Stress works on people in different ways. Some people eat to deal with their emotions, some people shop. I never considered myself a person who did either of those things until today.

This week was a stressful week and I plugged along through it as I normally would, but by the end of the week I was a bit brain fried and hit the fabric store…twice. This despite the fact that some time ago I had put myself on a spending moratorium until I had used up some of my in-house craft supplies. Mulling over my purchases today I realized my emotional spending weakness – craft supplies.

When I was a kid and felt stressed or frustrated, I cleaned my room. I mean REALLY cleaned my room. Moved furniture in or out. Pulled everything out of my closet. Threw things out. Basically I worked until I was tired and had worked out my problems in my head.

I still do the same thing. When I’m home and stressed, or have an issue I’m stewing on, I’ll start doing the same thing as I did when I was a kid. I’ll move things around, clean out cabinets. Take out the trash. Anything physical that helps me work through the emotional.

The problem with this method arises when I’m not at home. During the work week, my lunch hour is when the emotional crime sprees happen. There are two fabric stores and two craft stores within a short distance of my office, and if I’m stressed out or would just rather be at home, one of those shops is where I’ll end up. Luckily I’m a pretty practical person so my emotional spending usually stays in check – my spree this week cost me a total of less than $30.

It’s interesting to note that I never emotionally buy completed items – no shoes, bags, or clothing for me (though I do love all those things). I buy ideas. Projects that need to be thought through, worked on, physically completed. I’m buying the emotional equivalent of what I would be doing at home – a physical project. It’s reassuring to learn a little bit more about myself, and in thinking it through, it has helped me come up with a solution.

I used to always carry a cross-stitch project with me wherever I went, but somewhere along the line I got out of the habit. A new habit to begin will be to always make sure I have a small project – doable anywhere – with me in the car (have I mentioned I’m on the road a lot?). A pattern that needs trimming, a cross-stitch picture that needs finishing, a bracelet or earrings to be worked. The possibilities are endless.  And I know just the bag to carry them in…