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Now that we are at this point, as preppers, we need to think about the future and what we can do now.
There is plenty that is simply beyond our control and that is not a good feeling.
At the same time, I know that plenty of people reading this built up a bit of a cushion against uncertain times. That is why we prep. So when the inevitable events both man-made and natural, occur, we can at least blunt the blows a little or in some cases, not even lose much of our quality of life. Of course, this depends very much on the severity of the situation, resources, how much of your life you dedicate to preparedness, and other factors.
We are at a point where even those that have vast financial resources are not necessarily able to get exactly what they want at the exact time that they want. I have heard to millionaires that have driven around looking for dog food and they cannot find any.
COVID-19 has put many on more even ground with other human beings in some ways. No matter who you are, there is no guarantee that you will not get this virus and if you do there is no guarantee of how well you will recover.
A lot of people are at the point where they have some supplies. Is it enough? Who knows? No one really knows how long COVID-19 is going to have an impact but I think it is safe to say that it is going to be a lot longer than anyone would like.
So what can you focus on now to increase your preparedness or improve your situation and that of your family?
Now is the time to focus on skills.
This is or was a busy world. A lot of people were strapped for time before this between work, school, and other family responsibilities. Now many are being forced to stay at home as much as possible or work from home.
Even if you have to work your normal shift hours while at home, chances are you are still going to wind up with some extra time. If you have a 30-minute commute each way to work on a regular day, then you are probably going to have at least an hour of extra time to do what you want.
In fact, you may have far more time than that. If you are having to really dress up a lot or make other preparations each morning, that all takes away time. It is a lot easier to put on jeans and a t-shirt then make sure everything looks just so.
My point is that there is not as much excuse to not learn things. Now you may have the needed time to watch some videos or read up on a subject and expand your skills.
I know that many parents are also having to homeschool and that can take some time away from what time you salvage by working from home and not commuting. For those in this situation, it might be good to involve the kids in learning at least some of the things that you are interested in. In my experience, it never takes all day to complete homeschooling and kids are going to want to do something else.
Here is a shortlist of skills that come to mind:
- Knotwork and tying. All you need is some paracord or other rope and maybe a book or Youtube video.
- Firecraft. If you have a firepit or a backyard to play around in then this can be a fun skill to hone during quarantine. For bonus points, cook a meal on the fire after you get it going! You can make a tripod to hang a pot from or buy one for very little money.
- Camp put in the backyard with the kids and practice various skills. Bring everything you need out there and don’t go back in for a day or two except to use the bathroom.
- Foraging. Just be careful and make sure you know what you are collecting. A good book on local plants can help. Also, make sure to collect from places where there are no obvious sources of pollution.
Go through the preps you have and what you have acquired and get a more realistic picture so you can replenish over time as money and items are available.
How long can you really hold out at home? What do you need to order and acquire overtime to increase that time period? It is a lot harder to get what you need if you try to do it all at once and with limits in place, if you are using grocery stores, it could take a lot of trips and that means more potential exposure to COVID-19.
When the COVID-19 virus first started appearing in China, it was a wake-up call for many to start evaluating what they actually have. Over years of prepping it can be hard to keep track of exactly what you have and what is no longer usable. I used to be able to eat some things that I cannot now. The same goes for my father so that was something we had to consider when truly evaluating what we have.
Sure there are gaps in the supply chain and longer shipping times but that can be worked around if you have even a few weeks of supplies on hand now. Put in orders in advance for items. I have heard of plenty of shipping delays but eventually, it seems for almost all items, they show up. Actual cancellations of orders have been less common than you might think.
Try to get over brand loyalties that you may have developed as a prepper.
Sometimes the view of shortages is a bit skewed. There are some people that truly feel that they have to have a certain brand. Americans can be very brand loyal. Well, this pandemic is a time where a lot of us are going to have to learn to try another brand.
Sorry but unless you need a very specific item due to health needs, I don’t have a lot of sympathy if you are upset that you cannot find your brand when there is another available. Hey, I buy Scott 1000 sheet toilet paper but I would not be on Facebook complaining about shortages if I had to buy something else in an emergency or telling people that my local store is awful.
You may be surprised to find that you actually like some other brands of products. Sometimes a crisis forces people to try new things and they find out that they like it that way.
Start sourcing alternative brands to those that you favor.
Take notes on what has been the easiest and the hardest for you and your family.
COVID-19 is not going to be the last major emergency for most of us and it might go on for years. Spanish Flu took 3 years to burn its way out and we still lose a lot of people to flu each and every year.
There are also many other more minor events that you need to be prepared for.
A crisis like COVID-19 is something that will quickly show you the gaps in your preps and how well each person handles the situation from a mental health perspective.
Besides the major stuff, consider what you might do for entertainment and comfort during a future emergency. Think about what you have learned and how to do even better next time.
Take note of who are actual friends or good people and who has shown the ugliness of their morals and character.
I have definitely eliminated some individuals from contact with me online over the current situation. People are speaking out more and in some cases, saying things that are more awful than ever. Even at this early stage in the United States, before the majority have seen any major hardship beyond some extra mental stress or lack of socialization, some are exposing themselves for who they really are.
