With everything that has happened so far this year in 2020, many people in this country are understandably worried about what might happen next. That has many wondering what will happen when the s*** hits the fan (SHTF) and trying to prepare for any eventuality. For anyone preparing for an SHTF scenario, there are three key areas of preparedness that are necessary:
- Mental Preparedness
- Physical Preparedness
- Material Preparedness
Many preppers and survivalists pay more attention to material preparedness than anything else, even to the exclusion of the other two. And thus when a real SHTF scenario hits, they find themselves ill-prepared.
Mental preparedness is the most important part of preparing for an SHTF or survival scenario, as without being mentally prepared all your other preparations will likely fall apart. The first thing you need to do is to think about what scenarios you’re likely to face.
Are you in an area prone to flooding, tornadoes, or other natural disasters? Do you live in the vicinity of some of the recent riots? Are you more than 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store? Your specific location and scenario will determine how you prepare. And once you understand what you’ll be facing, then you can take the next steps to prepare mentally.
1. Develop a Plan
The first thing you’ll want to do is develop a plan to respond to each of the eventualities you’ll face. If you’ll likely need to leave your house in the event of a disaster, do you have a bug out bag put together? If you plan to bug in, have you stored enough food and water?
What happens if members of your family are away from the house when disaster strikes? Do you have a communications plan, meeting points, code words, etc? Do you run through the plan with your family to make sure that everyone knows what to do? Have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C for every eventuality, and make sure that everyone in your family knows them cold.
2. Fight, Flight, or Freeze?
One of the reasons to develop a plan and practice it is to ensure that you’re ready to go when disaster strikes. We’re all familiar with fight or flight, but there’s a third response that many people make, which is to freeze. Our brains are sometimes so overloaded with information that we freeze while trying to process it.
Creating a plan and running through it regularly ensures that when the time comes, you can operate without having to think, or at least with minimal thinking. During times of crisis, you have to learn how to shut out all but the most essential information that’s necessary to saving yourself and your family.
3. Keep Calm and Carry On
You could probably actually come up with a fourth response, flailing, although it’s related to flight. These are people who break down panicking during times of stress. Imagine an active shooter situation, and someone starts reacting hysterically, crying, screaming, and just generally acting like a baby rather than trying to take cover.
That’s why it’s important to rehearse various scenarios in your mind, so that when you find yourself putting your plan into action, you’re doing so without emotion clouding your actions. The ideal you’re looking for is to remain calm, collected, and focused on your objectives.
4. Learn to Deal With Stress
Many of us deal with a lot of stress in our daily lives. From children to spouses to coworkers and bosses, there are dozens of stressors in our lives each day. And not all of us handle stress the same.
Some people get so overwhelmed that they’re on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Others manifest physical signs of stress such as elevated heart rates, chest pains, or sweating. And others bury stress rather than deal with it, allowing it to build up until it causes them to erupt in anger at certain times. None of that will help you in a survival scenario.
Dealing with stress can be difficult, but there are ways to manage it. In your daily life, talking about it with others can be helpful. Even taking 15 minutes at the end of the day to think about it yourself, talking it over in your mind can help. You can also try deep breathing, forcing yourself to take periodic breaks, and stretches and muscle relaxation.
It can also help to think about how, no matter how bad your situation is right now, how much worse it could be, and how thankful you are to be alive and in the position you’re in. Think of this as the “Job” approach to stress management.
The better you’re able to deal with stress before a SHTF situation, the better able you’ll be to manage that SHTF situation, and the better you’ll be at dealing with stress in difficult scenarios.
5. Realize Your Breaking Points
It’s important to realize where your mental breaking points are and how you get there, so that you don’t get there during a SHTF scenario. Figure out what triggers cause you to get stressed and get close to breaking. Is it eating junk food, getting poor sleep, slacking on personal hygiene, or something else? Here too, you need to understand your body and how it works so that it continues to work for you in a SHTF situation.