Empty shelves. Long line both inside and outside the stores. Panic that there won’t be enough. Welcome to shopping in the Age of the Coronavirus. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is plenty of food, and our food supply professionals have assured us that this will not change. The empty shelves and long lines are a product of fear, not necessity. You don’t have to get caught up in this plight if you choose to shop mindfully. Remember mindfulness is about intention, focus and attention. It’s about staying present in the moment and being with what is. To put these ideas into practice in the supermarket, follow these tips:
- Start with a list. Keep in mind that your favorite brands of certain items may not be there so be flexible. If you want pasta, simply write pasta in your list, not the named brand.
- With list in hand, it’s time to go shopping. If you drive to the store, begin your mindful journey in the car by practice mindful driving along the way.
- When you arrive at the store take moment before you enter or get into line and take a deep breath and relax your body. Most of the time, we rush into the store, grab what we need and leave. Today you will savor your shopping experience.
- To do so, place your attention on the here and now. Take a full breath, exhale slowly and begin your shopping excursion by taking a basket or cart. As you touch the basket (or cart) feel it in your hands. Notice its weight, size, and color. Is it clean? Do you want to use this one or choose another? If you choose to wipe it down with a disinfectant cloth, feel its texture. Notice its scent. Be aware of any thoughts that fly by.
- Next, look at your list. Take your time walking around the store and carefully choose your items. Place the items in your basket one by one, feeling their weight, admiring their packaging or natural texture.
- When you have collected all your items, proceed to the checkout counter. Notice the other people in line. Take in the sights and sounds around you. Be present.
- Place your items one by one on the conveyor belt (or counter) and silently thank all those who helped get them to the store for your purchase.
- When it is your turn, acknowledge the cashier (and bagger if there is one) and thank her for helping you today. Especially today.
Shopping this way can provide you with some peace and pleasure during this chaotic time. Give it a try.
Until we “meet” again, stay well and at least 6 feet away from everyone else!
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