I advise people to take note of this and make good choices about future interactions with some people and also take stock of how they are expressing themselves as well. It can be easy to say things that maybe you don’t really mean deep down but this is a serious time and if you lash out and say something, it is going to be very hard or impossible to redeem yourself from those words.
Take this time to get in better physical condition.
Hey, a desk job can make it hard to stay in shape. The US ranks pretty far up there in terms of obesity. While some may live in apartments or houses where working out may have its limitations, there are a ton of different exercises that you can do in a small space. A set of hand weights in varying sizes is less than $50 and can do a lot to build up your strength and overall fitness. Being in better shape means being more prepared and it boosts your immunity and resilience.
Many places are allowing people to go outside to exercise as long as they practice good social distancing protocols. It is up to you if it is worth the risk to exercise in an area that is frequented on any level by the public.
I do have to say that having someone to exercise with can increase the chances that you will stick to your routine. I have found it much easier to get some extra exercise if I get Matt to lift weights with me. You can also just pick out a show you like and dedicate an episode to working out each day. All these things can help.
Take some time for projects that you have been putting off around your home due to lack of time.
There are only so many hours in a day and that means that important maintenance and projects often get put on the back burner. Are there improvements that need to happen around your house that you have the supplies for but have been putting off? If you don’t have the supplies is it possible to order them?
Remember that COVID-19 has led to many companies not working. It could be harder to get repairs done to your home or business. One also needs to consider that sometimes putting off a repair can lead to much greater costs or hardship down the road.
Check for online work that can supplement your income if you have the time.
Considering the situation, it may be difficult to find online work due to competitiveness but that doesn’t mean it is not worth a try. Some of my best writing jobs I found on the ProBlogger Job Board. In fact, that is how I started writing for Backdoor Survival. You may find an amazing opportunity if you take a little time to look around and apply. There are a lot of different writing jobs out there for example but you have to be ready to start out at a low rate and work your way up.
If you have skills and knowledge that are in demand you might consider charging for consultation services. There are many people that find this very lucrative. Charging a fee for online classes is another way to make some extra money.
A lot of people are ordering things online too so if you have the materials and skills to produce anything useful, you can still sell on eBay or Etsy. The post office and other shippers will pick up shipments from your house for little or nothing. Considering the circumstances you may want to be clear to customers that you ship once or twice a week. This cuts down on pickups at your house and makes it easier for the shipping companies in some cases.
Learn how to cook more things with what you have.
A lot of people don’t cook that much or at all in their daily lives. It takes time and people spend a lot of time away from their actual homes. Cooking can be very enjoyable if you give it a chance. Take some time to learn different dishes and give yourself enough time to do a recipe right. A lot of the mess-ups I have had in the kitchen are simply due to me trying to do too many things at once or trying to take short cuts and skipping steps that might not seem important but that really are. Now is your chance to try out something new and gain some cooking skills.
If you are already somewhat skilled, how about teaching the kids how to cook? I had to teach myself and learn from others when I was older. Being allowed to learn these skills younger can lead to better and healthier living for young people and it may encourage them to help out more around the home. Knowing how to cook is a survival skill that a lot of young people are not taught.
I am very thankful that my husband learned how to cook when young. He has taught me some skills over the years and it is nice for someone else to take on the cooking sometimes or if I am not feeling well or having a bad day.
Consider your defense strategy.
Even if there is plenty of food and resources, people that are not going to work and bored might just want to cause some trouble. Some people have no ambition to find productive things to do that don’t bother other people. They will have more time to party and cause trouble.
There are plenty of things you can do to make your place more secure. Here are a few that are inexpensive and can help out a lot during any event where defense is a worthy consideration.
- Window film can be applied to ground-level windows to prevent them from breaking as quickly. It can protect against some impacts that might otherwise cause damage. If someone gets mad and throws a rock, instead of a busted or cracked window you might get away with a scratch or some damaged film that can be replaced. This can also buy some valuable time to react in case your home is actually being burgled or invaded.
- Alarms on windows or doors that can be set at night or when you are at home and need extra security.
- Sound alarms attached to trip wires around perimeters of your property.
- Guns out of reach of children but within reach of adults at night.
- Wireless cameras that send video to your phone and alerts you. Even low-cost cameras actually allow you to yell at anyone that comes into range of it.
- Reinforce your doors and add extra layers of locks. I wrote an article that addresses how to do this in detail. Here is the link.
Think about what you can do to produce more at home.
Now is the time to think about what you can grow inside and outside. There are a lot of things you can grow in container gardens. Sprouting is easy to get started on.
As far as I know, you can still order baby chicks in the mail but that does mean that you will have to go into town and pick them up at the post office. Many post offices will let you come really early. They have let me come before they were open to any other people.
This reduces any contact. There may be other measures to reduce interactions such as calling when you are outside the post office and have then come out and set your package of chickens out so you can pick it up after they go back inside.
That may sound extreme but we are dealing with extreme times. I know that my post office has a loading dock in the back and if I called and said that I was outside and had chicks, they would just come out and I could grab them and go without any interaction.
What are you focusing on if you have more time at home to fill-in? What lessons have you learned so far?