Keeping mentally fit while preparing and during a crisis

We prepare. We plan. We spend countless hours thinking about our preparations, and hours more researching and reading about how we can do it better.

We worry. Did I miss something? We compare ourselves with other people. I don’t have the gear that the other people have. Or, I can’t afford what everyone else is buying.

We get overwhelmed. There is so much to know and learn. Am I doing it right? Have I made a mistake that will cause a problem later?

We witness tragedies elsewhere and our stress levels rise. Some days it feels like we’ll never be able to go from “prepare” to “prepared”.

I would like to share a few coping strategies I have used while preparing and also during times of crisis. There are many ways to cope, so any other suggestions are much appreciated.

When overwhelmed, remember that you are putting forth your best efforts. Take some time to remember how far you have come.

Remember that sound financial management is part of being prepared. Driving yourself into debt “to keep with the (prepping) Joneses” would accrue items or supplies on one hand, but leave you vulnerable, still stressed and unsoundly prepared on the other hand. 

Mistakes will happen. We are human and not perfect beings. That is why we can take time to review our preps and plans and discuss them with our family members or others who prepare in order to check for possible errors.

Take a good, long walk. Walking is a way to do two things: calm down and find solutions. I get my best ideas on a walk or after I have taken a walk and I am relaxed.

If walking is not an option for you, then visualize yourself doing a walk through a nice area that appeals to you. It has been proven that athletes who mentally practised through visualization registered the same results on their muscles as those who did so in real time.

Our ability to breathe correctly is very important. When stressed, we shift to shallow breathing. 

The following is a method to breathe more fully. As with any breathing technique, stop if you feel light-headed or faint. 

You can learn to breathe from the belly up through to the lungs. If you place your hand on your stomach above the navel, your hand should rise as you inhale. It is the way singers are trained to breathe.

Then exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips, as if you were going to gently blow a feather away from you. Keep your hand on your belly and let your belly slowly deflate. Repeat, as able, three times. It takes a bit of practice, but is a good way to reduce stress.

If a crisis happens, remember that you have prepared. Take some time to assess the crisis.

Steady, normal breathing. Don’t hyperventilate.

Your brain is your biggest weapon and tool. Think it through before responding. Respond don’t react.

Don’t give up. Your instinct is to survive. Use that instinct. Focus on success and survival. You are stronger than you know.

Don’t let panic and fear drive the humanity out of you, especially in a protracted crisis. We want to survive, but it isn’t necessary to be cruel. When the crisis is over, you will have to live with your choices.

Remember to check on family and friends who may be struggling and watch for signs of stress in them. Help them so that they can remain a stable part of the family  or community team.

Remember that events, like people, have their season in our lives. The tough times will end, the crisis will pass. When you stand there, after it’s over, stand tall and be proud of yourself.

You survived.


  • Comments (45)

    • 7

      EXCELLENT topic! And very good and sound advice. 

      This year of Covid with separation from others and not getting out as much as we should has caused so many to have mental health issues, stress, anxiety, and even sadly suicide. Take care of your brain. It has been taking care of you your whole life.

      Here’s a couple of more mental health thoughts from Robert:

      • Take a mental health sick day from work every now and then. You don’t need to tell your employer though that it’s for mental health, just say you are sick and leave it at that. 
      • Get outside and soak up some Vitamin D from the sun. That has been proven to help boost your mood.
      • Journaling, meditation, and prayer (if that is something you believe in) is a great way to clear your thoughts.
      • I like to have a prepping role model to look up to when times are tough. Bear Grylls is mine. When I am going through a hard time, or in the future if I go through a disaster, I think about what Bear would do. I can overcome and survive! 
      • I believe this technique is called 3-3-3 or something like that, but the general premise when dealing with a situation/argument with your spouse is will this matter in 3 minutes? In 3 days? In 3 months? So maybe in an emergency, just picture yourself in three days or in three months when you have overcome the situation. 
      • 6

        Robert, Thank you very much. I really like your suggestions!

        I used to tell my staff to take a mental health break day. Everyone needs down time outside of vacation. If the person has a good work ethic and attitude, there is no harm in extending that compassion.

        Employers sometimes forget that most people don’t relax during their vacations. Many people stay at home and work on projects.

