May 8, 2017

Is Prepping Stressful?

This post is by Bernie Carr,

I meant to write this post earlier this week but I held off until I got a chance to ponder it a bit.   In the beginning of this week I was at work around mid-morning when the power went out all of a sudden.  First the computers turned off, then the lights and air conditioning shut down and emergency backup lights turned on.  It was not weather related as there were no storms in the area and the sun was shining.  People around me started asking “What’s going on?”  Earlier this year the city had rolling blackouts and I had worried we wouldn’t be able to get out of the building.

Immediately my mind started racing.  What if it’s an EMP?  Is it a solar flare?  Attack on the power grid?  Then the planning mode/self check started:   Comfortable shoes for walking… water bottle…  energy bars…  cell phone…  Then I thought, wait a second, is the cell phone working?  YES!  I looked outside the high rise window and saw cars were running.  In a few more minutes the power went back on.  Strangely enough, the heater started running full blast, even though it was close to 80 degrees outside.   The building maintenance crew came and said there was an electrical problem on our floor.  Whew!

It was a small event that triggered an emergency response within me.   Is this caused by obsessively reading everything you can about things that could possibly go wrong?  Yes, it can be.   Reading Lights Out and One Second After a few months ago kept me up a few nights worrying.   It can be stressful if you keep thinking about not having enough supplies, skills and time to get it all done.

At the same time, the constant influx of bad news during this difficult period can also throw anyone in a hyper mode, prepper or non-prepper.  By the time the lights turned back on, I already planned out my route to get to the school to pickup kids, as I was closer to the location than my husband.  I already knew what items in my backpack would come in handy for an emergency.  If something did happen, I would rather be ready.

The key is to not let yourself get too obsessed with negative events, and take a break from the constant stream of bad news.  Just for this weekend, stop looking at news reports about Iran and the nuclear ambitions, don’t worry whether Greece and Italy are about to default on their debts, stop thinking about the economy.   Get some exercise.  Play a board game.  Watch a mindless movie for a change.  As for me, I am giving my mind a break.  I started reading Life of Pi, which I have been meaning to read, and will watching a DVD of Cars 2 with the family.

If you already started on your path to being prepared, trust that you are doing all you can with what you have right now.

You can always go back to it on Monday.


© Apartment Prepper 2011

13 Comments on Is Prepping Stressful?

  1. Thanks for posting a topic that the other blogs don’t mention. BTW–when I copied & pasted to get to this page I noticed the # 3006 (for the page # ?)…….. 30.06 a good caliber for hunting big game 🙂

  2. Love prepping! Saves my sanity and my money! One thing I need to get for my son’s school backpack is a map. He says he knows the way home (he goes to a private special ed school 20 minute drive away), but I want to get a map and have him show me how to drive him home. Then have him mark that route on the map in color #1. After that we will look at several alternative routes and give each it’s own color on the map. He realizes he may have to get himself home in the event of an emergency. It simply wouldn’t make sense for me to walk toward him not knowing which route he would take home. I pray TSHF when we are together so this is just overprepping!!!

    • Make it a weekend activity to walk the route together. This way you can slip in things like looking at land marks and being aware of the sourndings.

  3. When we had the earthquake here in PA (a very rare event), the very first thing I thought of was an explosion at the base near us, at Camp David (a few miles away), or a nuke in DC. Fortunately my family knew what to do when ground shakes, regardless of the cause, be cause we had discussed it in advance. Prepping means being ready to get in the correct mindset quickly, as seconds can make the difference between living and dying, but it doesn’t necessarily have to make you paranoid.

  4. When I was a nurse, in an emergency you started with the most serious thing that could be wrong. Airway? Breathing? Circulation? Once you established the world wasn’t ending for your patient, you relaxed back to normal. Rather than making more stress, doing that quick assessment EVERY TIME meant if nothing was wrong it was a familiar drill. I didn’t needlessly scare the patient and family or raise my blood pressure. If something was wrong, well, that’s why I did all that training. Granted we shouldn’t be obsessive about prepping, but routinely checking out the situation can actually make you more relaxed in an emergency and better able to function. Nothing wrong with a drill.

  5. Discussing a plan in advance in the event of any type of emergency helps everyone cope when an emergency does happen. It would be more stressful not to have a plan. A practice drill would be a great idea, making it a normal weekend activity that is comfortable for everyone. Thank you for the comments!

  6. I commend you for you mindset. It is great how you ran through a check list before your reacted. I also liked your discussion about relaxation from the stresses of prepping. Your blogs are great and I am learning a great deal of useful information, thanks.

  7. Apartment Prepper,

    I think that those who are newer to prepping may get stressed because of the sheer enormity of information they’ll find if they actively research: bug-out bags, canning, mylar bags, first aid kits for home & cars, firearms, learning how to make basic food items from scratch (such as bread), scanning and saving important documents into sturdy flash drives, safes for the home, finding room for emergency food supplies, winter clothing, survival skills, budgeting for all this, etc.

    You get the idea.

    We are all aware that there are “levels” of prepping; people like me would make hardcore preppers laugh. I have yet to read the PDF-format survival/emergency/etc PDF files I’ve shared with you. It’s demanding enough to have a full-time job, to balance the responsibilities of life, and to have enough time for sensible leisure while ensuring preparedness for unforeseen (and foreseen) calamities.

    I’d say that once a person gets the basics down: reducing/eliminating debt, accruing cash reserves for months should the job end, getting some gold and/or silver, obtaining first aid supplies, and of course, getting and storing emergency food and water… one is well underway. Not all will need to can food – some will be able to afford MREs or dried-food items or what not. Some won’t need to invest in firearms because they grew up with guns. Some are already paramedics or nurses. Some have been lifelong outdoorsmen/women, beginning with the Boy/Girl Scouts in childhood. Anyone who falls into these camps would definitely have a head start in survival/prepping. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford 6-12 months’ worth of MREs; not all of us grew up with guns; many of us are not in the medical field; and, several of us, like myself, have always been outdoors-averse… until now.

    If anything I see prepping as a learning adventure. A lot of prepping involves reading (and of course, once one knows how to build a bug-out bag, masters the basics of food canning, etc… it won’t do them good until they put the information to use). For me, acquiring the information and then using it to attain tangible results is very rewarding. I think that’s a healthy way of looking at the “challenge” that prepping offers.

    • Hey Armed and Prepping, For me, prepping continues to be a learning adventure. As you pointed out, most of us have our own limitations – time, money, space and obligations etc. so we can only do so much. But while our efforts may seem pale in comparison to the more “hardcore” survivalists, ultimately it’s what gives us a feeling or security that counts. Thanks!

  8. I recently watched Michael Shermer discuss his new book “The Believing Brain”. He said we are hardwired to look for patterns and our remote ancestors had to decide a course of action every time they heard a rustle in the grass. Those who responded as if a lion was stalking them and took appropriate action EVERY time survived, even if mostly they were false positives survived. Those who did not do this eventually were eaten. I think your response was far better than those around you.

    • Hi Kalvan, That is an interesting angle, about the patterns that we look for when sensing danger. I would want to always be in the uneaten group 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  9. Good post. I had a similar experience at work one day a few months ago when the power suddenly went out. The first thing I did was check my cell phone, then go look out a window and make sure the cars were still running.

    I too have to take a break every once in a while. I try to alternate my reading with a prepping-related book, followed by a fun read, followed by a prepping-related book, etc. Keeps me from getting overwhelmed, and gives me time to process and act on any new knowledge I’ve gained from my reading.

    • Kris, I will start alternating between prepping and nonprepping related books as well. Keeps things fresh and in perspective. Thanks!

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