Friday, April 21, 2023

What is the most overlooked aspect of preparedness?

By Tim Gamble

In my opinion, the single most overlooked, dare I say ignored, aspect of preparedness and survival is the mental aspect. Having lots of supplies and the most expensive gear you can afford won't help you, if you cannot handle the fear, worry, and intense pressure that will accompany any SHTF emergency or long-term disaster. 

The importance of menta and emotional preparedness preparedness in a crisis cannot be overstated. The ability to not panic, to stay focused, and to think clearly is crucial. Besides, you don't want to have to deal with addictions and other mental health challenges (your own, or that of others) in the midst of a crisis. Don't forget that many folks today “manage” their mental health problems with medications that may quickly become unattainable in any grid-down or post-collapse scenario. 
Most everyone in the prepper and survivalist communities acknowledge the importance of mental health and emotional preparedness, but few talk about it in any detail. How do we prepare our mental health? Isn't good mental health something we either have or don't have? Is it something we can actually work on? How do we prep our mental health? 

Ways to build mental health and emotional preparedness

1) Develop a healthy spirituality. I know many of you will roll your eyes at this suggestion, but it is important. My relationship with God gives me great comfort, encouragement, strength, focus, and purpose during times of stress. Perhaps it can do the same for you, if you let it. Get right with God. Pray. Read scripture. Seek forgiveness. Be thankful. 

2) Reconnect with your spouse. Or get married if you're single (like me). Next to your relationship with God, no other relationship in your life will be as important, or have more of an impact on your life, than the relationship you have with your spouse. Your spouse will be (should be) your best friend and confidant, your most reliable helper, your biggest comforter, the one person who will always care about you, and the one person you can always trust. Of course, it is a two-way street - you have to be there for your spouse. So be there.

3) Reconnect with family and friends. Improve existing relationships and work on building new, positive relationships. It won't be easy, and it won't always work out, but it can be done. Put aside old quarrels and bruised egos. Reach out to family and friends you've lost touch with. Meet new people. Be a part of your community. Meet your neighbors. Participate. Volunteer.

4) Weed out toxic people from your life. We all have toxic people in our lives. People who seem to exist in a constant state of chaos; people who drain us of our energy (and sometimes our money); people who hurt us over and over again, and don't seem to care. Perhaps it is a relative. Or an old friend from your childhood. I'm not saying to dump people when they are going through a rough patch. But there are some folks whose "rough patch" seems to be their entire lives, and they refuse to do anything about it. Don't get sucked into their world of constant chaos, addictions, selfness, and bad decisions. Pray for them, help them if they are willing to try, then let them go.

5) Get rid of any addictions in your life - drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography... - before any crisis. You do not want to have to deal with an addiction during a crisis. (See my next article, which will be on getting help.)

6) Relax. Laugh. Enjoy life. Be thankful. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Be a hopeful realist. It is important to understand the problems we face. Just don’t obsess over them. Instead, start working towards solutions. Acting to make positive changes, even small ones, will increase your confidence and encourage yourself, your family and your friends.

7) Reduce stress by taking up a fun hobby completely unrelated to prepping and survivalism. Maybe play golf or tennis. Take up painting. Learn to play a musical instrument. Study History. Read the Classics. Become an amateur astronomer. Collect stamps. The list is almost endless. 

8) Reconnect to God's creation. Spend time in nature for the enjoyment of nature. Take up outdoor hobbies such as gardening, hiking, fishing, camping and bird watching. Learn the names of trees, wildflowers and “weeds” native to your area. Learn what kinds of soils are in your region. Learn where your water comes from. Visit nearby parks and wildlife refuges. Visit your local natural history museum or botanical gardens. Learn the names of the birds and butterflies common to your backyard. Enjoy nature. 

9) Get enough sleep (for adults, that is at least 7 hours a night on a consistent basis). I know. Most people claim they can "get by" on less, but really they are fooling themselves. Lack of sleep wrecks havoc on our mental health. Sleep is also often overlooked in regards to our physical health. Being constantly sleep deprived is really bad, mentally and physically.

10) Be a life-long learner. This will give you confidence based on real reasons (as opposed to the empty "positive self-image" pushed by the Woke crowd). It will also lead to less anxiety and stress. Ideas: Read. Take classes. Improve your job skills. Learn about personal finance. Study permaculture. Learn useful skills such as auto mechanics, small-engine repair, carpentry and home repair. Learn first aid and CPR. Learn to sew, and to preserve food. Learn how to save seeds. Learn how to hunt, fish and forage for wild foods. Learn the skills your grandparents had. 

All the things mentioned in this article sound simple and easy. And they should be. But some folks will need extra help. Sometimes they just need to talk to a friend who will listen without being judgmental. Maybe they need a pastor or counselor to listen to them and to offer some advice. Or maybe they need more professional help. I will be posting an article tomorrow (Saturday) on where and how to get help if you need it. (Update: That article is now live. You can read it at )

AD:  Augason Farms Long-Term Food Storage - This is where I get powdered butter, eggs, cheese, milk, and other long-term foods for my Survival Pantry. Shelf-life up to 20+ years. Good quality, good taste, good value. For my money (literally, since I am a paying customer), Augason Farms is the best long-term foods option. 


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