When Actual Therapy is Too Expensive, Try Retail Therapy

Alexa Fang

Alexa Fang

Last updated 23 August, 2016

Here are some things you can do to pick yourself up if professional therapy in Singapore is too expensive for you.

Have you heard of the saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping”? Well, now you have.  

As you've probably long suspected, shopping really does help to soothe anxiety and boost your mood - and there are academic studies to prove it. Hey, they don’t call retail therapy for no reason.

Of course, if you’re chronically blue, it may be worth consulting a psychiatrist or counsellor. We have it on good intel that an hour in the chair of a notable psychiatrist, plus medication, can cost upwards of S$500. That works out to at least S$2,000 a month if you do weekly sessions.

But if it’s just a temporary funk, splashing your cash on material things won't amount to more than a temporary salve on your psyche. Investing in new experiences, however, could be another way to calm your frazzled mind. 

Before you feel it’s absolutely necessary to fork out hundreds of dollars for therapy, you might consider cheering yourself up with a spot of retail therapy.

the art of making coffee

But First, Coffee

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Try picking up a new hobby — it could be a good distraction from your troubles. More than that, learning something new will make you feel pretty good about yourself.

For example, if you’re a coffee person, invest in a good coffee machine and hone the art of coffee-making. Try the Introduction to Coffee course at Bettr Barista Coffee Academy to pursue the fine art of extracting the very best shot of coffee, for just S$193. Then whip up your own perfect brew with a bean-to-cup machine like the Delonghi Dedica (approx. S$449).

Blues? Who has time for it with this much elegance — and caffeine — in your kitchen?

Soul Asylum

Stress. It comes from so many places but equally, it can be cured in so many ways. Sure, pouring your heart out to a professional therapist may help, but the question is, how do you de-stress for less? (Surely, the doctor’s bill contributes somewhat to the jitters.)

Getting a relaxing massage is one of our favourite ways of cheering ourselves up. Who wouldn't love having their anxiety kneaded out of them and feel the tension melting away in a healing environment?

Now let’s do the math: A 60-minute massage at the plush So Spa costs about S$180. And if you use an ANZ credit card to pay for it, you get 15% off a la carte services until 31 December 2016!


If you could eschew the doc’s couch for a whole month, the money saved can easily render you 10 heavenly hours of bliss in this soul asylum. And for 60 minutes, you have every excuse to avoid phone calls and Whatsapp messages.

Detox accomplished!

champagne brunch singapore

Have A Bubbly Weekend

If you are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps the best thing you could do for yourself is get out of bed, get dressed, and hang with your best friend. Better yet, do something nice.

Treat her to a fabulous champagne brunch at the Four Seasons (S$180 per person) as a “Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on”. With a flushed face, a stuffed belly and a full heart, you would be doing yourself a favour as much as you would be doing one for your gal pal.


Plus, if you pay with an American Express credit card, you get 20% off Sunday brunch at One-Ninety. We suggest using an air miles credit card like the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card for this, so you can rack up enough air miles to go...

To The Sea

Studies have shown that people living by the sea are healthier than inner-city dwellers, if only just a little. There has to be a reason why so many rich people have beach houses, right? They must be on to something. So why not try it on for size yourself?

Rather than endlessly filling that prescription for alprazolam, try a “natural” remedy and book yourself some me-time at a beach- or ocean-front resort, soak in a seaside sunset and meditate to the lapping sound of the waves —  ahhhh. See?

Even in your mind's eye, it works. For the amount you pay your psychiatrist for four hours, you could indulge in five glorious days at a plush Balinese resort like the Alila Villas Soori (S$2,038 inclusive of airfare). Or better still, grab a picnic mat and a friend, and head to the quiet end of breezy Changi Beach for some much-needed R&R — all for the cost of a few canned drinks and a taxi ride.  

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Alexa FangBy Alexa Fang

Alexa is a pop-culture vulture. She lives to read, write and travel, and decided long ago that life is stranger than fiction. When she's having croissant, she thinks in French. "31 Rue Cambon" is her favourite address, and she believes that money one enjoyed spending is never money wasted.


Alexa is a pop-culture vulture. She lives to read, write and travel, and decided long ago that life is stranger than fiction. When she’s having croissant, she thinks in French. “31 Rue Cambon” is her favourite address, and she believes that money one enjoyed spending is never money wasted.


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