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Morale can be hard to keep up during hard times, but it is very important to maintain. Morale can have a major influence on your overall chances of survival during any emergency. When it gets tough is when you need to keep your chin up the most. Here are some tips for keeping up morale during those hardest of hard times when you think you cannot go on any longer and some suggestions on activities and entertainment during emergencies and those tough moments.
Entertainment options and some morale boosters are more applicable in some situations than others but I think you will find something in this post that will help regardless of the circumstances!
Stay strong for those around you
Even if you have lost hope yourself, try to remember how this attitude will affect those around you. If you are a parent or grandparent, then you need to stay strong for the younger people. If children see who they look to for guidance failing, then they are not as likely to keep a good attitude. You have to be the rock sometimes. You are staying strong for them.
Think back to the good times and try to keep things in perspective. Life is full of ups and downs.
While some may think back to older times and that may seem like rubbing salt in old wounds remembering better times, but for a lot of people, this can be a well of hope. Things can be good again. There have always been hard times, and they usually come and go. Our ancestors had a lot of big burdens to deal with, and they got through it with far less than what the average person has today. It was hard, but here you and I are today to show that whatever they did, it worked to get us where we are today.
Find something that is joyful
During tough times it is important to have an outlet that makes us feel better. For some, it may be just reading a book for an hour in the evening or spending time just staring in the great outdoors. The important thing is to do something that makes you smile even during very dire times. Even a brief respite from the dreariness can mean a lot.
Avoid reminders of the dark stuff
While I know denial can cause its issues; you also don’t want to be reminded of bad things constantly. If you can avoid some situations that remind you of past trauma than it is advisable to do so. As someone that has lived with someone with severe PTSD, I know this can be hard to do, but a little awareness can help. If you would like to learn more about PTSD and how to prevent and cope with it, please take a look at my post “Preventing and Treating PTSD: Advice for Life and SHTF Situations”.
Consider What You Can Do To Change Your Situation
Sometimes things can seem hopeless, but maybe there is something small you can do to get going in the right direction. If you have been putting off starting a stash of different preps for example then set aside $20 and do it! Even a $3 pack of 2 Bic Lighters is a start to being more prepared. All too often it is during a crisis that we see how unprepared we are for some situations.
Starting the process of improving your circumstances is not always easy but getting started is a big accomplishment that you should feel good about!
Appreciate what you do have on hand and the people you have in your life. People can lean on one another and stay strong.
If you have prepped at least some, then chances are you are going to be far better off than the vast majority during any emergency or survival situation. Perhaps you can help out some others during a crisis too.
Setting around and dwelling on things can make a situation worse. It is important to keep busy and entertained during hard times. I find that there always seems to be something to do so I bet you can find something to do too. During hard times there is often even more to do because basic tasks take longer because you simply don’t have everything you need right on hand.
Get outside and work on a project or take a hike
Feeling like you are accomplishing something can really help your mindset while exercising and the great outdoors can help increase your energy and sense of well being. If I get a feeling of melancholy that is hanging I always feel better after moving around a bit.
Outdoor projects and activities are also a good way to spend time with younger members of the family and keep their minds on something positive.
Entertainment Options For Keeping Up Morale
It is all too easy to concentrate on the basic preparedness tasks and look over what to do about entertainment. While I know survival is the most important task, after survival, you are going to have times when you need to have some entertainment. Kids and teens are going to get especially bored during an emergency when there is no alternative form of entertainment for them.
Electronic and Paper Books
E-readers have some major advantages over tablets because their battery life is much greater. I think a regular Kindle offers eight weeks of reading at 30 minutes per day whereas a tablet has a battery life of 8 hours if you are lucky and have a top of the line model. I have never got that great of battery life out of them. An e-reader with no external storage can hold 1,000 books, so you have a whole library at your fingertips.
Paper books are nice but let’s face it they offer a limited selection and take up a lot more space in your home. A small shelf of books can be helpful and provides some entertainment.
If you are looking for good reference books for a prepper library, my post Building A Prepper Library for SHTF has a few suggestions as well as tips for finding books at a reasonable cost.
If you enjoy Backdoor Survival, then consider adding the Backdoor Survival Lifeline archive to your ebook library. You can have the complete archive at your fingertips and you can even print articles so you have a paper copy.
Cards and Board Games
I have no idea how popular board games still are. I know that their popularity has severely suffered since everyone got a smartphone/mini computer in their hand. During power outages and other events, a deck or two of cards or some board games can help combat boredom and give everyone something to do together.
Just make sure to have games that appeal to different age groups. You can have games that are just for the young kids too but make sure to have something for the teens and adults as well. Ideally, a few games will be entertaining for all ages.
