There are some tough guys out there who are going to read this article and think, “Books, blankets, hot cocoa? What kind of wimp needs all that?” But the fact is, everyone has comfort items they use to deal with stress. You might not be the type of person who curls up with a book […]
Cooler Heads Will Prevail Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! All about calming, nervine and adaptogenic herbs. People underestimate the impact stress has on their health. People do not make their best decisions when under stress. Stress prompts us to act without thinking. If we are anxious, if we panic, if we … Continue reading Stress, Cooler Heads Will Prevail
This week’s guests on Off The Grid Radio did that, too, and then went a step further by building their own homestead — even though they had no experience in construction. They have no electricity or refrigerator and they even ride a horse and buggy … but they’re not Amish.
They go simply by “Doug and Stacy,” and they have gained quite a large following on their YouTube channel, where they explain how they do everything they do.
Doug and Stacy tell us:
- How they get water despite not having a well.
- Why they abandoned a city life with well-paying jobs for an off-grid life.
- How they built an 800-square-foot house without construction skills.
- Why Doug chose to ride a horse and buggy, even though he formerly had ridden a Harley.
- How they keep their food cold without the modern convenience of a fridge.
- How they get Internet and charge up their computer and cell phones even though they don’t have electricity.
If you have always wanted to escape city life, of you are simply someone who enjoys stories about fascinating people, then this week’s show is for you!
All of us have dealt with a backpack at some point in our lives. Remember loading up that crisp new back pack in fall, with anticipation for another school year. Backpacks are used to pack up emergency supplies as demonstrated in this article, camping gear and they are even popular to use as a diaper bag.
One backpack we may not realize we carry is an emotional backpack. What is an emotional backpack? Picture yourself carrying around an invisible backpack, every day. Inside that backpack are all of your life’s experiences. Some of these items are positive and light, while others are negative and heavy. What is in your backpack and how heavy is it? This is a particularly important consideration when it comes to survival, since a big percentage of surviving is mental. This lesson really hits home in one of my favorite survival books, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why.
If you picture life as a long journey, your emotional backpack is right there, hanging off the back of your shoulders every day, no matter where you go. Your responsibility is to keep the backpack light enough for you to keep moving and progressing. Easy enough right? Not always so. We encounter personal setbacks, illness and death of loved ones, difficult co-workers, rude neighbors, unforeseen disasters and struggles in relationships. These things tend to weigh us down if we do not handle them when they happen, as my family did a number of years ago when we hit rock bottom. It seems easier to stuff them down in the backpack and worry about them later. This makes our packs heavy and our journey slow and miserable. We are not able to help ourselves or others if we are overloaded and miss out on the everyday joys of life.
To keep moving and be prepared for anything life throws at you, a light backpack is a must. Let’s look at what you should have in your emotional backpack.
- A good support system. Friends, a spouse, family or pastor. Surround yourself with people that share the same values that you do. These people should be someone you can confide in when needed. Their advice would aligned with your beliefs and they would have your back in a crisis. If you have a hard time making and keeping friends, this book by one of my favorite psychologist authors, John Townsend, may help. Making close friends isn’t an easy thing for most adults.
- Healthy habits. Getting proper sleep and nutrition keep your body and your mind running in top shape. Find an exercise or activity that you enjoy doing. Some examples could be nature walks, biking or yoga. This will clear your mind and give you energybut are also vital components of being a prepared person. Get as healthy as you can and as quickly as you can before any type of disaster strikes. By the way, a sound night’s sleep is a vastly under-appreciated component of being survival-ready.
- Uplifting books and music. Have some reading that is positive, educational, and enjoyable — not just survival and prepper manuals! Reading can be a healthy escape from the stressors of life. Science has proven that music can alter our moods and brain activity. Upbeat music can give motivation and momentum, tranquil music can calm when anxiety creeps up and the simple act of singing will lower blood pressure, reduce pain and give a boost to the immune system.
- Develop an attitude of hope, in all things. Life may not work out the way you wanted it to, but it will work out and will get better. Many find hope in God and through prayer. Go back to the basics of your belief. Lean on your faith. Look at the positive things working around you. Focus on what is going right and the opportunities that are around, then build your hope on that. One wise pastor said, “When nothing in your life is making sense, go back to what you know for sure.” Is that the love of your husband or wife? The close relationship you have with a friend? The fact that God loves you? Whatever it is, go back to what you DO know for certain and spend time deeply appreciating those facts in order to get grounded so you can move on. Spiritual resiliency is a huge factor in who survives and who doesn’t.
