Managing the Mental Stress of Prepping

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Today, It’s all about managing the mental stress of prepping. If you’re relatively new to the world of prepping, you may feel overwhelmed with all the things you can do to be prepared, and all the things you see other preppers doing. Being a productive prepper does require a good work ethic and effort, but it’s not something you need to stress over.

If you’re already starting to feel mentally stressed over getting everything done, you’re in the spot where you need to address how to move forward. Check out these beneficial tips on adequately managing the mental stress of prepping. You’ll learn how to stay productive, get more done, and reduce the stress in your life overall.

Only you know how you feel as each day starts and how well you can deal with what is planned for the day. If you are continually feeling stressed out and unable to accomplish the tasks at hand, possibly it could be more than just the prepping process.

All of us have different stresses to deal with, whether they are finances, our vocation, kids, marriage, health, etc. Consider getting professional help if you feel overwhelmed much of the time. At the end of this post, I’ve addressed some of the symptoms to look for if you think help may be needed.

“Prepare Your Family For Survival” by Linda

Bugging In: Raymond Dean White (Yes, it’s our Ray!!)

Managing the Mental Stress of Prepping

Managing the Mental Stress of Prepping

1. Get Into a Routine That Works

Don’t feel like you need to spend every waking moment doing something that involves prepping. It shouldn’t be that way. The idea behind prepping is to stay prepared for anything that could potentially happen, but not to stress yourself out daily because of your involvement in the process. Instead, focus on getting into a routine that works best for you.

For example, if you’re planning on canning fruits and vegetables, choose a specific day of the week to do that. You can devote a few hours to canning some of your favorite foods to extend their shelf life.

It’s better to get it done for the week in those few hours on a day when you’re not busy than to do it each day of the week. If you’re constantly doing something prep-related throughout the day and all week long, you’re naturally going to feel stressed because you’re overdoing it.

2. Don’t Overthink Everything

Try not to overthink when it comes to preparedness. Make a list of the things you’d like to do. You might want to get batteries while they’re on sale to have backups for flashlights and other devices. You may wish to collect water and find a good storage spot for it. If you create a to-do list, you can easily keep track of everything you want to get done. You can cross each task off the list once you complete it.

You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you stop overthinking things and start scratching tasks off your to-do list. It can give you the motivation to keep getting things done. Even if you don’t get to it all done in one day, you can look forward to doing more the next day or whenever you have some spare time.

Don’t beat yourself up over anything you can’t get done in a single day. Just try to do something each week that will keep you moving forward, even if it may take you longer than you’d originally hoped.

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3. Take It One Step at a Time

Preppers often feel overwhelmed because they’re trying to get a lot of things done at once. It can kill your productivity because you’ll spend more time stressing instead of getting tasks done. Try to take it one step at a time, starting with the most straightforward tasks and then working your way down the list to some of the more challenging tasks. 

After you come up with a routine to follow and start working on that to-do list, it becomes a lot easier to take things one at a time instead of trying to complete multiple tasks at once. Remember, your mental health is essential, and prepping should be fun for you. If it’s causing you to feel frustrated, take a break for a day or two and then get back to it.

4. Use Exercise as an Outlet

Try to start exercising more often. You can use it as an outlet to eliminate some of your stress. Exercise is good for your physical and mental health. It’s the perfect way to start the day. If you get up before everyone else in the house, you can go for a jog or do some yoga right in the living room.

No matter which exercises you decide to do, you can expect to feel better when you’re through with your workout.

After exercising and getting a shower, you’re more likely to feel ready for the day and motivated to get things done. It can put you in a positive mood to begin working on prepping tasks that you need to get done but have avoided for the past several weeks.

You don’t need costly equipment or a gym membership to exercise. You can save more of your money, clear your mind, and get fit right at home.

5. Let Loved Ones Offer a Helping Hand

Reduce some of the stress by letting your loved ones offer a helping hand. You’re not the only one who needs to do all the prepping. Ask your partner to get involved in the process. You’ll work better when you have a team of loved ones helping you with some of your prepping tasks, but you’ll also get more done in less time.

If you’d like to accomplish tasks on your to-do list in no time, get your partner and children involved. You will enjoy spending quality time completing prepping activities together, such as canning, gardening, and sewing.

How to Manage the Mental Stress of Prepping

If you make the tasks fun for the little ones, they’ll want to continue helping you. If you have older kids who aren’t necessarily looking forward to prepping activities, you can always count the work together as chores and reward them for their help. It’s your choice to make, but it’s an excellent idea when you want to motivate older children and teens to lend a helping hand.

