Stress Shopping: Report Reveals COVID Trends Don’t Match Wellness Goals

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2020 is the Groundhog Day-meets-Resident Evil mashup that we never asked to see. A recent study by New Hope Network looked at what people have been doing to occupy their spare time since the pandemic hit and lockdowns started. Analysts compared this data to 2020 consumer trends. 

Results found that the money we spend on stress shopping doesn’t align with our wellness goals. We’re claiming to workout more yet fill up our Instacart with sweets! 

Let’s take a closer look at the mind-body-wallet connection and how coronavirus stress shopping can do more harm to your health than good. 

Stress During Shelter In Place Order

Coronavirus stress is real. As if you need the data to prove it, the American Psychological Association (APA) looked at mental health COVID trends. 

According to the APA, the following demographics are seeing a rise in stress levels:

  • Parents (48%) 
  • Hispanic Adults (41%)
  • White and Black Adults (32%)
  • Native Americans (31%)
  • Asians (28%)
  • Republicans in Office (63%)
  • Democrats in Office (73%)

Based on these results, the New Hope Network estimates that about 70% of people are more stressed since the onset of COVID-19. Naturally, we’re going to look for ways to alleviate that stress. Let’s take a look as to why people turn to stress shopping.

The Rise in Coronavirus Stress Shopping 

Pre-pandemic, we had more options for releasing stress. Many of us would gather with friends or family, take in a play, or jam out at a concert. Since the shelter in place order, we’ve been forced to find other ways to pass the time and clear our mind while social distancing.

We all have coping mechanisms that help us get through stressful periods of time. For millions, that emotional crutch is retail therapy. In fact, one study confirms that retail therapy alleviates sadness for consumers! 

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Since we’ve been mandated to stay home, we’ve turned to online shopping as our greatest source of relief. Second-quarter e-commerce sales rose 45% compared to 2019. 

Online shopping is an excellent way to get everything you need without putting others at risk. It’s also an opportunity to get yourself something nice while alleviating the boredom that comes from being confined to our homes. 

Unfortunately, 2020 consumer trends are showing that our behavior can be self-destructive. While we are avoiding exposure to COVID through online shopping, we’re stocking up on items that may suppress our immune system.

What’s even more alarming about these consumer trends is that they aren’t in line with our wellness goals. Let’s dive into what Americans are doing at home and then compare it to consumer trends 2020 analysts are reporting. 

COVID Trends for People Following a Shelter in Place Order

If there’s one thing we learned about ourselves during this pandemic, it’s the importance of our health. While I suffer from news and media anxiety, they have shined a massive spotlight on our immune system. 

People are listening and are making positive changes to keep their defenses against viruses up…or, at least, we think they are. According to the New Hope Report, health activities, such as exercise and cooking, are among the top three things people spend their time on. Even more encouraging, the use of alcohol and cannabis are the lowest priorities!

Let’s take a closer look at these healthy COVID trends and then see if the dollars spent on stress shopping coincide with this report. 

Consuming Content 

The number one thing we’ve done during while at home is to consume more content. In this report, content is classified as books, television, movies, podcasts, etc. 

These findings are a double-edged sword. Books and podcasts can really expand your horizons. Learning new subjects can open new brainwaves and improve your overall mood. 

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Unfortunately, studies found that the average American has spent about 8 hours per day watching TV during COVID-19. Unless you are watching documentaries and learning a new language, that is not a good use of time. 

With 65% of people watching more content than ever, it’s easy to get stuck in a content bubble that leaves you unsatisfied. Thankfully, other healthy COVID trends can counteract this abundance of screen time.

Exercise 

Americans are claiming that COVID-19 has given them more time to exercise and physical activities. That’s great because a lack of work-life-balance pre-pandemic has caused over one-third of the population to be overweight

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There have been numerous studies linking COVID-19 mortality to obesity. So, being proactive with your health through exercise is an excellent use of your time. 

Up the benefits even more by working out outdoors. The sun and fresh air are critical for your mental health and can save money from stress shopping!

Cooking

The first thing I did when this pandemic started was to change my diet and nutrition. To fight off obesity that can cause anxiety and COVID mortality, you need healthy fats, complex carbs, and lean protein. 

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These foods are essential for functioning. Then, you must add fruits and veggies rich in micronutrients. Plant-based foods have a wide variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that keep the immune system healthy.

Since I had more time on my hands, I looked up more plant-based meals and dinners with leaner proteins, like fish and poultry. Not only have I discovered new dishes, but cooking is now a fun activity that the whole family shares together. 

Spending Time With Family 

Nothing puts life into perspective, quite like your loved ones. They’re why we get up every day and deal with the stress of health and finances. Be grateful for the extra time we have through this “slower pace” by spending more time with them!

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Hanging out with friends and family doesn’t necessarily mean in-person gatherings. Schedule regular Zoom or video chats, set up drive-by visitation, or go for a walk or a hike at a local park. Being with people who care about you is the best (and cheapest) treatment for anxiety!

