Lately there has been a lot of bad news from all over the world: large scale natural disasters, economic turmoil, terrorism fears, rioting in the cities, you name it, lots of worrisome things are going on. If you have started preparing, but fear you have not done enough, your are not alone.
Here are my suggestions to help you along:
1. If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan. Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW. Get your partner involved in preparedness; if they are unsupported, here are some ideas.
2. Refrain from discussing these fears in front of the children-they do not need to be burdened with these worries. Kids are like sponges and they pick up on negative emotions. They also hear everything even though we don’t think they are listening. They can be involved in preparedness activities, if structured in a learning and fun atmosphere.
3. Face your fears: Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely to happen, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring. Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events. Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat. So deal with it by taking steps to improve your finances, such as tip #4 and #5.
5. Start your emergency fund. We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay in the same doldrums. It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside. If you feel you are too broke to save, see #5.
5. Cut down on expenses now. Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read, etc.
6. Get healthier. Being sick is a disaster in itself and nothing is worse than being in a disaster if you are feeling poorly as well. If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health. Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.
7. Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources. I know families that eat every meal outside. In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve. I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight. Little steps can mean a lot. If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home. Take baby steps-brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.
8. Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times. Start with simple things around your house: learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater. Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car. There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time. You may even enjoy learning something new.
9. Stop watching all the doom and gloom TV specials. Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary predictions will only scare you, and depress you into inaction. I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either. Accept that these worries exist but quit feeding them. I know because I have been a worry-wort myself. Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less. Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.
10. Realize that being prepared is a mindset. For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.
Bonus step: Ease your mind through prayer and helping others. You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people. Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.