        Other families pack everyone into the RV or car and drive like a trucker with a broken reefer and a load of thawing ice cream to get to the lake, cabin or grandparent’s for a visit. That is not a very relaxing vacation.

        One of my role model’s for when the going gets tough is Bernard. He was a fellow student and part of my study buddies group. Bernard was originally from Uganda. He was 15 and his friend 14, when Idi Amine’s troops came into their village and slaughtered everyone. They hid and saw everything.

        For the sake of everyone’s sensibilities, I won’t go into detail. Let us just say that that they fit the definition of monsters. They forced people to slaughter each other and how they did that is why I won’t go into further detail.

        Bernard and his friend, made their way out of Uganda, to England and finally to Canada. He was possibly one of the most decent and kind human beings I have ever known. After what he had experienced, and at such a young age, he carried no malice and no hatred in his heart.

        We only knew each other a short time in that school. Bernard wanted to become a professional engineer and then go back to Uganda if possible to help others. I hope he made it.

        On the really tough days, I think if Bernard can do it, so can I.

      • 6

        Bernard is my hero now too!

        There are so many people going through things I can’t even imagine. It shows me how resilient humans can be and can go through some pretty rough things. 

      • 5

        The human spirit is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

      • 3

        For some of us, our occupation is a huge benefit and very significant in staying mentally healthy.  That is true for everyone, in every job, but many of us are fortunate…

        Bear Grylls??  Seriously?  That scripted, staged, artificially arranged poseur. – complete with bad advice and counsel.  You will be in deeep trouble…

      • 7

        I do know that his show is scripted and staged and he isn’t really surviving out there how they make it seem. But I have learned a lot from him, respect him as a person, and I think he has done quite a lot of good for the prepping and survival community. 

        I like him. 

    • 8


      Above link is to one of the best public sector small agencies involved in this.  Their pubs are no cost but maybe no longer available  to non-US private addresses (budgetry constraints).

      At linked page, hopefully the Compassion Fatigue (July 2020) pamphlet is displayed.  Note the “Tips For Survivors: Coping With Grief After A Disaster Or Traumatic Event”.

      I’ve also got some boxes of related preparedness, responding and post pamhlets for senior citizens.  Don’t have the  childrens’ stuff any more – distributed it already – but it’s well developed.  The comic book formats remove the unknown from the preparednes.

      Many areas have no-cost seminars on this field.  A “big seller” here was psychological first aid.

      Most everything involved in the preparedness, the response and the recovery is about polished skills and mental preparedness. The gear is good to have but not absolutely required. 


      • 6

        Hi Bob, I tried the link but it came back as “url not found”.

        You make excellent points on trauma and grief and the aftercare aspect.

        Also, age specific resources are important. When I took palliative care, we had a separate section for dealing with children’s grief, categorized by age.

        Your last paragraph says it all. Gear can be lost or stolen. Polished skills and mental preparedness keep you going.

        Always wisdom from you, thanks Bob

      • 10

        Ubique, Recommend to first Google (or other) “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services”.  It’s a sub agency of US Dept of Health and Human Services.

        Am looking at some paper pamphlets I just pulled out from behind some hurricane supplies here in this firetrap.

        One web address – 2005 – is http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov

        I’m looking at one of the best – at least from my perspective – pubs in this field: “Field Manual For Mental Health And Human Service Workers In Major Disasters”.  A key concept at FM’s page 1:  “Disaster Mental Health Assistance is often more practical than psychological in nature”.

        At their website, the pubs are in section called “Store”. Seek subcategory re “Disaster”.

      • 5

        Hi Bob, I found it on Samhsa, however the url was still not found. So I tried a search on the name and I located it in downloadable pdf 35 pages:

        Here’s the link: Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers 

        I have already saved it in pdf to read later.

        Thank you so much Bob. I love reading and books. Yep, I’ll be the prepper pushing bookcases with wheels.

    • 6

      I have found having a “grateful” log to track “graditudes” is super helpful.  Breathing tips have also helped me in super stressful situations:


      • 6

        Steve, A gratitude log or journal is a wonderful way practice stress reduction. Before sleep, I count my blessings and it helps me to enter sleep in a peaceful state of mind.

        Thank you for the link to the Forbes article. My current evening reading is a book that deals with exactly that topic. It is called “When the Body Says No – The Cost of Hidden Stress” by Dr. Gabor Mate (a Canadian physician).

