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11 Things To Do When You Must Hunker Down in Place

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
11 Things To Do When You Must Hunker Down in Place

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Can you even begin to imagine combining boredom with stress?  If you have ever been in that situation, you will know what it is like to be antsy, grouchy, depressed, and useless all at the same time.  Who has not been there and done that?

As simple as it sounds, as part of your preparedness planning I would like to suggest you put together a list of things to do when you are required to hunker down in place to wait out a storm, wait for the power to come back on, or otherwise wait until it is safe to leave your home.

11 Things To Do When You Must Hunker Down in Place | Backdoor Survival

Let me start things out with some suggestions.  Note that some of these suggestions involve the use of power so they may not be applicable to all situations.  Still, they are good to keep in mind for those times you are sick or when you feel like you need a break from life.

How to Occupy Your Time When You Hunker Down At Home

1.  Read a physical book

When is the last time you picked up a physical book and read it?  There is something satisfying about reading a book that is not in the digital format.  For maximum relaxation, read something you can classify as a guilty pleasure, such as a thriller, western, or romance novel.  This is not the time for serious reading!

2.  Play a board game (or a card game)

My favorite  games are Ticket to Ride, Scrabble, Canasta, and Rummikube.  The later two are ancient; they are housed in scrappy boxes that have been moved around from house to house over the course of the last 40 years.

I also like Mexican Train which is  played with dominoes.  For fun, I even have a little toy train that blows its whistle.  Stupid, maybe, but fun.  You can find directions online here or search Google for lots of variation.

3. Put together a jigsaw puzzle

Talk about mindless distraction.  Caution: be careful when picking these up used at thrift stores or garage sales.  You don’t want missing pieces.

4. Have a family sing along

I happen to be married to a songbird who sings all of the time whether I like it or not.  That said, sing-alongs can be a hoot, especially if there are a lot of people.  Couple that with the next item and you will have a hunker-down blast.

5.  Dance

So what if you don’t have power?  Do the hokey-pokey or something else that you can sing.  We do Hava Negila but for us, it is a cultural thing. If you do have power (or a small generator), you can play dance music on your phone or laptop.  Try line dances even the goofy ones you dance at weddings such as YMCA or the Macarena.  Or, if you are so inclined, do some ballroom dancing.

6. Roast marshmallows or make smores

This is a lot easier to do if you have a wood-burning fireplace.  On the other hand, if it is safe to go outdoors, use your rocket stove or fire pit.  Keep in mind that portable propane stoves should not be used indoors.

7.  Bake “no-bake” cookies

These will usually require a source of heat for melting the butter and or chocolate but beyond that, no-bake cookies are easy-peasy of often used pantry stable items.

I grew up on these chow-mein noodle cookies although mine did not have nuts in them.

8.  Adult coloring

Drag out the coloring books or pre-printed coloring book pages and start coloring.  Most of you know that this is my personal, number one, stress reliever.  I am addicted and have gone way overboard on supplies: pencils, gel pens, coloring books, printable coloring pages, sharpeners, the works.

Note:  Virtually all eBook versions of coloring books include a link where you can download the pages and print them out yourself. 

Additional reading: Nine Reasons Why Adult Coloring is Important to Preppers

9.  Catch up on sleep

If you are sleep-deprived, take this opportunity to sleep in.  Go to bed early with a good book and sleep in late.  Think you don’t need much sleep?  Think again after reading Get Some Sleep! 7 Reasons the Well-Rested Prepper Will Prevail.

10.  Listen to an audiobook

This, too, will require some power or, at the very least, some charged up batteries or a battery pack.  The advantage of an audiobook over a physical book or digital book is that your entire family can enjoy the book together.

Hint:  Listen to an audiobook while coloring give you two boredom and stress-relieving tactics for the price of one.

11.  Binge watch a TV series

The last item on my list is binge watching an old TV series (try Hulu for the best shows), also you can consider a 30-Day Free Trial.

The Final Word

Speaking from experience, the one thing you are not going to want to do while temporarily hunkering down is make To-Do lists.  Worrying about everything you have yet to do will set you on a downward spiral of stress and will make matters worse.

Instead, kick back, go with the flow, and embrace the time off from chores.  Have some fun secure in the knowledge that when things get back to normal, you can once again tend to chores, work, and the never-ending list of things to do!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Below you will find the items related to today’s article.

EasyAcc Monster 20000mAh Power Bank:  This is a robust power bank that can be charged from your laptop, a wall charger, or a solar charger.  This one is beefy, with 4 USB ports that can be used at once.  It also appears to hold its charge for a long time.  I charged mine up then set it aside for a couple of months,  When I pulled it out of its box, it was still fully charged.  A nice unit if you are interested in this sort of thing.