Get your family’s input on what games they would like to have put back so that there is a higher level of satisfaction when an emergency comes up. Oh and use caution buying games used at thrift stores. Maybe they have got better about it but it always seems like there are parts missing when I have tried to by one used. Some simple games you may be able to count and check the pieces before purchase.
Sewing is entertaining but also practical. There are all different types of sewing projects out there. Quilting and making clothes are two of the more useful sewing projects. I have made a lot of blankets during times when working outside was not possible. Clothing that actually fits and is made well is possible at home, and you will have something that no one else is wearing which is kind of fancy in a way!
Knitting and Crocheting
Needle crafts are something you can do with your hands even when you are just sitting around and watching television. The sky is the limit regarding projects. Hats and other small items are some of the more popular things that you can make for yourself or those around you. A small bag of crochet or knitting supplies is highly portable. More and more often you see people pulling out their projects whenever they have a few moments. What you can accomplish in those small moments really adds up.
Even those that are young or inexperienced with needle projects can learn to crochet or knit. Plenty of kids catch on fast. I recommend starting out with some yarn that is inexpensive if you have never knitted or crocheted. The cost of yarn can vary a lot depending on what it is made of, origin, and more. My husband and I had the wool from our Shetland sheep spun but I am not going to use any yarn until I practice using some that are not near as nice.
Writing and Story Telling
These are classic boredom fighters for long-term scenarios. Writing has always been a go-to for me, but you can also have a great time just telling stories around a fire late at night. I just recommend writing down any good ones because if I don’t write a story down, I can never remember it the same way that second time around!
I advise stocking up on notebooks. The spiral-bound style will do.
A 144 count box of Bic pens is excellent barter material on top of being taught and long-lasting.
Since everyone is so reliant on electronic devices, I feel that I should stress the importance of battery banks and chargers. Ideally, you will have a charger that is hand-cranked or solar powered. This is one reason to argue for the emergency radios that have a charger and a battery bank. You can listen to music while you charge up your device.
The post “Best Emergency Radios For Prepping & Survival” has some options that have battery banks.
Not all battery banks are the same though so be careful and be clear on what you can expect to get out of what you are buying. With some phones, if you let the charge get down too far, it can be hard to reach a threshold with a charger that does much good.
Write a journal
Keeping track of your thoughts and how you deal with a situation might be important. Others may be able to learn from your experience later on, and you may want to look back on it one day during better times. This gives you a place to store thoughts and let loose emotions which is something that is going to be needed during a major survival situation that goes on for any considerable length of time.
I recommend stashing back some music and methods for playing them, It is so inexpensive to do this, and I think it is important to have music for any significant situation because it helps soothe. You also don’t know how long you might have to go without the convenience of modern music streaming. Choose songs that are uplifting to you or just put a massive library of songs drives or MP3 Players.
A Note On Vices
I think that when used appropriately that a few vices are sometimes useful for morale. The occasional drink, cigar, etc., may help some types be more productive. Of course, this can be taken too far and lead to turmoil if someone slips into a dark place or something particularly traumatic happens.
People have a lot of different vices. Something as simple as eating something sweet each day could definitely be considered a vice. It is all about balance and limits which is not always easy to achieve during stressful times.
If you are in a group or family unit then you may need to be supportive of each other when it comes to dealing with stress and vices. Self-control is harder for some than others so having someone to let you know you are taking things too far is a good thing.
Have you been in a situation where morale was hard to keep up? What are some of the strategies that got you through? It is amazing to me how some have kept their morale high during extreme situations that most of us never have to face. What challenges have you faced helping get children through times where everyone is feeling low?
Samantha Biggers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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2 Responses to “Keeping Up Morale & Finding Entertainment During Hard Times”
Re: music – you didn’t mention singing. Studies show that singing together releases significant amounts of oxytocin, the bonding hormone. As a kid we spent hours of fun singing in music class, assemblies, etc. With a group of people you can get a whole pitch range from bass to treble. Everyone in the US from illiterates to the 1% used to be fluent and proficient in multi part harmony. Music should be something we DO, not something we consume as a product.
Dance is also great fun. I remember as kids we used to love doing the Virginia Reel in music class.
You don’t even need formal instruments to make music. The Spanish gypsies who invented flamenco, originally used nothing but the voice for lead line and harmony, and multi-rhythms of clapping, footwork, sometimes spoons on tables, etc. If you have some glasses or glass jars that didn’t get broken, filling them with different levels of liquid and tapping them with a teaspoon can make a beautiful song, harmonies, etc. 2 people can do this together to get harmonies going, etc. Studies show music builds the brain and also from the study about the oxytocin with singing, social bonding.
If you look back at the movies during the depression of the 30’s you will see most of the popular movies were comedies and musicals that allowed people to forget about their troubles for a bit of time.