    • 9

      Excellent topic and points raised by you, Ubique, Robert, and others. A few thoughts — Many people are better dealing with a short-term crisis than with a long-term chronic situation. I think it’s possible that humanity’s greatest challenges ahead will involve chronic stress rather than short-term stress, so it’s very important to develop emotional, psychological, spiritual, and mental inner resources to deal with chronic stress.

      The human brain has evolved to have a “negativity bias” — we tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive. That’s perfect for short-term crises, but not so good for long-term chronic stress. As prepping-oriented people, we are channeling our negativity bias into productive action. 

      However, I think people benefit also from taking steps to counter the negativity bias of our own brains. Gratitude journals, taking breaks from stressful situations, challenging our own ruminations, exercise, creative endeavors, connecting with friends and strangers, all this is good. I like the practical psychologists who work with positive neural plasticity to teach people to self-soothe and build inner psychological resources. Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is my favorite teacher along these lines (www.rickhanson.net — note, not .com). 

      Thank you to everyone involved in this website.

      • 8

        Hi Seasons4,

        You raise excellents points. I agree that it is exactly what we do when prepping – “we are channeling our negative bias into productive action”. I have never thought of prepping that way before and thank you for sharing that insight.

        Thank you also for the Rick Hanson info. I have bookmarked his website. It is the kind of psychological teaching I am interested in. Jon Kabat-Zinn is another favourite. 

        I use creative visualization which I self-taught from Shakti Guwain’s books. I have found that very helpful when in need of a “time-out’ from the challenges or demands of daily life.

        Thank you very much for the balance and insight you bring to this forum.

    • 5

      Thanks for the excellent suggestions! 

      I’d like to throw out a tangential idea – to help prepare for a short term crisis emotionally, put yourself in situations where you need to get by without the “luxuries” of modern life.  I specifically recommend primitive tent camping (or backpacking) – find a camp site without electricity or running water.  I’ve found this to be an unexpectedly useful form of mental/emotional prepping.

      Don’t bring a cooler – shelf stable food only (I confess that I bring one for drinks!).  Only battery powered electronics.  Try going somewhere without cell service.  Get comfortable cooking on portable stoves and collecting/drinking filtered water.  Ladies – learn to pee outside (I recommend funnels!). 

      Do this a few times a year until you are comfortable for duration of the trip.  Make this “practice” a fun trip and include things you want to do.  It shouldn’t be a weekend of deprivation.  This has several big benefits:

      – you practice using your gear and develop confidence in it. You learn it’s limitations, change it as needed, and learn what does and doesn’t work for you.
      – it increases your comfort zone in a wider range of temperatures, environments, and weather conditions. The first night I spent in a tent I couldn’t sleep. Now I have no issues because I trust the gear and the sounds don’t bother me.  I’m confident I’ll be safe, warm, and dry. 
      – you learn your personal limits and stress points – personal hygiene is a big deal for me and it took a few tries to be comfortable going without showering for a few days.  I learned alternatives to keeping clean. 
      – most importantly – the experience changes your perspective and you start to see hot showers and our “normal” indoor temperature range as luxuries rather than necessities.  During a real crisis, you will still worry about the outcome, but the conditions of the situation will be much less stressful and allow you to function and make better decisions. 

      • 3

        What a great way to create first hand experience and strengthen our mental and emotional preparedness. It is a way to condition ourselves to changed conditions during a crisis and boost our confidence.

        We can learn key points about how we respond to a change in environment. We can use that information to formulate options and then test our ideas on another trip.

        Trips such as this also afford us an opportunity to test our preps and adjust accordingly. 

        Your words are a wake up call for some of us who have done camping in the rough, but have not practiced it in a long time. We could have difficulty emotionally or mentally. Skills have to be maintained and like you said, we can make it a fun trip. 

        Your comment made me think about how fortunate we are that we have the ability to be preppers and have the resources to prepare for a crisis, unlike other communities on this Earth. That will be something to add to my gratitude list today.

        Excellent points, Christine B and thank you so much for sharing them with us.

      • 7

        Second the notion that outdoor activity in primitive conditions can prepare one for emergencies.  It is very helpful to know the limitation, and capabilities of things that will be used in emergencies.  Living in California, earthquakes are high on my list of probable events.    Basically, i will move out of my uninhabitable dwelling and camp in the  yard, using very familiar equipment.

