mental health

anxiety, grocery shopping, and instacart

instacart grocery shopping service

Between my history with disordered eating and my ever-present anxiety, the grocery store has long been my own personal hell. From the rush hour-like flow of people pushing their carts about the store to my abysmal attempts at meal planning, every single aspect of the grocery store overwhelms me. When I was living alone, I sometimes convinced my mom to come along for moral support. Her being there may have cut down on the full-blown panic attacks in the pasta aisle, but I still wasn’t coming home with bags of ingredients to make actual meals.
Living, and therefore grocery shopping, with Dago has helped over the years. Having a teammate to conquer the store with seemed like my closest bet at someday mastering my greatest challenge every week. And then he got injured. Not only did I return to shopping alone, but was faced with shopping for two. I can’t think of anything I’ve dreaded quite like my weekly trips to the grocery. I needed a solution (or an intervention), and fast.
Among the regular shoppers I encountered each week were a herd of expert-grocery collectors in green t-shirts. They slipped smoothly through the aisles with purpose, not having to consider which brand of Alfredo sauce they should buy. These grocery store heroes work for Instacart, a personal grocery shopping and delivery service bringing your shopping list right to your home.

To say that Instacart has been my saving grace since Dago’s injury would be an understatement. There’s no frantic texting if I can’t find his favorite flavor of Trail Mix. I can choose the right one while sitting next to him on the couch, and if the store is out, my Instacart shopper will alert me, letting me choose from similar options (or giving me the opportunity to refund if Dago’s being especially picky). I also love being able to easily add things to my cart that I’ve ordered previously. My recent purchases all show up on the homepage so I don’t have to go searching for things I buy weekly.

If you’re wondering if I plan to go back to the grocery store after Dago can walk again, the answer is a resounding heck no! For the first time, meal planning feels within my reach. I’ve been using Pinterest to help me figure out what meals I’d like to eat (plus Instacart has a recipe page!), and then I can find and order those ingredients in the same browser. I still don’t enjoy cooking, but I don’t dread it the way I did before because I feel like I have control over the food in my kitchen. I know what I have and I bought it with purpose. Regular grocery shopping is full of distractions and if you forget an item, you’re screwed. Even after I’ve put in an order on Instacart, I can add to it while my shopper grabs my other groceries. Great for realizing you forgot cat litter again! Oh, and speaking of cat litter, the shopper brings it right to my door! I no longer have to try to carry all my bags and a heavy tub of litter in the same trip (because who has time for multiple trips?).

The one hesitation I’ve heard again and again is about impulse purchases. Everyone loves to be able to add a box of Oreos to their cart without a second thought. One of my favorite things about Instacart is that I’ve discovered so many fun things I had no idea my store carried. I’m obsessed with the “shop the aisle” option. For instance, while looking for cookies one weekend, I learned that my store carries stroopwaflesmy absolute favorite treat. And it’s not just cookies; I use the aisle view to check out salad options, since that can be super overwhelming for me in store (why are there so many kinds of leaves??).

For some people, Instacart is about convenience. I get that — who doesn’t love people bringing you stuff so you don’t have to put pants on? But for me, Instacart is about making the food I buy and consume each week a non-issue. There’s no dread or anxiety about putting in an Instacart order because I can take my time checking out all the options from my safe space on the couch and without the rushed feeling I get in the store. AND THEN SOMEONE BRINGS IT TO ME!

So, how do you get in on all of this? Through September 30, new customers can use the code LIKEAGIRL20 to get $20 and free delivery on orders over $35. If you’ve thought about trying Instacart, now is your chance! It sounds dramatic, but Instacart has changed my life. I wanted to be sure you had that opportunity too! (You can check out their locations here to find out if there’s Instacart where you live.)

*In case you’ve been wondering, I’m still doing the intuitive eating thing! If you’re not sure what that is, you can read a little about it here.

Disclosure: I received free Express Delivery for one year in exchange for this post, because that’s how much I love Instacart! All opinions are my own, and I’ve been so excited to share my experience using this service with you. Thanks for supporting the brands and businesses that support me!

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