- Have hobbies. Whether it is cooking, crocheting, shooting or fishing. Discovery an activity that relaxes you and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment. Not only will you have a skill to lean on, but you can teach others. Invite family, friends to do the hobby with you or join a group that participates in the same activity. The Survival Mom Skill of the Month page will give you dozens of ideas, if you’re not sure where to start with choosing a hobby that is both fun and practical.
You cannot avoid heavy items in your backpack from past, deep hurts, rejection, and traumatic events. They are a fact of life and will be dropped into your backpack, sometimes when you are least prepared for them. If you do not put them there, someone or something else will. The goal is to not let them stay there.
- Take any heavy item you are dragging around and analyze it. What do you need to do to make this light? Some things we have control over, others we do not. Be careful to only invest emotion and time in something you have some control over. After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of families moved to other states. Many of these families embraced this move as an opportunity to go back to school, learn a new trade, create a new start or be closer to extended family. In one instance, a refugee from Katrina founded an incredibly successful business in Houston, his new home. They could not control the hurricane, they could control how they viewed their opportunities. Show kindness to those who offer help you. Teach your family to look and acknowledge the good that is around.
- Accept and adapt. Be willing to take a look around at your new reality and just accept it for what it is. This is where you are now. How can you make the best of it? Survival Mom liked this saying so much that she created a t-shirt just to remind herself how to handle tough situations!
- Bless and release. There will be people and situations that bog you down because of a past experience. In one case, a former friend suddenly cut off her contact with me. I never knew what had happened, reached out once or twice but got very curt responses. So, I played and replayed in my head what I wanted to say to her and how I would defend whatever it was that had caused the distance. After a few months, I decided enough was enough. I wrote a short email, wishing her the best and letting her know, nicely, that I was moving on, and guess what? She hasn’t crossed my mind since — until I was writing this article! We can bless and release those in our lives who bring nothing but negativityand pain. We no longer have to be the monkey in their circus.
- Dumping a heavy item might require you to mend a relationship, apologize or forgive someone. The relationship may not be as it was, but you have done your part to make it better. Just forgiving a person, even if it just in your heart, is healing. Sometimes the heavy item that needs to get dumped is a person. Toxic and negative people can be one of the heaviest items you drag behind you. They have little regard to your emotions and their influence in your life. In fact, one author calls them “emotional vampires.” If a person is continually causing emotional turmoil, it may be time to decide if that person should be in your life.
- Bad experiences. We have all laid in bed at the end of the day and played out in our mind what we would do or say differently, if given another chance. Unfortunately we cannot go back in time, but we can learn. To lighten your load, take tough experiences and make it your best teacher. Learn everything you can from trials and stumbling blocks. Journal about it, share what you learned with a close friend, glean as much knowledge as you can from the experience. Try to compare it to other times in life where you have been given a lesson and did not learn it the first time. It is so much easier to learn from the mistakes of others, but if you are going to make your own, and you will, you might as well learn all you can from it. The knowledge you gain will be beneficial in your future, and you can pass it on to your kids. Maybe they’ll listen!!
- We are all subject to stress, it is the overwhelming stress that does us in. Learn how to recognize it when it shows itself. Note the physical reactions you have and pay attention to the thoughts that go through your mind. Some people carry stress in their lower backs, some in their necks, shoulders, or stomachs. Most daily stress can be worked off at the gym or by other means. It is the larger stressors and circumstances in life that require more effort. When the big stuff happens, you will need to rely on the positive items in your emotional backpack. They are what is going to get you through. Call a friend that you feel comfortable talking with or read about people that have gone through a similar circumstance. Have your backpack full of “tools” to help you deal with the big pressures of life.
- Develop a list of personal priorities. Determine what is important to you. Picture yourself on your death bed. What would your thoughts be about? Who or what would you want to be surrounded by? That is your priority list! If something isn’t on your list, it is probably not that significant. This list is a guideline for your and where your priorities are. The items on the list are where you put your time and energy. Don’t spend your effort on things that don’t give enjoyment or benefit back to you.
Remember, this backpack is yours, not anyone else’s. Protect yourself by protecting your pack. Do not allow anyone else to dump their anger or nastiness into it. Handle issues when they first happen. Look to others for help if needed. As you travel through life, if you keep your backpack light and care for it, you will develop self-reliance and a resiliency that will help you with the heavy items that will certainly come along.
