Christmas shopping tends not to be for yourself but for other people. This makes it more stressful than ordinary shopping as its easy to get caught up with over thinking and feeling anxious about other peoples judgements or their expectations. Trying to juggle a Christmas shopping budget while wanting to buy something spectacular for a friend or relative is an almost impossible conundrum.

Most people with heavy work schedules don’t have much choice but to shop when the stores are heaving with other people all intent on getting their Christmas shopping done too. Try shopping at independent stores in your local area or even the neighbourhood Christmas Fair as an alternative to battling the city centre crowds.

On-line shopping is of course always an option but because the shopping experience is so unfulfilling and disassociated from reality its easy with one click shopping to forget you’re spending your hard earned money and overspend which can then fuel more anxiety.

If you do experience anxiety and need to shop at busy times, then go as early in the day as you can or preferably go with a friend so you can support each other amid the chaos. Also, wear layers of clothes as there is nothing worse than being stuck in a queue in an over-heated department store with a big winter coat and scarf making you so hot you feel at risk of fainting or passing out.

If you do start to have a panic attack in a busy shop just put your shopping basket down and head for the exit. Get outside and breathe deeply and slowly. What happens when you’re in a panic is that your breathing becomes more shallow so focus on regulating your breath and that will help you to feel grounded and less panicky.

Give yourself time and if you’re able to resume your shopping then do so.

Equally, if you need to go home, then you should do just that. You might think you’re the only person who has to abandon their shopping but being triggered in an over-crowded store is pretty common so give yourself a break and leave out any harsh judgments you might be making about yourself. It’s tough out there.

 If you are struggling with panic attacks and social anxiety it doesn’t have to be this way. Click on the link on this page to book an obligation free discovery call and chat to me about what’s happening for you. Remember if you’ve tried everything and nothing works then therapy could be just the thing you’re looking for to transform how you think and feel about yourself.

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