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.