By Gaye Levy
Every afternoon as I sit down with an extra large cup of espresso, I ponder something to write about next on Backdoor Survival. It is difficult, but not for the reason you might think. The difficult part is coming up with something new and fresh that has not been written here before.
I say that because in that last three years, I have written over 570 articles. A lot the articles have been about prepping and self sufficiency but a large number have also been about more touchy-feely topics as I talk about life and getting by during hard – and soon-to-be harder – times.
Today is one of those days as I muse about coping skills as they relate to the fear that can well up as we go about hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. I don’t know about you, but as hard as I try to stay above it all, there are days when the burden of truth and knowledge is all too much and a teeny tiny bit of fear sets it.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Fear is something that every human and most animals will experience at some time or another. It is that feeling of anxiety we get when the outcome of something threatens our well-being and safety.
There is a reason that the cliché “Be Prepared, Not Scared” is so popular. Fear, or being scared, is a natural response to an unknown predator, real or imagined, tangible or not. The good news is that fear can promote survival and thus with our prepping, we move beyond fear to survival. And isn’t that the goal, after all?
In today’s 21st century world, there is a lot of fear. It comes in many guises and is almost palpable:
Without question, these are uncertain times and sadly enough, not much has changed in this regard during the past three or four years. If anything, they have gotten worse as more and more of the power elite anoint themselves with benefits as the rest of us worry about making ends meet and securing the barest amount healthcare at a grossly inflated cost.
So how does one cope? How does one get by from one day to the next when challenged by uncertainties and concern for the personal welfare of one’s self and one’s family?
I have some ideas about that and wish to offer my own 10 tips for staying sane in a world where there are more questions than answers.
1. Knowledge is king
If something scares you, do your research and learn as much as you can so that you can understand the whys and wherefores. Be curious and embrace your new found knowledge. Here is an example: I used to have a fear of flying in airplanes. In order to conquer that fear, I studied the aerodynamics of planes so that, in simple terms, I realized that even in turbulent conditions, the aircraft could fly.
2. Appreciate the moment
Many fears are based on things that you have no control over. That is not likely to change unless you are connected in some way to a supreme being. So, instead of fretting about things you can not control, appreciate and embrace those things you can. Appreciate the moment and your ability to exercise free will. And whatever you do, don’t look back and browbeat yourself over the past. What is done is done. Move on and live in the moment.
3. Live with a passion
Even those on a limited budget can find something they love to do whether it is gardening, reading, hiking, watching movies or something else. Whatever your passion, pursue it with gusto and embrace your passion whenever fear strikes you to the bone. Hobbies can be a wonderful panacea for setting fear aside and taking your mind off the woes of the world.
4. Communicate with nature
These are tough times for our planet and yet there is still a wondrous beauty in every sunset, in every lake and stream, and in glorious, snow-capped mountains. Get out there and enjoy the birds singing, the rippling waves, and the smell of fresh air. You will feel a lot better for the experience.
5. Surround yourself with love
Coping with day to day drama is a lot easier if you have someone share your concerns and fears. Everyone needs to be hugged and to give a hug in return. Do not discount the miracle of a light touch when it comes to reducing stress.
6. Get a pet
The great thing about pets, and especially dogs and cats, is that they love you unconditionally. They sense your frustration and your fear and will cuddle up to you at just the right moment. They will lick the tears from your face when you are sad and will and provide you with companionship when there is no one around.
7. Count your blessings
When times are bad and you think they are going to get worse, count your blessings. Yes, at the time you may think those blessings are few, but if you can come up with five or six – or heck – even one – wrap yourself in it and make that blessing your focus. Take your blessings and use them as a springboard for optimism going forward.
8. Exercise and maintain good health
A strong and healthy body goes a long way toward making you feel positive about life, even in the face of dissension and chaos. One of the best ways to maintain good health is to exercise and maintain the proper weight for your height and build. Get yourself a pair of athletic shoes or hiking boots and get walking. Overweight? Try the Paleo Diet,Dukan Diet, The 4-Hour Body or one of the many other weight loss regimes out there. Your self-image will improve as you get fit and a great self-image will make facing uncertainties a lot easier.
9. Enjoy the journey
The uncertainties we face in the 21st century are truly frightening and in many respects we as individuals feel impotent and powerless to affect change. Instead of succumbing to fear, turn the frightening event or circumstance into an adventure. Become educated (see #1) then figure out a way to do something – anything – to proactively overcome your anxiety. Taking even a modicum of control will alleviate fear. And for heavens sake, as you take control, enjoy the journey!
10. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
You knew this was coming, right?
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Hope is the belief that circumstances in the future will be better. Recognize that there will be times when hope may seem impossible. When that happens, consciously work on your personal mindset for without hope, there will be no future. Even the gloom and doom in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road ended in a message of hope.
The corollary is to be prepared. Prepare your home and prepared your family. Assume that you will stay put – or Bug In – if the worst happens. That said, you still need to have a Bug-Out-Bag ready for each member of your family just in case you have to evacuate and leave the familiar surroundings of your home.
Store some extra food and water. Gather all of your important documents and make copies or put them on a flash drive for safekeeping. Have an emergency radio and some basic supplies such as a good knife, flashlights, fire starter and extra clothing. For many, it will also be important to have a Bible.
By being prepared, you take control over an uncertain future. You will be as ready as humanly possible and if the stuff hits the fan, you will be secure in the knowledge that you have done the very best that you can to survive.