        You can go one step further and sign up with groups that respond to actual emergencies – CERT, for example.  I volunteered for many years with a local search and rescue group that was fairly active (50 or so operations per year).  The benefits far exceeded the effort I expended – for one thing, I learned how I react to stressful conditions….

      • 7

        Fairly active ?! Hikermor, that SAR unit was busy !

        A great benefit of organizations like SAR groups, CERT, Medical Reserve Corps, for new entrants to the prepper world is real learning.

        Besides one’s area being topographic specific, geographic specific, group affiliation, at whatever level of participation, introduces the person to the additional no cost classes, conferences, seminars.  A newcomer can readily learn which stores have good stuff available, and etc.

        Much cannot be said on the web.

      • 5

        hikermor – What a great idea – a chance to serve others and gain valuable experience. 

        50 operations a year? You must have acquired such a variety of impressions and experience.

        It would make for a good book. Have you thought of writing about it? That could a good read for anyone, but particularly for preppers.

        It could illustrate how to avoid pitfalls that result in rescue, how people survived until you got there and how to manage stressful situations, among other skills and team work.

        Thank you for raising the point of volunteering for with emergency service groups, such as CERT. Excellent point!

    • 5

      Doing yoga and meditation when my girls are at school clears my mind and reenergizes me to handle the day. Being self aware and taking care of your body and mind is therapeutic and healing. If I was in the middle of a disaster, I imagine that I would visualize doing yoga or taking five seconds to breathe.

      • 3

        Hi Jessica – Very good points about yoga and meditation. I have done Hatha yoga and meditate each day. 

        Using yoga, breathing and meditation during a disaster is an excellent idea. Those moments can make such a difference under stress.

        Thank you.

    • 8

      I have a comment on what you’ve said and a general reflection of my challenges. Regarding your worries about having the right things, I think it really comes down to knowledge and flexibility. A lot of the prepping discussions out there are about stuff.  I think knowledge and experience can fill most gaps. Putting yourself in challenging environments as mentioned by others builds confidence that when you do make a mistake or something fails, you can figure out a solution. Once I was backpacking and there was an unexpected snow storm (2-3 feet).  I will never forget watching my p91 can opener disappear into a snow bank while trying to open my dinner with gloved hands.  I made due and learned some lessons. Something minor goes wrong on most trips and it builds confidence that you can overcome.

      I’ve been through two periods that I would consider disasters in the last few years, the Camp fire in 2018 and COVID. I work in healthcare and both events pushed our local systems to and beyond what we thought were their limits. Doing what I needed to do every day became a seemingly endless grind where everything was kind of the same but much harder.

      I’ve done international work in very austere settings, but in each case they were temporary hardships. Stay in a refugee camp for 10 days for instance, then go back to the city, hang out for a few days in air conditioning eating burgers/pizza and letting my heat-rash heal before going back out into the jungle. The work was rewarding and those breaks made it fairly easy. The locals I worked with didn’t have that option to step in and out. I was in awe of how they kept going for months and years.

      Living through challenging times in my own neighborhood helped me understand their perspective a little better. How to keep going without the ability to walk away from the situation is a challenge for me. One answer is that you just plow ahead and do what you need to do until you finish, then you sleep, and get up and do it again. I would handle these stressful times better if I can find a way to get some distance or ‘take a break’ without being able to physically leave the situation. I’ve known this for a while but your post has encouraged me to do a little more thinking about how.

      • 5

        Thank you for sharing your experiences AT. I’ve been struggling with stress and other challenges lately and being able to move would make it so much easier. But I realized last night that I need to just keep plowing ahead and take breaks and moments of rest through the day so that I can cope with things better. 

        I’m glad that has been your experience as well and it just reaffirms my decision last night.

        -Be Prepared-

      • 6

        AT – Thank you for a very thoughtful reply and the insight you have gained through your experiences. 

        Your response illustrates two important points. Things will go wrong and that is when we learn how to innovate and build our confidence. 

        The other point is that experience will come through the lessons taught by mistakes as well as our successes. 

        Thank you also for your service in health care during the fires and the Covid pandemic.

        Many people are not aware of the physical demands of ppe’s and literally running each shift to care for the flood of very ill and dying patients.

