The following is a guest post from Christine Li, Ph.D., whose story of finding lost time by looking in her closet is part of my “Stories of Recovery” series. Christine is a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping her clients recover from chronic procrastination and anxiety. She started her blog, Procrastination Coach, in 2013 and recently released the book, Stepping into College. In this book, Christine and her co-author, Diane Elkins, share their thoughts and tips on how incoming freshmen can make the most out of their first year in college.
If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.
Not a Shopaholic But Still in Recovery
I have never considered myself a shopaholic. I’m not much into fashion or stuff for that matter. But I am in recovery from shopping.
Makes no sense, you say?
I realized many, many years after my adolescence, that the way I used shopping to fill my time was not helpful to my overall well-being. I would use shopping to browse, to wander, to be relaxed, to numb out, and to zone out. I would go shopping whenever the time permitted. Part of that impulse felt positive and fun even, but I was never a very good shopper. I never knew what I wanted. I never knew what I needed. I never had a style or brand that suited me.
My closet, therefore, ended up becoming a warehouse of unmatched, ill-fitting, fuchsia-dominated clothing pieces. Because I was not good at cleaning out the old to bring in the new, the closet also became a veritable history of what I wore through the decades years.
Recovering, But Not on Purpose…
So how did I recover?
It certainly was not on purpose.
My original goal was to improve on my overall stress level. I was always behind schedule, feeling panicked and overwhelmed, and I wanted to feel more confident and steady. I turned to my closet and began giving away, donating, and tossing what wasn’t well-fitting, comfortable, or current. It took some time, but the good feelings that resulted were really good. Fuchsia left, but the better clothes seemed even better now that I could find them and could use them well.
Because I enjoyed my newly-functioning closet a lot and my easier selection of items to wear, I began going shopping less. Again, this was not on purpose. It was the gradual result of a series of small, but meaningful shifts.
Finding the “Missing Time”
Lo and behold, the time I saved from not going shopping was huge. It was the missing time I had been looking for and had been hoping to find. Being able to use my time more consciously and mindfully brought me even richer rewards. I started doing better work. I learned to relax. I stopped feeling like I was in a rush all the time. My relationships deepened. I even started a blog and found I enjoyed pouring my energies into it.
I’ve learned over these past few years how much responsibility we each have over how we plan, use, and enjoy our time. I’m grateful I don’t need to shop anymore to fill my time, and even more grateful to have more time to fill!
I wish you all the best in your own journey to find what is a perfect fit for you.