Many Americans view Thanksgiving as a relaxing holiday. Individuals nationwide often feast on appetizing foods, watch sporting events on TV and spend quality time with family and friends. It is an opportunity for people to forget about their worries and enjoy the moment.

The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, a term that was used to describe the chaos that ensued at football games in Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving in the mid-20th century. The term eventually took on a new definition in the 1980s, when retailers began achieving large profits on this day.

On Black Friday, thousands of stores across the United States reduce the prices of their products or services, resulting in millions of people flocking to retailers. According to the American Marketing Association, U.S. retailers earned a record $7.9 billion on Black Friday in 2017.

For holiday shoppers, Black Friday can be a hectic and stressful time, especially for people with a mental illness. Unruly shoppers, large crowds and long lines can induce irritability, anger or intense anxiety.

Stress can exacerbate symptoms of a mental health disorder and possibly lead to drug or alcohol misuse. However, individuals can avoid or reduce stress on Black Friday in several ways.

Plan Ahead

Shopping on Black Friday can be less stressful if people plan ahead. Before visiting retail stores, shoppers can make a list of the products and services that they might want to purchase. Then they can figure out which stores sell them.

Planning ahead can allow people to expedite their shopping process. While they’ll likely still have to brave large crowds and wait in long lines, knowing exactly what they want to purchase can reduce time spent walking around the store and the amount of stress they experience.

Don’t Go Alone

Individuals who shop on Black Friday, especially those with a mental illness, should try to bring along a friend or family member. This person can help them locate items for purchase and reduce the chances that they deal with stress.

A loved one can also offer support to individuals who experience stress or anxiety while shopping on Black Friday. It can be comforting to know that someone else is there to support you if needed.

Shop Online

Individuals can shop on Black Friday without having to leave your house. For people who prefer to avoid the large crowds on Black Friday, some companies offer discounts for items through their online stores.

Online shopping allows people to avoid crowded environments and typically gives them access to a greater variety of goods and services, which can reduce their risk of experiencing stress or anxiety on Black Friday.

Avoid Shopping

While Black Friday encourages individuals to purchase items at a discounted rate, some shoppers tend to fall victim to the flashy sales and spend more money than they should. As a result, they might experience financial strains in the weeks and months that follow, which can lead to stress and depression.

Saving money and staying off busy roads and away from crowded stores can help sustain a person’s mental health. Instead of needlessly stressing out over discounts, they can spend more time with family and friends before the start of a new work week.

If someone with a mental health condition, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, engages in shopping on Black Friday, it is important to prepare for agitated crowds that can lead to stress. They should speak with their doctor or therapist before putting themselves in situations that can be psychologically distressing.

People dealing with a mental health and substance use disorder could benefit from addiction treatment, where they can learn ways to better manage their co-occurring disorders. To learn more about how evidence-based treatment can help individuals experiencing addiction and mental illness, contact The Recovery Village today.

Black Friday: Coping With the Stress of Shopping
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Matt Gonzales

About Matt Gonzales

Matt Gonzales is an award-winning content writer. A former journalist, he is dedicated to spreading awareness about substance misuse and sharing inspiring stories of people in recovery. He lives in Orlando, Florida, with his wife and son.

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