Compulsive acquisition is a problem for those with hoarding tendencies. Collecting or buying is often a coping mechanism to soothe feelings of anxiety or discomfort. It’s a way to nurture themselves.

Have you heard the term “retail therapy”? Even people who don’t compulsively acquire feel a little better after some retail therapy. But “retail therapy” is a misnomer.

It may be soothing, in the short term, to tour a shopping centre, admiring the pretty displays, letting your mind drift while listening to the soundtrack of relaxing instrumental music, in the perfect climate-controlled atmosphere designed to help you part with your money. Everything sparkles and there’s the pleasant welcome delivered by well-groomed and highly-trained sales assistants. Even better when it’s sale time and you get the rush of hunting down a bargain.

But outside, in the real world, there are bills overdue. There are shelves and cupboards and rooms stuffed full. Uncomfortable feelings quickly return when confronted with the realities and limitations of everyday life.

Self-care is important. So how do you nurture yourself without acquiring more stuff?

Here’s a starter list of 30 ways to feel good that don’t involve bringing more stuff into the home.

  1. Nurture with a bubble bathTake a bubble bath
  2. Cuddle a pet
  3. Phone a friend
  4. Sing in a choir
  5. Swim
  6. Take a walk
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Ride a bike
  9. Run
  10. Visit the library and borrow a book
  11. Volunteer in a soup kitchen
  12. Draw
  13. Doodle
  14. Get a massage
  15. Visit a museum or art gallery
  16. Dance to your favourite music
  17. Listen to a podcast
  18. Learn a new skill
  19. Teach someone a new skill
  20. Meditate
  21. Laugh at a funny cat video
  22. Photograph nature
  23. Practice yoga
  24. Work in the garden
  25. Restart an unfinished project
  26. Do your nails
  27. Put on a face mask
  28. Pour a cup of your favourite tea
  29. Binge on Netflix
  30. Say hello to a neighbour

How do you nurture yourself?

It may be helpful to keep a list of your own nurturing preferences handy for when anxiety or unhappiness show up in the form of a desire to acquire.

The moment you recognise the trigger to compulsively acquire, tune into what you really need instead. Fill the gap with something useful, rather than turning to the unhelpful habit of getting more stuff.

For instance…

Feeling lonely? Phone a friend.

Feeling worn out? Run a bath.

Feeling ugly? Do your nails.

What will work for you?

© Hoarding Home Solutions by Off the Page

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