        The emotional strain is very hard. In health care, a typical shift is balanced with a variety of situations and outcomes. The pandemic has thrown that balance askew.

        Perhaps, taking a break without actually leaving the situation could come in a break room or tablet/cell phone with something as simple as nature music (surf sounds or birds singing) and/or a tv/dvd player in the break room with nature footage. Even posters of natural vistas could provide visual relief.

        Foot stools to elevate and rest tired, aching feet might also help. If there is a fridge/freezer, ice paks for sore shoulders and necks.

        I was wondering if “cocooning” in a break area might work – like a sensory deprivation approach – noise cancelling headphones, sleep mask for the eyes and a warm blanket.

        A personal alarm set to vibrate or a  wake up from a coworker when the break is over would help relaxation as it eliminates the concern of falling asleep.

      • 3

        I like the headphones idea with some relaxing sounds.  Unfortunately break rooms were among the most dangerous places to be when our prevalence was high since people tend to let their guard down.  Now that the weather is nice I have been going outside and sitting for a few minutes occasionally.  I think it would be good to be more intentional with that time in the future.

    • 7

      I wanted to add a new observation about keeping mentally fit during a crisis. 

      When covid occurred, I was ahead of the curve for most items and well prepared. I was able to source items I needed through specialized suppliers. Life in a small town makes it easier to social distance.

      We seemed to be weathering things fairly well. Or so I thought.

      The pandemic in addition to a long term difficult situation with a neighbour has been the extra stress that has been hard for us to cope with.

      The police have been involved over the years. We have covered up our windows and installed security cameras per their advice, but it doesn’t stop the nature of this person. It has been treated as a “neighbour dispute”, despite this man’s threats against my husband and me.

      This man is not well and has targeted other women in the area. They don’t call the police, no matter how much I or my husband have begged them to do so. Three families who were his victims moved away. We tried at the beginning, but weren’t able to sell fast enough to keep up with the rising market.

      So, we must make a stand here until we can find a way to leave that won’t destroy our future at our stage of life. Both my husband and I have c-ptsd. This has been another layer of long term and protracted trauma. We are both fighters and I am not giving up.

      Because of what both of us have already survived before encountering this man, it has been easy to assume that we were tough enough to keep going. I felt that we were handling this crisis well and initiated counter measures to protect ourselves.

      But then Covid happened and as I said above, I thought we were doing okay.

      Recently, I noted that both of us were sleeping much more than usual and our energy was very low. We are normally very healthy eaters and suddenly it was junk food.

      We both live with conditions that can cause fatigue, but after awhile, my instincts said this is  different.

      So I called a family meeting and we discussed what was happening. I believe we were sliding into a type of depresssion – “the doldrums”. The additional stress of the pandemic over and above the neighbour situation was enough to do it.

      Accordingly we have taken steps to counter this situation:

      I am going to start a small project this week building a partition wall in the kitchen. My husband is going to work in the shed and outdoors as weather permits. We are also increasing the amount of comedy TV and use laughter to get our endorphins firing. Also increased walking together for the same reason. Currently he has been walking our dog and I have been isolating inside.

      We are focussing on any and everything we can do to improve the value of our home in case resale and a move away from this situation (even in the same town but away from proximity to neighbour) presents itself.

      There is also a faint hope with a law that might provide a protection order, which I am exploring.

      I share this with you, because if you had difficulties for any reason prior to the pandemic, as we did, you may find the additional stress creeping up on you. I had always thought my husband and I would notice it quickly and inform the other. But we both became quietly overwhelmed.

      I hope this helps anyone who is experiencing this type of situation. Take immediate steps to counter it – even small changes. Call a crisis line or read up on steps you can take to break out of “the doldrums”.

      • 4


        On first reading had thought you were summarizing the situation Lake of the Woods and southward. Are you addressing stress disorders ? I’m going though about the same events and there’s nil PTSD. The stress events, even if intangable, have visable signs and can be plotted out on a chart. The remedies I don’t know about.

        Here, too, am experiencing “stress overload”.  It’s not a disorder. It’s akin to too many bee stings, too much noise,…My view is that the “doldrums” are the always present environment of “civilized” societies. We temporarily eliminate the aspects of the doldrums by means such as the narcotics like beer, whiskey, foods that release the brain’s natural sedatives, trips, 

        One doctrine I learned is that a change of routine is a stress event.  The change can be a pleasant one such as loading vehicle for a vacation/holiday.