Ticket to Ride:  When it comes to board games, this is my favorite.  (It helps that I usually win.)  This is fun for the entire family.  Warning, you and your gift recipient will become addicted and will often ask the question:  Want to play train aka “ticket to ride”?

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards:  This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out.  Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.

Mexican Train Game: This is a fun game that uses dominoes.  It can be quite social (as well as cut throat!) and is a lot of fun for friends to pay while drinking coffee or sipping wine.

Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation:  Those of you that follow Backdoor Survival on Facebook know that I have become a coloring maniac.  This book is my latest splurge and what a fantastic adult coloring book it is!  This is another one of my favorites:  Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) Yes, I am totally addicted.

Prismacolor Pencils:  I have two sets and paid close to for each.  In the past month, I have seen the price come down.  Perhaps demand has caused a drop in price?  If so, I say Bravo because usually the opposite happens.  I love these pencils because you can do so much with them shading and blending wise.

LolliZ Gel Pens 48 Gel Pen Tray Set:  I have branched out to coloring using gel pens which are great for use on Mandalas or for highlights.  The glitter pens are awesome.  So far, they are lasting quite a long time and there is no bleed through.

Roasting Sticks: These are great.  I am not such a purist than I don’t enjoy an occasional roasted marshmallow or hot dog.


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10 Responses to “11 Things To Do When You Must Hunker Down in Place”

  1. If you have power video games +which I normally do not endorse) can be a fun occupation. I just bought my son an old style Sega console (it’s a new “retro” unit) for Christmas that has like 50 different games on it ($39).

    Another boredom buster is making music–we have a piano & my son plays, my daughter & I are learning guitar.

  2. I’d add that it’s a perfect time to write, research through your physical library to create pointed notes and/or procedures over a variety of subjects but especially the situation you are currently in. If it can happen once (weather) it is highly likely to happen again.

    Another great distraction is learning knots, making nets and carving small ornaments for gifts or to put on your Christmas tree. My personal favorite is to keep a box of electrical parts and fix a pile of broken appliances my neighbors give me. If I can fix it they pay me for parts otherwise I can salvage what I want and recycle the rest.

  3. We collect the “old” board games from the garage sales, thrift stores (if they have all the pieces), you know the ones that DON’T require electricity. My grand children’s favorite game is one that’s called Fandooble . They get really excited when we pullout the “olden times” games as they call them to play with grandma & grandpa. We are also trying to remember the outdoor games we played as kids, like Red Rover, What time is it Mr. Fox?, Statues, Etc. These are outdoor games that require the kids to get moving around (exercise;))

  4. I remember vividly a newsclip on TV after Sandy hit where the woman interviewed was sobbing uncontrollably saying, “The TV was out for three days and we had nothing to dooooo!” I was stunned. Just stunned. She really couldn’t think of a thing to do?? I had a 1 and a 2 year old at the time and vowed right than and there to make a conscious effort to balance their screen time with activities that require only brain power.

    Reading books, board/card games, arts and crafts, sewing, and building things are all activities that we engage our kids in regularly. Anyone that has kids needs to expose their children to non-electronic fun now so that they don’t have shell shock like that woman on TV did when the power goes out long-term.

  5. One thing I found from being shuttered in while waiting for hurricane Mathew to hit was that, even after a cpl hours, we got a little stir crazy. So wait for as long as you can bfr you enclose yourself and others. That did surprise all of us. After hearing that it was not supposed to hit til abt midnight, we opened the back storm shutter and sat outside. It was windy but a welcome relief !!

  6. One way to have indoor s’mores if you don’t have a fireplace is with sterno. We do this at cub scout meetings. The boys go nuts for this. We put the sterno can in a clay flower pot and use bamboo skewers to spear the marshmallows. They put the toasted marshmallows between fudge striped cookies for a one step “s’more”.

  7. We went through Sandy here and a number of snow storms over the years that basically trapped us indoors for a few days. Board games are key. Luckily my kids love playing board games so it has become a staple in our family to have game night which translated well to when we are stuck indoors.

  8. Having been thru a serious hurricane, several tropical storms, a tornado and numerous power outages lasting more than a couple of hours I think your list is terrific.

    I’d like to add, that for anything lasting more than a day, routine can be very comforting. Of course, filling those time blocks where you would be working/gardening/TV or computer can be difficult but that’s where the alternative activities come in. Regular bed and wake up times & meal times are important.

    After a major hurricane here where I live destroyed half the schools, the school board cobbled together enough space to get kids back in school within 10 days – that played a major part in keeping everyone on solid ground and moving forward instead of wallowing in despair.

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