Managing the mental stress of prepping is important. People will often talk about the importance of prepping and the positive impact on humans and the environment, but they don’t always mention the mental stress it can cause. If you’re feeling worn out and stressed over all the tasks you need to take care of each week, it’s time to take a mental break. Work on getting into a routine, following a to-do list, and enlisting the help of your partner and children with prepping activities. 

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Some people have also worked to get friends and neighbors involved. Community gardens are becoming very popular and can provide not only for your family, but also for others in need. You may want to start a prepping club or group that gets together from time to time so they can work and learn together. What a great social opportunity, if you do it right.

In case you missed this post, 10 Hygiene and Sanitation Tips for a Disaster

Personal Well Being Symptoms When Dealing With Stress

Some years ago Mark and I took a Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) class along with some neighbors. We had been thinking of taking the class for a long time but found the time requirements a challenge. We finally took the plunge and are glad we did. We felt that we would both be better prepared for emergencies of all kinds if we heard from the “experts” about the different types of emergencies, how to react during an episode, and how to deal with the aftermath.

One of the classes dealt with the psychology of disasters and how the effects of the situation can cause mental trauma to victims, first responders, and volunteers. We learned a lot and feel grateful for this new perspective. They indicated that people react differently to the strain of the situation both in the short term, but also that there can be long term challenges to mind and body.

Next Time vs. Right Now

I realize that many of us determine we should be better prepared for emergencies based on what we’ve seen and heard. Others jump in and try harder to prep based on their own personal experiences and the desire to do better “next time.”

If you’ve had past experience with disaster and the related trauma, you may feel the stress of needing to do things “right now” and are more prone to feel new stresses as the preparation process goes forward, whether it’s to learn first aid and CPR, store food and water, or grow a garden.

I’ve listed below some of the symptoms you may experience when preparing and dealing with stress, particularly if you’ve been through it before. If you are experiencing a high degree of symptoms you should consider checking in with a professional who can certainly provide the necessary next steps for you to improve your mental state. Our hearts go out to you and wish you well in all your endeavors.

Psychological symptoms may include:

Irritability and anger.

Self-blame or the blaming of others.

Isolation and withdrawal.

Fear of recurrence.

Feeling stunned, numb, or overwhelmed.

Feeling helpless.

Mood swings.

Sadness, depression, and grief.

Denial.

Concentration and memory problems.

Relationship conflicts/marital discord.

Physiological symptoms may include:

Loss of appetite.

Headaches or chest pain.

Diarrhea, stomach pain, or nausea.

Hyperactivity.

Increase in alcohol or drug consumption.

Nightmares.

The inability to sleep.

Fatigue or low energy.

Final Word 

Do something for yourself to relieve some of the stress, such as exercising for at least 30 minutes each morning. These helpful tips will keep you on track and eliminate a lot of mental stress. I’d like to hear what you do to make the prepping process more enjoyable and less stressful. May God Bless this world, Linda 

Copyright Images: Morning Yoga Exercise Deposit photos_274188210_s-2019

13 thoughts on “Managing the Mental Stress of Prepping

  • June 17, 2021 at 7:20 am
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    Great list, Linda. I’ve had most of these, but not all at one time or another.

    Reply
  • June 17, 2021 at 7:54 am
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    I prepare so I’m not stressed.

    I remember at the start of covid seeing folks stress over buying stuff. They were scared. I was getting milk.

    During this ammo shortage I’ve seen folks stressed bad over not having a gun, enough ammo or even any ammo. I just limited my range quantity.

    I watched over a hundred people take two steps back when a lady had a heart attack. Only one stepped forward with me.

    Your training and stocks should build confidence. Not having or knowing or ability should only stress you to the level of getting it done when possible and no further.

    Eat the preparedness steak one bite at a time. Don’t choke on it.

    Military rule 101 is Always Improve Your Position. What that means is you can always. Do more to be better even though it was enough for yesterday. Small steps daily, weekly, monthly

    Reply
    • June 17, 2021 at 11:14 am
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      Totally agree, Matt. Prepping IS stress relief. Being prepared gives us peace of mind.

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    • June 17, 2021 at 11:24 am
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      Hi Matt, oh man, are did you nail it! We were buying milk when people were panicking. It takes years to prepare but we must start now. What a blessing you were to the lady that had a heart attack. WOW! Our training is ALWAYS going on, we learn skills more than we may realize. Yes, indeed, do more than yesterday. Great comment! Linda

      Reply
  • June 17, 2021 at 12:52 pm
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    I’m there with all of the above. The only stress I would have about being prepared would be to have no preps. LOL!!!