        One example of a “stressor” …… much written about: “faint hope”. This is a definitive stressor. As soon as I read term, was thinking of the world’s contemporary refugee camps. We only see the nice ones on the media.

        A couple of months ago, I had a similar “neighbor” problem.  Much of the area is infected with COVID-19 and the rest of the world’s ailments arriving from this mobile population. Sleep is required.  Some people with motorcycles w/o baffels in mufflers decided the closed schools means additional vacation/holiday. No one could sleep during the day.  I wrote to my area elected official to review my enclosed draft ordnance to establish an area “quiet zone” during this national emergency. Had mentioned medical costs of bills was astronomical and rising and most charged to the public sector. Must stop due the web medium of communication.


        I am now in the mood for some of that Canadian applejuice that’s fermented and then distilled. It works, it’s refreshing and it eliminates the doldrums until it wears off.

      • 3

        Hi Bob –  “Too many bee stings” – That sums it up very well.

        I was reluctant to write about this, although it is prep related and a good example of being YOYO and how to cope with the stress of it.

        Ironically, this situation has been good prep for any crisis, particulary with issues relating to safety and security in addition to coping with protracted stress.

        We can be in a bad situation when a crisis hits and then everything is affected and the stress compounded.

        I’ll try to clarify the post above. 

        Prior to the current situation with Covid, we were dealing with a neighbour who is a peeping tom and obsessed with me and other women in town. Those are the families who moved.  As I said, we can’t move right now.

        Examples: He has stalked both me and my husband on foot or followed us in his vehicle. He has verbally threatened to stand over my husband and watch the life drain out of his eyes.

        He has held a shovel up like a club behind my husband’s head as if to club him. I happened to walk out of the house in pre-security camera days and he ran off. I reported to police and had no proof, nothing done. 

        He has threatened me. All this and much more, because I told the police that he was looking into our windows and prowling around our property at night. He does this to others in the neighbourhood and has been caught but not reported to the police by them. 

        Our police are geared toward mediation and conflict resolution. I have asked police to please consider that this is an issue of stalking, obsession and threats. I told them that this is not a “neighbour dispute.”

        Other people that have caught him don’t call the police. His family member is a retired officer who lives in town.  And so it goes.

        The security cameras stopped him coming onto the property, but he still sits or stands in the dark around 4-5 am and stares at our house from his yard. Security footage of this still not effective for action by local police despite the bizarre behaviour.

        We have protocols to watch each other’s back when in the yard or going on an errand in or out of town. We have an emergency cell flip phone (rates are high here). We have modified our home, covered windows, extra locks, etc.

        I have no doubt that this man is dangerous and capable of hurting others if his bragging about cruelty to his infirm mother is to be believed. I told police about this and was told if she’s dead, nothing they can do.

        It has been about 13 years of being under siege. This synopsis is a fraction of what we have experienced. 

        Then Covid happened and as I wrote, I thought we were doing ok. The covid in addition to the current situation was too much. 

        As in the other post, I have taken steps to get both of us back on top of the stress here by countering it with healthy coping strategies.

        I know now to be very careful of relying on a family member to catch a stress overload or depression setting in on each other during a crisis.

        I think regular family meetings to discuss how everyone is doing or if single, then speaking to a trusted person as a touchstone for how our mental health is functioning during the crisis.

        I hope your situation improves Bob. Some days, “it’s a mad world” as the song goes.

      • 4

        Ubique, I understand.  I view all this as the quasi-criminals being the manifestation of the problem.  The social structures of communities have decayed too much to address these quasi-criminals.  Law enforcement philosophy is the same down here. If defending oneself against eg a home intruder and the defensive measures send the intruder to the hospital, there are PROBLEMS for the defender.

        All this is really YOYO.  A major aspect is to minimize potential stress events. It is cumculative and this is what causes the heart attacks and all the other ultimate dangers.

        Appreciate concerns about down here but has not bottomed out here yet. It must get worse before the social rehabilitation gets going. 

      • 5

        Agreed, Bob.

        The world is evolving and so must we find ways to navigate a shifting landscape. We must find ways to understand the new social mores that have arisen out of the decay, if one can call them “social mores”.

