Within our family, everyone has their own tasks. Part of my tasks were to do the shopping. Every Saturday morning, I went to the supermarket weekly groceries. A task that I started to experience as a routine and that was on the agenda every week as a fixed prick. I often took one of the children with me. I then had a kind of outing with dad and could give some extra attention to them.

With the burnout, this came to an end quickly. Almost immediately after I got home, it turned out that I experienced shopping as quite stressful. In addition to the physical effort of going there and looking for the stuff, the crowds and the stimuli also turned out to have a huge impact on me. Also finishing a shopping list in combination with thinking about what is in the advertising etc. turned out to be almost a bridge too far. In addition, I also noticed that I experienced taking a child as extra heavy.

Nevertheless, I now do the shopping again and I go into the supermarket just fine, without sloshing armpits and heart rate 185. I can even (more or less) handle the IKEA again. How that happened I describe below.

Own experience

As described above, I found grocery shopping with a burnout terrible. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The noise, the stimuli, the carts, other people, etc. That was too much now.

And I really tried, but my body protested so hard that I just literally didn’t get well. My heart rate went up, I got dizzy, got stuffy, I went straight for a panic attack. I wanted to get out of the situation as soon as .m and I also really turned around from time to time.

After such an experience, I had to recover for a few days and regain some energy. To then try again, with basically the same result. It just didn’t work.


Here too, together with my wife and psychologist, I sat down to think about where things went wrong. As with the previous topics, we first made an inventory of what exactly is happening. We made a diagram in which I was going to describe what made it so taxing.

It looked like this:

The Shop’s name

Reaction body

How is that possible?

What can be done differently



Very busy

Going at a quieter time



Action turned out to be no action

Don’t go after the actions at Ah anymore


Got confused

20 types of Peanut Butter, confusing

Go to a store with less choice


Lost overview

Too much stuff in the cart

Buy less stuff in 1 time



Annoying customers

Go to a store with a different audience



Unfriendly employee

Find friendly staff



In this way I got insight into what was not good about shopping, as I was used to and where changes had to take place.

Through a few simple interventions I have gained a completely different view on shopping. I describe that below.


After keeping track of the above schedule for a while, I came up with six topics that I thought were important to change.

  • The number of groceries 

We live on the border with Germany. Every now and then we go shopping there. Firstly, it is cheaper there, they have slightly different products and thirdly, you can buy products in large numbers there.

Toothpaste, corn, tuna etc. We then buy large quantities at once. So, 1 tray of corn (18 cans), a box of toothpaste (15 tubes), 10 packs of tea, you name it.

By doing that, we have a standard stock in the pantry. That also means that the groceries are already partly in the house and that we therefore must do less shopping in the week.

That not only saves money, but also time. I’m much faster through the store.

  • The store itself was important

Without wanting to advertise, but I think the Aldi and Lidl are good stores (budget supermarkets). Especially since everything is only there in 1 or 2 variations. So the peanut butter, is in 2 types, with pieces or without. That’s easy, you don’t have to think. Just like the cookies and the meat. All in a limited range.

They have also had the items in the same place for years. So you don’t have to look for where everything is. In addition, the products have also had the same packaging for years. So, it’s easy to choose there too.

I hated the big supermarkets. It’s like being in some kind of amusement park. Infinite stuff, noise, music, colors, stimuli, Horrible. So, I get there as little as possible.

I also got annoyed because a lot of offers in the Bonus, or an action, led me to buy more than I wanted. That made me angry because I felt taken by the nose.

  • The people must be nice

That was very important to me. That when I go to a store, people are nice. The local shops in particular exude a degree of kindness. Bakery, fruit farmer, coffee corner etc.

I thought that was very important. That you meet someone who is nice. That could just make up for my whole day.

So, we are now also going to get fruit from an apple farmer in Ressen, or bread from a local bakery / social workshop, flowers at the flower shed in Lent, you name it.

  • The one who goes along is important

In the beginning of the burnout, I wanted to have someone with me. Then I didn’t feel so alone, and I had someone who could help me when I wasn’t getting well.

It turned out that of my children, only our son really enjoyed going along. The rest went along mainly because they thought I liked that. So, with my son I usually do the shopping.

I find that super handy because he now knows where everything is and can therefore also participate in part. Then I say: Roel, can you take care of: milk, cookies, chips, etc. I don’t have to think about that anymore.

  • Time and day

This is an open door, but the time and the crowds are related to each other.  You know that on Saturday morning and Friday afternoon it is forbidden area for someone with a burnout.

Go on Tuesday morning, Wednesday evening, Thursday afternoon. So when it’s more quiet.

  • And on!!

When I go to the hairdresser dan I want to have that as quick as possible. No rumbling, just cut and done. With us in Nijmegen you have Turkish hairdressers. The best invention for burnout.

I come in without an appointment, am greeted friendly, get a cup of tea, get cut and be outside again within 20 minutes. Without semi-friendly talk to a hairdresser about my holiday, or my children, how it’s going, whether I’m already a customer, etc.

Just cut and you’re done.


By objectively looking at what is happening and how my body reacts, I got closer and closer to myself.  I understood better what was not right and what had to be done differently.

With a few simple interventions, I am now doing my shopping again. I have grown into looking at shopping in a different way.



The adjustments have not only led to being able to do groceries again. But also, to a different experience of it.

We have come to see groceries more as a kind of outing. So that we consciously choose: the local baker, the fruit farmer, the Turkish hairdresser, doing shopping in Germany, you name it.

This gave me confidence that it was going to be okay.


What is positive?

By looking at shopping differently, we have been able to turn it from a burden to a kind of outing. We have been able to take the pressure off, so that it is no longer so loaded.

In addition, we also like to get apples from the apple farmer, cheese from the cheesemonger, etc. You’re out of it for a while.



  1. Go when you feel you can and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t go.
  2. Go at times when it is quiet.
  3. Avoid large stores, XL, garden centers, etc.
  4. Find the local entrepreneur. This breeds a bond, is calmer and you speak to someone.
  5. If you see in the store that it is not going, just leave.
  6. Don’t go alone, but take someone with you
  7. Some stores have a delivery service. You can use that.

Don’t give up!!

Now I can just do my shopping again. On Saturday morning by the XL, no problem. But still, I remain cautious. Even though I have energy again, I think it’s a shame to spend my energy on it.

I still plan it in such a way that the groceries can be done at a quiet time. In a quiet supermarket and I keep looking for the local entrepreneur. I try to turn a red zone into a green one (also read plans).

You also must consider that even for people who do not have burnout, shopping (in an XL) is a huge drain on their energy.