How to handle the stress of going, or not going, to the grocery store

Going to the grocery store may be nerve-wracking for many.

Due to the coronavirus, the simple act of going out and buying groceries has become much more difficult for many Americans. To promote social distancing, many stores in areas strongly affected by the outbreak are only letting a small number of customers in at one time.

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At the same time, reports of panic-buying and stockpiling have left people afraid that they will be unable to get the supplies they need. While many stores offer delivery and online ordering, even those services are starting to back up and obtaining a delivery slot can be difficult.

All of this has led to a situation where the once simple act of getting groceries is suddenly very stressful.


"With the global fear and anxiety we are currently living, there is a certain comfort in immediate gratification," Dr. Tony Ortega, a licensed psychologist and author of "#IsHeHereYet: Being The Person You Want To Be With," explained to Fox News. "Most things that provide immediate gratification also provide immediate relief from negative emotional experiences. We see this with any form of addiction. Now, when we don't get our groceries delivered on time or we have to make a long line to get into the grocery store, this delays gratification and contributes to the intensification of fear and anxiety. What if we don't get what we want/need? That's a scary thought to add to everything else we are thinking and feeling."

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For people who are stressed, however, he did offer advice.

"The one good thing about this pandemic is that it is not creating a shortage of food per se, just a decrease in the accessibility of it," he said. "Therefore, we would do well to remind ourselves of this and know that food will be coming at some point. We just don't know when."

For people who are stressed, he recommended taking simple steps, like looking at what food you already have and taking this opportunity to try new things.

"This pandemic has really prompted us to figure out new ways of doing things and this is especially true in the kitchen" he elaborated. "Instead of focusing on the lack of instant availability, challenge yourself to try something new."

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