of stock. You will be okay.
4. Make it easy.
Replicate gifts that would be a good fit for multiple people! If you’ve got a long list of obligatory gifts for extended family or coworkers that you just can’t quit, do one thing en-masse. Need help? Hit up my Hostess Guide.
5. Remember your WHY.
Make it a mantra! When you’re starting to get overwhelmed, come back to your breath and hold that mantra in your mind. This year mine is: “Feet up, Relax.”
6. Treat Yourself.
Have a reward planned for yourself at the end of the day! Don’t try to come home and launch into cooking dinner. Instead, delegate and enjoy a bubble bath instead. Allow yourself a come-down period after the hustle and bustle. Your brain (and your family) will thank you.
You’ve Got This!
If you feel more anxiety than normal this year, know you’re not alone. Obviously, 2020 has seen some enormous changes, so give yourself permission to approach the holidays a little bit differently, too! It is okay if you show up differently than you did last year.
Flexibility and adaptation are muscles we’ve gotten pretty good at working around here. 😉 I think we could all benefit from channeling our best-selves during the season ahead. Don’t be afraid to reinvent your traditions if you need to! They’ll be right where you left them for next time, and you may find that you appreciate them all the more.
Happy shopping, friends. Keep shining bright!