Self-Care and Creative Arts 

New Hope Network considered self-care and creative ventures as separate entities. However, there is a bunch of overlap. Tapping into our creativity is one of the few moments of pure bliss. 

We entrench ourselves in something that makes us feel whole. It’s a selfish act that’s always selfless because creative ventures usually don’t negatively affect others. 

Partaking in your hobbies is one of the few times where you do something for you instead of everybody else. Relish in those moments!

Consumer Trends 2020: Coronavirus Shopping and Vices

There are many concerns that a stay-at-home order can cause alcoholism or drug dependency. However, only 29% of people report spending their extra time on these vices. 

While that’s promising data, 2020 consumer trends don’t back these statistics up. Alcohol is one of the top five things we’re spending our money on. In fact, the other items on this list also call “bull” on the healthy COVID trends people are reporting. 

Yes, we’re claiming to be healthier, but our actions aren’t showing it. The top five things we’re spending money on are all indulgences. Only one-third of the population is spending their money on aromatherapy, athletic equipment, and interesting cooking ingredients. 

Essentially, we’re not putting our money where our mouth is. On second thought, we’re spending more money on indulgences. Let’s take a look at 2020 consumer trends and how they can impact your health.

Food 

The biggest consumer trends 2020 has seen are all in the food industry. In fact, three indulgent food categories are the top three coronavirus shopping essentials. 

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The majority of people are stress shopping for the following:

  • Sweet Snacks (43%)
  • Savory Snacks (36%)
  • Comfort Food (32%)

Now, these numbers have a little leeway for interpretation. For instance, fruit was categorized under “sweet snacks,” while cheese and crackers are considered “savory.” However, these numbers can’t be far off. 

If we are honest with ourselves, is the average person going to spend three dollars on a bag of potato chips or twenty dollars on a cheese spread?

These findings are disheartening, considering that more people are claiming to cook more in their spare time. This data infers people are buying more potentially harmful processed foods rather than whole foods. Sadly, uninformed shoppers might think they’re healthier by cooking instead of ordering out, while the ingredients they’re using is just a big step sideways for their health. 

Alcohol

30% of people are spending their money on alcohol. That number coincides with the 29% who claim to use their extra time partaking in these recreational activities. 

What’s interesting is that people seem to prioritize healthy activities over drinking and smoking. Yet, they’re spending less money on these more beneficial activities. 

This data can be interpreted in two ways. One, people are doing free healthy activities, such as spending time with family and outdoor exercise. 

You almost always have to buy food unless you grow it yourself. That can explain why people are spending more money on “comfort food” than whole foods. 

People must also purchase alcohol because it doesn’t grow in a garden, as food does. All of this can explain the deficit between our priorities and consumer trends. 

The flip side of the coin is that people were dishonest with their answers. When it comes to alcohol, that sort of dishonesty is a sign of addiction. So, please take a moment to reflect on your habits, especially if spending more time alone. 

How to Handle Your Online Shopping Cart During the Pandemic

Are you looking to buck these 2020 consumer trends? Then start spending money on items that are on the bottom of the trends list. These are the items that are in line with the average person’s wellness intentions. 

Use this time to really focus on yourself. If your everyday habits are getting healthier, then why aren’t your spending habits? Take a deep look at your mind-body-wallet connection. 

Every little step you take towards bettering your health will also better your wallet. You can look at each tip as compound interest in your health bank. It’s all going to add up to a healthy retirement! Here’s how to put 2020 behind and go into 2021, feeling your best. 

Figure Out What You’re Spending Money On

Whatever you buy influences your health. For instance, purchasing a lot of alcohol can lead to liver disease, cosmetics made with synthetic ingredients can cause toxic reactions, or artificial sweeteners can beat down on your immune system. 

Figure out what you’re spending your money on by making a list of your expenses. See how many are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. This information will be useful as you integrate these next suggestions.

Allocate Money to Other Expenses 

Now that you have identified your vices, see how much money you spend on these particular items. The first step is to create a budget. 

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Look at your monthly bills. Tabulate how much money it costs for rent, utilities, and gas to commute to work. Don’t average in food yet. These numbers are more concrete than your food bill. Jot them down.

Now, take food into consideration. Look at your average grocery trip. Consider how much of this food goes in the garbage. Then, add up how much healthy food you buy every week that doesn’t go in the trash. Write this number down, too.

Are you saving money? If not, you should! Think about how much you do save or should save. Put this number in a separate list. 

Last up is fun money. That’s what you can spend on alcohol, content, and other entertainment. Figure out how much you spend on these time-killers. Record them next to your savings money. 

Now that you’re done, do you have money left? Right off the bat, that can go to healthier activities. 

Then, address your savings situation. Allocate money to put away for the future. If you’re doing this successfully, then don’t change a thing. 

Move onto your fun money list. We all need to get some stress shopping out. That’s fine! Budget money for your vices, hobbies, or streaming services. Just make sure to cut back on what you already have there. You need to make room for my next suggestion!