        I look to why experiences happen and ultimately, there are always lessons to be learned. Stress management is how we mitigate the biological changes that occur (Dr Gabor Mate  – “When the body says no – the hidden cost of stress).

        So true, it seems that things have to get to a certain point before it gets better. It is in that time and space that we can learn how to function in the new paradigm that society has created.

        It’s not what I envisioned. Edmund Burke said it best: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

      • 5

        Ubique, Edmund Burke was correct.

      • 5

        I wonder how Edmund would prep?

      • 6

        Edmund Burke could be called a pragmatic realist.

        He understood “civilized” society and believed to work in harmony with it. When the colonies south of the St Lawrence were complaining about London’s tax requirements on the colonialists (actually less that paid in England), Burke recommended to get this subject out of the debate and out of the news. 

        If Burke went to Canada, he’d probably look like that guy on label of Yukon Jack liquor … warm,thick fur coat.  Again, Burke was a realistic pragmatist.

        He avoided metaphysics knowing more arguments and clashes occured than solutions to problems.

        Many of the quotes we know about, from Napoleon to Burke to the 20th century ones were written by others – but the point is that it doesn’t matter. The realistic solution is to continue the society. This is legacy of Burke.

        There’s a statue of Burke in D.C. somewhere.  I forgot.

      • 9

        Getting stuck in the doldrums is a scary thing that we may not realize is happening. There is a cartoon movie called the ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ which is based on a book, but I haven’t read it and don’t know if this particular example i’m going to talk about is in there as well. So in this movie, the main character goes through a place called the doldrums. In the doldrums are these creatures that are lazy, slothful, and just lull around all day. They wear off on the main character and he eventually starts to be sleepy and lazy like them. This part of the movie is very powerful as you see how the doldrums takes over him and consumes him. Eventually, from what I remember, his friend comes along and tries to convince him that he is stuck in the doldrums. The main character denies it and says everything is fine. It takes the friend to physically push his car out of the doldrums to save him and to help him realize that he was stuck in there.

        I bring this up, because it does take action and physically moving out of your situation at times to realize you were in the doldrums. As i’ve been working from home (due to covid), I wake up every day and just do my thing, but rarely leave the house. I don’t notice it in my every day life, but once I go to town for shopping and such, I finally realize what a toll it takes on you and that I was mentally blocked and stuck. I’m sure so many others are feeling the same way. 

        So get out. Go on a hike with your bug out bag, go shopping, just drive around. It will help.

        Taking time to sit and recognize that you are stuck in the doldrums, if you are stressed and panicking, or whatever mental thing you are going through is a great skill. During a disaster, being able to recognize what you are going through and comprehend and process it will greatly take down the stress and help you out. I’ve heard numerous 911 emergency calls where the person on the phone is frantic, panicking, and can’t articulate what is going on. 911 operators are very talented on calming people down so they can stop and say what is going on and receive advice on what to do. 

      • 6

        Hi Robert, Thank you for your insight and very sage advice for how to cope when one becomes lost in the “otherworldly” feel of a stressful situation.

        A crisis can be made worse by environment at the time of the event or the environment that is created after the event occurs.

        The coping method of getting away from the stress, through physical distance if possible or activity if unable to do so is how we can get through these sometimes long and difficult events or circumstances.

        I am building that partition wall in my kitchen to take my mind off things and shoo away the doldrums.

    • 7

      Thanks for your insight Ubique.

      After having been through a very unusual bout of stress-related insomnia, I’ve been left wondering how to deal with such a thing in a survival situation, where every bit of rest matters.

      I’ve always found myself unable to nap in the afternoon or sleep in vehicles and I wonder how other people deal with it.

      • 7

        Iron, First, I’m usually physically tired. As soon as parking, I go for walk near vehicle as per told to activate  the “blood clot concept” of getting circulation working. Back in truck I place a hood over part of head just to minimize light. Then tune in on portable radio a “white noise” program like Bloombeerg Business Report or some local area talk show, Will get 1 to 2 hours of sleep and then will evaluate situation for next move.

        Some say to eat some foods that cause drowseyness.  I’m just not into the food method.

