Guest post by Ranger Man who blogs at SHTF Blog.
Prepping is different from other pursuits in that it can easily lead to burnout. People that correctly identify the need to take reasonable preparations do so out of a recognition that modern society operates on a very fragile social structure, that there are serious economic or environmental concerns that could impact one’s quality of life, or a variety of other legitimate concerns.
People new to prepping are particularly vulnerable to prepper burnout. Before long, you find yourself focused solely on negative, doom-is-imminent news articles. The apocalypse begins to seem like it’s right around the corner. You start purchasing extra food and equipment and begin to think that’s prepping is too expensive, and you’re so far behind where you want to be that it may not even be worth prepping at all.
Prepping burnout happened to me, at one point leading to a year long break from my survival blog. I was beginning to see the world through an apocalyptic lens, seeing only the doom and gloom in the evening news, wondering what the future would hold for my children, and feeling frustrated that if the SHTF tomorrow, my family and I would be in trouble because we were far from ready.
Before long, things like tending the garden became less of an outdoor, leisurely activity that produces good tasting quality food to one that focused on high calorie crops and continual garden expansion to allow for more food production (and consequently more work). What started as a hobby quickly became a chore. Prepping as a pursuit became an unfulfilling burden.
Five tips to avoid Prepper Burnout
I learned a few things from that experience that I now offer as suggestions for any of you that may be on the verge of prepper burnout.
- Take a break. This may sound obvious, but if you’re in an anxiety induced prepping frenzy, it’s not obvious. Taking a break when doom is everywhere and your preps are close to nowhere doesn’t pass the logic test. But if taking a break until the doom clouds lift and you’re able to see more clearly, more positively, taking a break makes perfect sense. A break may mean the difference between committing to a long-term, slow, incremental preparedness track that you make progress on and crashing and burning because you went too fast with too much.
- There are two sides to any story. While there is plenty of bad news that could lead you to think all social order is on the verge of collapse, there are plenty of news articles that support just the opposite idea, that people are good at their core and when disaster strikes, people come together. Find a balance in the news you read.
Prepping – when done right – saves money. When people first begin prepping they may get overwhelmed at the list of preparedness items they feel they need. This can be overwhelming and zap one’s ambition. Focus initially on preps that help you save money. A case in point is food storage. Begin with building a pantry that stocks food you normally eat. Go “grocery shopping” in your pantry and leave the house to go food shopping. When you do this you are able to buy in bulk and restock when items go on sale – saving you money. Home food production (gardening, chickens, etc.) is a prepping goal that helps you save money. Debt reduction itself is a prepping goal. Less debt means less money squandered on interest payments.
- Prepping is empowering. There is nothing like the feeling of taking control over your own family’s safety and welfare, ensuring that their basic needs will be met even if catastrophe strikes. Rather than bring you down, prepping should bring you up. We can (and should) do our part to help bring awareness to circumstances and events that threaten our collective welfare, but the actions won’t have the fast and immediate effect as prepping for those events should they come to fruition.
- Prepping is freedom. As a nation and as individuals, we are dependent. We are dependent on others, whether on the large-scale commercial farmer hundreds of miles away, dependent on the truckers that move the food, or dependent on the grocery store to stock the shelves, we are dependent. We are dependent on Saudi Arabia’s oil that helps fill our cars with gasoline. We are dependent on the electrical grid. Even if you live off the grid, food and supplies that reach stores are dependent on it. You will never be completely free from these dependencies, but prepping brings you closer to independence and more self-reliance. This should make you happy, not depressed.
Do you find prepping depressing? Are you on the verge of burnout? What works for you to overcome those feelings?
Read more by Ranger Man at SHTF Blog.
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