Once you have been blogging for awhile, you begin to realize that bad news – and by bad news I mean the unthinkable – sells. Funny how that works but following a natural disaster or major world event, site visits go up – way up. When my friend George at Urban Survival first told me this I was incredulous.
But sure enough, it is true. On the other hand, there is no reason why we should not prepare for the unthinkable even during those times when things are status quo. (And did you notice I did not say normal although the new normal is the status quo – as tough as it may be to stomach.)
Today I would like to share a list of tips for preparing for unthinkable hard times. It is a quick and dirty list – things that come to mind here and now in the present moment. I am sure there are others.
7 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR HARD TIMES
1. Practice using less electricity – a lot less electricity
I just finished the audio book version of One Second After. An EMP, coupled the the potential of a cyber attack, tell me that it is only prudent to get by with less reliance on the electrical grid.
For many, the problem of limited or non-existent electrical power can be mitigated by generators or solar power. Generators are great as long as you have fuel and solar power will work if you have the money to set up a solar system plus, of course, an abundance of sun.
To me, the optimal solution is to try to get by with less electrical power. That means less reliance on my two freezers full of food and more reliance on bulk foods and freeze-dried meals. It also means lots of batteries and some wind-up devices. Remember that natural disasters can lead to long power outages.
If you live in an area that has inclement weather such as high rainfall, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic activity, tsunamis, etc, then you should take steps towards having some back up power while learning to live with less. You are not going to be able to produce the level you are used to without investing a lot of time and money into achieving that goal. A small power center or a few small battery banks can be helpful for keeping some small devices going during hard times.
Plan on Having Lots of Spare Batteries in all Sizes
2. Maintain a survival library and a survival notebook
The time may come when your online resources may no longer be available. Perhaps, as mentioned above, the grid may be down. Or perhaps the internet will be censored with survival and preparedness sites blocked. It could happen, you know.
Accumulate some preparedness books in print form and maintain your own survival notebook in a three ring binder. Don’t overlook free resources that may be available from your local county or state emergency management department.
Getting a few books on food and water storage is a good place to start.
Even FEMA has some good stuff in printed form (see Free for You: The “Are You Ready Guide to Preparedness”.
3. Make learning a habit
Set aside a brief period each week to either learn a new skill or practice becoming more proficient at a skill you already possess. Better yet, take some time – even a few minutes – each day to find a new trick or tip to add to your survival notebook. If you have like minded friends, you may want to learn some topics together. Having a buddy can help encourage you to take the time to learn.
Amazon frequently offers free e-books on a variety of topics. These books are typically only available for one to five days and are a great way to learn something new. Sure, they may not be available if the power is out but if the goal is to learn from them, take notes and put what you learn into action now rather than later.
One of the most important things you can do now to prepare for a crisis or disaster is to always be learning. Side note: On most days I post a link of two to relevant free e-book over on my Facebook page.
Try vertical gardening – you do not need a lot of space for herbs & greens
4. Grow food
Growing your own food can be so rewarding that I just can not fathom even the smallest apartment dweller not growing at least a pot full of herbs on their window sill.
There is something magical about popping a few seeds in a pot and watching them sprout and grow into something that is actually edible. Beyond the window sill garden, there is the container garden, bucket garden, square foot garden, vertical garden, raised bed garden and the mini-farm. All of these can help insulate you and your family from famine. While you may not be able to grow all your food, anything you can do will help.
No matter how difficult it may seem, check out some videos on YouTube or books from your local library and start growing some food this spring.
5. Acknowledge that there will be fear and panic
Those of you that have experienced a disaster, poor health, job loss, or civil disobedience and war will understand that fear and panic are inevitable. Realize that in the case of a disaster, there is not a darn thing you can do other than recover.
Plan for the worst and hope for the best. A cliché, I know. But that is the truth. Other woes such as poor health, loss of a job or a financial meltdown are a bit more difficult to deal with. Questions such as how will you cope and how will you live will cross your mind as you stay up nights wondering what you could have done to mitigate the situation in the first place.
Acknowledge now that there will be fear and panic and realize this is WHY you prep. Fear and panic are natural human emotions during times of stress. How you handle them can make all the difference during trying times. Prepping is the insurance policy that will help see you through hard times.
6. Embrace companionship and love
Not to get dopey, but life is more robust when you have someone to hug. I like to say “hug the ones you love, and love the ones you hug.”
I would also like to suggest that you share a modest portion of your bounty with your less fortunate or elderly neighbors. Life is precious and at the end of our time, it won’t be the fancy cars, the elaborate home, or the diamond rings that count. It is will the feeling of peace knowing that you have lived well with love in your soul and compassion in your heart.
7. Maintain your faith
If you are a religious person, find comfort in your faith. And if not, embrace your inner strength and have faith in yourself and in the miracle of your life. We are all believers in some way. Hold this faith near to your heart – when hard times come, it may be all that you have left and it may offer you the resilence you need to stay positive and survive.
THE FINAL WORD
Coping skills when the SHTF will be easier said than done. Being realistic, it is difficult to predict what will happen and how we will react as individuals if and when we are faced with extremely hard times. For whatever reason – a disaster or personal crisis – we will each have to deal with situations that are foreign and unpleasant. Having the food, water, gear and the other tools of the prepping trade will help, but I can’t help but think that there are many other things that can be done now to prepare for the worst.
I encourage you to embrace the less tangible aspects of preparedness and consider events of the day a wake-up call advising you to get on with life in the best and most human way possible.
Bargain Bin: Here is a convenient list of some the books that I personally own and recommended in every Survival Library.
Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.
How to Live on Wheat: Everything you need to know about wheat and grains including how to store them and how to cook them.
Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: An instructional guide and planning tool that addresses the defensive preparation of a location. If the government can no longer protect your home, farm or property, Holding Your Ground will teach you how.
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster: Written by Bernie Carr at the Apartment Prepper blog, this is highly readable guide to all things preparedness.
2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC: This is free so you have no excuses. Be sure to download and print out a copy.
How to Grow More Vegetables: Decades before the terms “eco-friendly” and “sustainable growing” entered the vernacular, How to Grow More Vegetables demonstrated that small-scale, high-yield, all-organic gardening methods could yield bountiful crops over multiple growing cycles using minimal resources in a suburban environment. This is the bible.
All New Square Foot Gardening: This book will prove that you can grow a significant bounty in limited space. Just add seeds.
Desk Ref: This handbook includes 1280 pages of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions and will serve you will in an off-grid situation.