Spend Money on Things that Will Enrich Your Life 

If you’re using COVID-19 as a time to improve your health, make sure your money matches your intentions. Spend less money on vices and entertainment and more on the items at the bottom of the consumer trends 2020 report. 

Athletic Equipment

54% of people are exercising more, with just 24% stress shopping on equipment. Working out is easy to do for free because our body is an excellent source of weight and resistance. However, how many of us are genuinely running every day or doing yoga videos through YouTube?

Even if we were doing these activities, it would require the purchase of running shoes, a yoga mat, or resistance bands. Therefore, this data implies that people aren’t honest with themselves. 

Sure, gym equipment isn’t always cheap. That’s why we worked on a budget to free up some of this money.

Find one exercise activity you feel passionate about and invest in it. Instead of buying a twenty-dollar bottle of vodka, get a yoga mat. Rather than dropping a couple of hundred dollars at a dispensary, consider purchasing a treadmill. 

New and Interesting Ingredients 

49% of people are cooking more, with just 25% using new ingredients. So, people are cooking more; it’s just that half are either cooking more of the same…or even worse. 

Based on online shopping trends, people are filling up virtual grocery carts with processed foods laden with sugars and preservatives. We already live a monotonous routine. Why not step outside of your comfort zone and try cooking newer foods? 

Go wild and make stuffed peppers with quinoa and black beans. Try grilling portobello burgers instead of beef. Maybe make baked goods with raw sugar instead of refined? 

Remember, think compound interest! Small dietary changes today make for greater health benefits tomorrow. 

Skincare Products 

Our skin is the largest organ and our most incredible line of defense against outside germs. It’s also extremely porous. That’s why we must wash our hands thoroughly. Germs can infiltrate through the skin.

Toxic beauty ingredients can also penetrate the skin. There are so many synthetic ingredients found in beauty products that can ultimately suppress the immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses. 

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Make sure to use organic and all-natural products whenever possible. Use this time to research your products’ ingredients and find healthier alternatives. In fact, you might want to use this time to create your own beauty products. 

DIY beauty is cost-effective, healthy, and fun. Use plant-based oils like coconut to create a volumizing hair serum or jojoba oil to craft a post-shower moisturizer. Not only will you experience skin benefits, plus you can get the mental stimulation of trying something new! 

Aromatherapy

About 28% of people during shelter in place bought candles and essential oils. Try opting for candles not made with synthetic materials. Purchase soy or beeswax candles that don’t have artificial fragrances. These just add more toxins to your home environment. 

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Instead, opt for candles made with essential oils or get an essential oil diffuser. Essential oils purify the air. Plus, many have immune- and mood-supporting benefits. 

Essential oils are also perfect for your DIY beauty routine. Just make sure you don’t put the oils directly on your skin. These plant-based oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted with a thicker carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba. 

Change Your Diet 

Diet and nutrition are crucial for defending your body against illness. That’s why you must go back to your original list and look at which foods serve you no purpose. 

I recommend keeping a food journal. For a week, jot down everything you eat. Also, write how you physically and emotionally felt that day. 

As you do this, you can find patterns. Figure out which foods you eat on the days you feel the worst. These are the first to go. 

Shockingly, some of these foods might even be healthy ones. For instance, some plant-based foods have anti-nutrients known as lectins. However, not everyone is sensitive to these plant-based compounds. 

So, the average person might not be aware that they’re consuming a potential allergen. Now is the perfect time to explore your body and determine its true needs!

All-Natural Supplements 

Our bodies are up against a lot right now. They need all the help they can get. One of the best forms of support is through all-natural supplements.

My favorite supplement during this pandemic has been Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene. This supplement is fortified with botanicals, vitamins, and minerals that help curb anxiety and promote a happier lifestyle.

Tranquilene helps the body produce GABA and serotonin, two essential brain chemicals for controlling anxiety. GABA helps soothe excited neurons in the brain that cause us to have racing thoughts. Meanwhile, serotonin improves our overall mood and focus so that we can take on the day ahead!

Buck 2020 Consumer Trends and Live Your Best Life!

2020 has been a year of introspection. Many of us know that we need to live healthier lives. Acknowledgment is the first step. Now, we can all put a plan into action.

Our 2020 consumer trends are not in line with our goals. When we spend money on vices, it takes away from other resources that can help us live healthy, prosperous lives. 

Figure out your monthly expenses. Determine where you can cut down on unnecessary online shopping. Then, channel your stress shopping into a more productive experience by buying things that will improve your life. With your mind, body, and wallet in balance, you’ll start reaping the health rewards in no time.

Essential Takeaways:

  • 70% of people are most stressed during the pandemic
  • People are reporting healthier habits during stay-at-home order
  • While retail therapy is therapeutic, 2020 consumer trends are not in line with wellness goals
  • Mind-body-wallet balance is key for productive stress shopping
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