'I need to go to therapy soon, and by therapy I mean Target.' Roaming the aisles as self-care?

On days she feels particularly stressed, Shamita Jayakumar knows the quickest way to ease her mind. “I’ll just go to Target and wander the aisles,” she says. “So

soothing." Every other week or so, the 32-year-old tech worker drives to the sprawling location off Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City and zigzags through the cleaning,

camping, cooking, book and beauty aisles. She browses for an hour or two, although it’s hard to say exactly how long, because time feels like it stops. Sometimes she leaves with

only a few items, but more often than not, she walks in with a list of two or three things and walks out with $200 of merchandise. It clearly says something about the

commodification of self-care, she acknowledges, but it’s about more than that too — it’s that the store is big and bright and air-conditioned and she can zone out and wander in a

way she wouldn’t feel safe doing at a park. It’s that the layout here in Culver City looks enough like the one back home in Silicon Valley that she flashes back to Target runs

with her mom in the '90s, and that there are people around you but no pressure to talk to them. “My own self-care day,” she calls it. She’s among a cohort of Gen Z,

millennial and Gen X women who view frequent trips to the cheap-chic retailer less as a weekly chore than as a therapeutic experience of sorts — alone time like you might get

while going on a solo hike or getting a massage, but under the guise of errands so they’re easier to carve out with some frequency.