Guest post by Jack C.
Ok, so the SHHTF (S#!t Has Hit the Fan). You are hunkered down with your preps about you. There’s no ‘zombies’ knocking down you door, but the first few days are nerve-wracking to be sure. You will be busy securing what you can, monitoring the situation and generally getting into a survival routine to match whatever is going on.
Generally, you will be too busy and with your adrenaline pumping and all the work to do it won’t seem that there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. But what happens when the initial action is over and now you are just biding time and waiting for things to get back to a more normal? What if it’s an extended period? How do you keep morale up, stave off depression, and keep hope alive?
First, hopefully you are prepared for whatever the event is. Being prepared and being able to provide even just the basics will go far in reducing worry and panic. Full bellies (even if it isn’t exactly what you wanted), sated thirst, and a warm, dry place to sleep will at least give you something to build on.
Here are some additional ideas to keep up the morale of your group.
Don’t hide just how bad things are. Even kids are smart enough after a while to know what is going on. Hiding it won’t help and might even hurt if they believe you’ve failed to make them aware, told them what to expect and what to do and not to do. No, you don’t have to go into gory details, but they have to understand what has happened so they can deal with what they have to do now – their new reality.
- Keep busy. That might be very easy at first, especially if you are talking about some natural event like an earthquake or hurricane. Just making needed patchwork repairs and clean-up, along with all the added chores needed to just get by, will keep you busy for some time, but after a while, even those chores may run out. There’s a reason the military has always had busy work to help people stay out of trouble. Remember your Grandmother saying idle hands are the devils workshop? It’s true.
Make up a schedule and keep with it. Day after day of doing nothing will wear you out physically, mentally and emotionally. Even if you are hunkered down, you can’t just lie around, eat, and sleep. You have to keep busy doing things. A schedule will bring order to what is a chaotic situation. It will also give purpose to the day, allow you to share the work better, and make everyone aware of just what is expected of them in support of the group.
- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and this is just as true for adults as it is for children. Make sure there is playtime for everyone. In your preps have some card and board games and have a game night or game time. Books are another thing that should be in your preps. Family favorites, classics. Some of my most cherished memories are reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to my children at night. Good stories always manage to transport us to other places for a bit, and reading about others overcoming adversity often manages to make our own troubles seem manageable. Family movie night is another idea, but if the power is out, a portable DVD player can still make it possible to gather around and watch a family favorite. Don’t forget the popcorn, which should be part of your preps.
- Music ‘hath charms to sooth the savage beast’, music is always welcome and a MP3 player and a small speaker set runs on minimal power and a good MP3 player can hold thousands and thousands of songs. If you watched the movie ‘The Book of Eli’ you will know what I mean.
- .Food, especially comfort food, will be welcome. Store away some hard candy in your preps for an occasional sweet treat. A dessert always goes a long way in brightening what might otherwise be another bland, dull, monotonous meal. So learn some easy and quick dessert recipes that can be made from your food storage.
- Rarely in the history of men has the human race been so conscious of their personal hygiene. If water is obtainable, make some available for personal use and baths (even a spit bath). This will go a long way in raising a person’s morale. Consider adding a solar camp shower to your preps. There are a number of various models available, and a hot shower washes away far more than just dirt. Toiletries are often mentioned in the blogs and journals of people who have lived through SHTF. So add to your preps soap, deodorant and toothpaste. All this will go a long way in making things tolerable, and they have a history of being good barter items as well.
Learning materials. For kids flash cards, math books, spelling and educational work books. Books that teach skills and materials to go with them like sewing, knitting and woodworking supplies. In an extended SHTF scenario home schooling can be beneficial to both ‘teachers’ and students.
- Learn to change and adapt. People handle change differently, some find it easier than others, but if it’s a major SHTF situation that you are dealing with, you have to expect that things just aren’t going to go straight back to the way they were, maybe ever. The sooner you accept the situation, the less you will fret over it. It may not be easy, but it will be essential that you quickly learn to deal with a ‘New Normal’ whatever that might be. Also, you need to be prepared for ups and downs during the ‘recovery’, stay on your guard, and be prepared to revert to full survival mode at any time. Keep prepping. Nothing will get you down quicker than a missed opportunity to replenish or acquire additional preps because things seem fine and then the roll coaster ride that life often is suddenly goes on a fast downhill run. One other adaptation that many Americans will have to deal with is that of multi-generational and even multi-family households. This is something that was the normal, but hasn’t been for years. Unlike the traditions of much of the world, Americans move out of their parents homes and establish their own. During SHFT the more people in your home or group, the better your chances are of survival. There was a reason families were big in the 19th century. Staying alive was a lot of work and the more hands there were, the more work that could be shared and done. A small family unit will struggle during most SHTF events and will simply NOT survive an extended collapse that lasts years. There is a reason the family unit was prized for thousands of years and though everyone has stories of family strife, in the end blood really is thicker than water.
- Last, but most importantly, remember the Sabbath. Keeping faith in the Lord will do more than everything previously mentioned. You may think you are not a preacher, and ask, “What do I know about leading a service?” The Bible instructs us that men are to be the spiritual heads of their household, and we lead by example. No one expects you to be Billy Graham, but every man should be able to handle a Bible reading and singing a few simple hymns. Pick the old ones, the ones that most know by heart, maybe even have a couple CD’s. Download or get from your church children’s Sunday school papers/handouts and use them. They are simple and easily taught and learned by all. I suggest you use especially those in which people of faith live through adversity, like the Exodus, the Stories of David, Joseph and Job , Daniel and the lion’s den, or the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Teach that believers have often been tested by trials, but that those who keep the faith have endured. . My church has a whole library of our pastor’s sermons available for free download.
That’s my list and though I am sure that many will have something to add or expound on one of those that I have listed. One of the most important things we must remember during SHTF is not to just live through it, but to live and thrive during it as well.
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