      • 2

        I think we adapt in a crisis. Afternoon nap could be helped with sleep mask. Vehicle sleep is tricky to get comfortable. I usually recline van seats and scrunch down a bit to get neck comfortable.

      • 4

        Iron, How is the insomnia? I was a bit rushed with my response the other day and wanted to expand a bit on suggestions for you.

        I use surf sounds to help me sleep. Nature sounds like birds are nice, but I sleep best to surf sounds. I think it is the rhythmic part that helps one to relax.

        A warm blanket can help you relax. Check your pillow to ensure it is properly supporting your head/neck/spine. We should replace our pillows twice a year to ensure proper support (dust mites add weight).

        Many times, I read until I can sleep and if I awaken, I read again or get up and walk around. It is also recommended that any screen time be ended for 1-3 hours before sleep to give our brains a chance to relax.

        I have also used creative visualization if trying to sleep. Just imagine any happy, restful place you know or can create mentally – just make one up with all the components you would like to have. 

        See yourself lounging on a nice beach or taking a walk through a beautiful forest. See all the details and see yourself in it. Not only will you sleep, you will also have very happy and peaceful dreams. 

      • 6

        Oh man! I had no idea you should replace your pillow that often. I looked it up and a couple sites say how often you swap them out depends on the type of material your pillow is made of, but still it is way more frequently than I thought. 

        My pillow has been providing probably 7 years of service and my wife’s 13 years. We’ve always had them in bedbug and waterproof covers so they are in great shape, but are pretty flat and need replaced. We both are going to go out on a date this week to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy some new pillows!

      • 5

        Robert, Eeeewwww, I know – I didn’t know either! 

        Seriously, you do not want to know how old my pillow was. It was sooo comfortable and I loved it soo much. Nothing since has been as nice. I have to get another one, too.

        But then I watched an episode of Cityline (a Canadian morning show) and they Charles the Butler, a profession butler with all kind of tips about home stuff. He was the one who said change them twice a year unless you wash it regularly in which once a year.

        This probably isn’t a good time to mention it, but he also said, you should vacuum your mattress and box spring, too – for pretty much the same reason. Apparently, dust mites feed on our skin and it is impossible to get around that.

        I am going to have nightmares tonight, I swear. Ugh! Good luck with the pillow date at BBB.

      • 3

        The Bed Bath and Beyond date went well! We both got new pillows and wow did it make a difference!

        I’ve always slept on my side with my arm under my pillow, and thought that was what was comfortable to me and just how I slept. But after sleeping with this new pillow, I just naturally didn’t put my arm under to support my head and had it to my side. It was supportive and tall enough. 

        Thanks for the tip and advice, I slept so well last night and am excited for many more good nights sleeps.

      • 2

        Robert, All right! Incredible how new pillows can make such a difference, but they do.

        I am so glad the date went well and you found awesome pillows.

        I think I should put some back up pillows in my preps, just in case. LOL

      • 7

        Ubique, that insomnia was purely triggered by stress and anxiety. I was in a state of hypervigilance for hours, unable to even visualize something. It usually happens when I’m anticipating something the next day.

        I can see that happening easily in an emergency, especially if I’m not sleeping in my own bed.

      • 9

        Iron, I think I understand your concern better now. My husband and I both have c-ptsd. I have had problems sleeping for a long time.

        If I’m triggered, even after years of therapy, there is no way I can sleep, even with surf sounds. I get up and use some of the grounding exercises I was taught in therapy.

        Usually, I just accept that I can’t sleep and stay up until I can get back to bed. I do have an anti-anxiety med I can take, but I use that as last resort.

        If I am having a lot of anxiety, I try to do something that works both hands like pass a small ball back and forth, or crochet or anything that gets both hands engaged. It helps to fire both sides of the brain, which can break an anxiety attack.

        If you are out of your own bed in an emergency, as in sleeping in car or otherwise, and this happened, then the only thing I can see is sleep as you are able. In other words, cat naps or micro sleeps v.s. traditional normal sleep.

        I don’t have the research at the tip of my fingers right now, but I remember reading that there are some benefits for people who can “cat nap” – taking small naps through the day.

        It wouldn’t be helpful to take a sleep aid if one has to remain alert.

        You have raised a very good point, Iron. It is hard to sleep during a crisis or if out of one’s bed and environment.

        I wonder if anyone else who has been through such a situation can weigh in here?