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    • June 17, 2021 at 3:30 pm
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      Hi Harry, I hear you on the no stress, we are prepared! It’s an awesome feeling! Life is good when we have skills, food, and water. Of course, the other items are critical too! Linda

      Reply
  • June 18, 2021 at 12:32 am
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    I told my husband the other day that I was done with Costco for my big shopping, and I am. My stressor is keeping things organized—I like to see all the pineapple slices together, all the spaghetti sauce, etc. One of my prepping spots IS that way: 2 years ago I asked my hubby to put shelves up on 2 sides of the mudroom over the washer and dryer and then over the fridge and doorway. Last year he did the other 2 sides. Then with the help of 2 teenaged grandkids, all the cases are lined up, and a/o today, the shelves with glass have had either cording or railing put in strips in front to keep them from shaking off during an earthquake….fingers crossed.
    But other spots are not so tidy, believe me. I still have to clean up multiple (high) shelving from old tomato cans that split in my original pantry leaving large gooey black stains and drips on the wood and walls. Those kinds of disasters are disheartening, to say the least. And do I need to mention rodents and moths? Now I have an outdoor cat and moth traps.
    We have a blackboard (I’m an old teacher) that lists the next major projects we need to address (i.e. get our gate automated, fix some locks) and there’s a book I’ve kept with recipes, records and notes. Meanwhile, I do not take one drop of water for granted; I’m the crazy one who totes my sink water out to the garden several times a day.

    Linda, I am indebted to you and those who comment for many ideas and methods. ..And applaud all who are trying to be self-sufficient as well as help others along the way. For me, a daily list (would) give me focus and be proof that the hard work of each day has resulted in good progress. Occasionally I find an old list of goals from 9 or 10 years ago that have actually been completed despite health and money issues. So encouraging!

    Remember that old adage, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” Prepping can be done by the same principle, don’t you think?

    With love from So. Oregon (where it’s also hot),
    Shirley

    Reply
    • June 18, 2021 at 5:45 am
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      Hi Shirley, oh the split cans of tomato products, those are the worst! I love a good blackboard by the way!! I use bungee cords as well in case of an earthquake on my food storage shelves. I use lists for everything. My favorite reminders used to be yellow stickies. Lots of them. LOL! It really does feel good when we complete the lists we had hope to do. Health and money can be a challenge for sure. It’s a blessing we know how to cook from scratch and preserve our food. We are the lucky ones to realize we must stock food and water. Life is so good when we prepare for the unexpected. The last paragraph you wrote is so true!! I LOVE it! Love you back, Linda. P.S. Yesterday in Southern Utah was 113 degrees. The city announced a RED HEAT, which is the worst. We need to be prepared for power outages. I may be wearing my swimming suit in the house today if the air conditioning shuts off. They told us to be prepared for rolling blackouts.

      Reply
  • June 19, 2021 at 1:35 am
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    Linda,
    Medford, OR got the official word today that we and our surrounding small cities need to cut back on our water usage…but the reasoning was unexpected: not enough chlorine to use in our treatment plant! It’s all voluntary at this point but there will be mandatory changes made in 2 weeks should folks not comply. We’ve heard there has been a breakdown of equipment used for the chlorine production up in Washington, and that we won’t be the only ones effected. Do you ever feel that “pole shifting” has to do with the whole world we know turning upside down?
    I also ask for God to bless us.
    Luvs,
    Shirley in S. OR

    Reply
    • June 19, 2021 at 7:36 am
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      Hi Shirley, wow, that is a great way to say it, my friend. Pole shifting….!! I had heard there was a chlorine shortage. If there was ever a time to stock water, it is now. I sure hope people are listening. I had thought about “bleach” for swimming pools, and sanitary conditions, we all understand that. I never drink our tap water, I don’t trust it. I have reverse osmosis which is cheaper than a Big Berkey. It does not use power, it gravity run. BUT, if we have to cut back on our water usage we have to cut back on watering yards, gardens, and drinking water. Hopefully, people are prepared. Hugs, Linda

      Reply
  • June 26, 2021 at 4:49 pm
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    As others here I calm myself by preparing. I love just needing one or two things when everyone else is going bonkers. My stress comes from caring for my wife who has severe dementia, but still the Lord has blessed us so much.

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    • June 26, 2021 at 6:58 pm
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      Hi Bob, we have several friends dealing with dementia, some severe, some not as extreme as others. My heart goes out to you Bob, you must love your wife dearly to care for her 24/7. I sometimes wonder when I visit friends with dementia, even though they do not “know me” my heart aches for them. They did not choose this disease, none of us would. Some started the dementia path slowly, whereas others accelerated the memory loss. It’s wonderful to hear you are preparing and will never have to go bonkers like those unprepared for any disaster. Just know we care about you and your sweet wife, yes indeed the Lord blessed you to be the caretaker of the woman you love. Hugs, from Utah, Linda

      Reply

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