A healthy mental state is a vital component to surviving when SHTF, which is why it’s important for preppers to learn how to manage and reduce stress.
Most people admit to feeling stressed due to their jobs and family life, and you can only imagine how much worse that will get during a crisis situation that drags on for months or even years.
Now, dealing with stress isn’t about denying reality and trying to live your life in a “safe space.”
But it’s a fact that living through a survival scenario will put a severe psychological strain on you and your family.
And that’s something you need to prepare for just like every other difficulty you’ll face when SHTF.
Simple Tips to Reduce Stress During a Crisis
The Physical Effects of Stress on the Body
It’s understandable that you’d be stressed out during a crisis – no matter how prepared you are beforehand.
And while there’s merit to the idea of simply “soldiering on” during hard times, it’s important to truly understand the mental and physical effects stress has on humans.
Stress and the Brain
When you’re stressed, your brain triggers its response system which includes the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Overexposure to these hormones can produce numerous health problems such as:
- Sleep issues
- Lack of focus
Stress and the Heart
Stress causes your heart to speed up and can result in higher blood pressure. Stress can even lead to takotsubo cardiomyopathy aka “broken-heart syndrome.”
You see, a typical heart attack is caused by clots in your arteries that block the flow of blood in your body.
However, there are cases of people who exhibit heart attack symptoms even though they don’t have blocked blood vessels. Doctors noticed that one thing these patients had in common was an onset of sudden emotional stress.
Stress and Your Muscles
People tend to “carry” their stress in different areas like their back or neck.
This puts tension on these muscles that also leads to physical pain and an inability to relax.
Survival in a crisis will be physically demanding in and of itself. Stress puts an additional strain on your muscles that makes them much more prone to injury.
Simply put, survival requires both a sound mind and a sound body. Being under a constant state of stress drains you mentally and weakens you physically.
Now that you understand what makes stress so insidious, here are a few tips on how to reduce stress.
A Few Objects to Help Reduce Stress
When it comes to a crisis situation, securing food, water, and shelter are your obvious priorities. But a prolonged crisis will require a few physical items that can provide comfort and help lower stress.
Religious Items: For many, a copy of the Bible or another religious text can prove to be extremely comforting during a crisis.
A Good Book: In addition to the Bible, consider keeping a favorite book in your survival kit. Pick something you know you can read over and over again without getting bored.
Sentimental Keepsakes: Surviving a crisis may require adapting to a completely new way of life, but it is important to try and hold on to precious heirlooms and family keepsakes.
Music Player: Your phone may not be useful if the grid goes down, but having some of your favorite music around can help keep your spirits up. Just make sure you have a reliable method to keep your music player charged.
And if your bug out plans involve children, consider making some room in your survival gear for a couple of toys.
Obviously, playthings shouldn’t replace any vital equipment or gear, but it’s likely that a toy or two could prove invaluable during a crisis.
Children don’t process things the same way adults do, which can lead to trouble if you’re ever in a situation where everyone needs to be on the same page to survive.
For example, a bored child might wander away from your camp or decide to improvise their own toys using your expensive survival gear.
Having a teddy bear or action figure around will give them something to do which could free you up from having to babysit 24/7.
Daily Habits That Improve Morale
Having creature comforts like the items above can do a lot to reduce stress and boost morale within your group after SHTF.
There are also a few daily habits you can participate in to help improve morale.
Daily exercise can reduce stress, lower anxiety, and fight depression in addition to keeping your body fit.
Stress floods your body with hormones that can cause depression, but exercises releases endorphins that have an anti-depressant effect.
And it doesn’t matter if your bugging in or bugging out. You can still get a good workout without equipment and in limited space.
Build a Routine
It’s likely that you have a morning routine that helps you get ready every day.
And when something disrupts this routine, it can throw your whole day out of whack.
In a survival situation, you won’t be able to rely on your regular routine, but you can develop a new one to help you focus and reduce stress.
Have Some Guilt-Free Fun
We have a wide variety of gadgets, gizmos, and gossip to help distract us from our day-to-day lives, but this won’t be true during a crisis.
Again, I’m not encouraging people to hide from reality once SHTF.
But if you want to reduce stress, you need to give yourself a break.
Look at NASCAR racers. They put their vehicles through a lot during a race, BUT they make sure to take the occasional pit stop.
Sure, it takes time, but ultimately it improves their ability to perform.
When it comes to survival, you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Stress hurts you both physically and mentally, so it’s important to do what you can to reduce stress when possible.