Hectic nature of Black Friday detrimental to mental health, anxiety

Natalie Kuhn

More stories from Natalie Kuhn

Every year up to 137 million people go shopping on Black Friday, and the weekend that follows. Shopping malls jam packed with Thanksgiving stuffed customers aggressively hunting down holiday deals. If someone with anxiety or claustrophobia induced anxiety attends Black Friday shopping, there are no safe spaces to ride out any anxiety attacks that may come. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 25.1 percent of 13 to 15-year-olds and 18.1 percent of adults suffer from diagnosed anxiety in the US.

If you have ever participated in Black Friday, you know the length of the list most shoppers have for items they’re looking for. Often the number of people, lack of personal space, noise, and even mass of smells can be too much for some customers and many have anxiety attacks in stores or food courts. Sensory overload is a leading factor in anxiety attacks.

Black Friday is as if you were tossed into a school of fish. You can barely breathe, you are being pushed in every direction possible, and it is most likely a foreign environment. How can a person with anxiety achieve a goal in a situation that is intended to be hectic?

A few options to bypass the panic is to try to have a plan for your shopping. Your first step should be making a list of what items you want, and what store they are in. Maybe even find a map of the shopping mall online and make a plan of which stores you will visit. Another way to calm the torrent of chaos is to have a friend or family member with you who has shopped during Black Friday before, or knows how to help you during a anxiety attack.

Black Friday should be a fun and accessible way to find gifts for the holiday season not a fight fueled by consumerism that withers your mental health.