Incidentally, the ONLY forum I have come across to date that does not suffer this problem is one that I started & run myself. I have to date NEVER had to reprimand someone or cancel their membership. They are the best people I have ever come across & I am proud to have them all on my forum. This forum is an 18th century Living History forum & you can find it here:
Bottles of wine, beer, vodka and rum aren’t exactly what first comes to mind when preparing for emergencies, but there are several reasons preppers should consider having a stash of alcohol on hand, even if you don’t drink.
For those who do drink, that purpose is obvious. Yet, alcohol also has value and uses that go beyond personal enjoyment. Here are nine reasons why every Survival Mom should consider having a stash of alcohol.
1. Disinfectants in your stash of alcohol
Alcohol that is higher than 35 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), or 70 proof, can disinfect, but not sterilize, wounds and tools. Disinfecting an item eliminates many or all pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores. Sterilization eliminates all forms of microbial life. To disinfect, you’ll have to look at having vodka, brandy, rum, gin or pure vanilla extract on hand. However, if a wound is disinfected with alcohol, it can also kill the good tissue around the wound, so it should be used as a last resort. You could also use this kind of alcohol to wash your hands to disinfect them, and in the absence of other cleaners, you could use them to clean surfaces, cooking tools and dishes. Surgery and childbirth are two scenarios in which medical tools need to be as disinfected as the situation will allow. In a pinch, alcohol could be the best way to minimize the possibility of infections.
2. Medicinal uses
In addition to the medical uses mentioned above, tinctures are created using an alcohol base. Tinctures are herbal remedies where herbs are concentrated in an alcohol and water mixture. For example, a cough suppressant can be made using whiskey, honey and lemon.
Alcohol does not help with hypothermia. You often see in movies and on TV a person who has come in from the cold get offered a stiff drink to help warm them up. They may feel warmer afterward, but ultimately, that drink will serve to lower the person’s core temperature because alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate.
Alcohol can also help calm an upset stomach, temporarily help with tooth pain, and help calm an anxious person. A little bit can help a person fall asleep faster. Poison ivy and bug bites can also be relieved by rubbing some alcohol on the affected area. Alcohol can be a muscle relaxant, too.
Some people value alcohol more than others and it will fly off the shelves in several emergency scenarios (riots, power outages, impending snowstorms or hurricanes). Having some on hand might give you the upper hand when trading for food or household supplies. Consider stocking up on both large bottles as well as the tiny “airplane” sizes.
INTERESTED IN BARTERING? Barter may not be the simple transaction many preppers envision. Here’s what you need to know about bartering before planning on it becoming your survival solution.
Bottles of highly prized brands of alcohol have also come in handy as bribes. Not recommending this. Just making note of it!
Despite the situation or emergency, life will continue – babies will be born, people will marry and funerals will take place. Many of these occasions bring people together to celebrate or remember. Wine or champagne can add to the celebration and help give people a sense of “normalcy,” which can be a powerful element in who thrives during difficult circumstances and who doesn’t.
Some religions use alcohol as part of a religious ceremony or rite. Continuing these traditions can mean a lot to people of those faiths. During Prohibition, one of the only ways for a winery to stay in business was to make wine for religious reasons.
6. Fire and defense
As with wound care, alcohol is not the first choice in sustaining a fire, but it does work if needed. Much care should be used if using alcohol around any kind of fire. Do not pour alcohol on an active fire, but soak something and put it in the kindling/coals before setting the fire.
If you find yourself in a situation where your home or family needs to be defended, you could create a fire bomb using alcohol. Extreme care needs to be taken if alcohol is used in this manner and in no way are we recommending this!
LEARN MORE WITH THIS DIY PROJECT: Make a mini-stove with Altoids in alcohol.
There are plenty of recipes that call for wine and other forms of alcohol, but one of the best reasons to have alcohol around is to preserve items from the garden. Soaking herbs or plants in vodka makes extracts, like vanilla, peppermint, and lemon. Fruit can be preserved in alcohol for long-term storage. Ginger and turmeric can be preserved in alcohol, too.
8. Stress relief
Alcohol can help a person relax a bit or “take the edge off.” There will be a lot of stress in most survival situations and having a small vice is one way humans deal with stress. The social aspect of having a drink at the end of a long day is often what helps people deal with stress the most.
9. Everyday emergencies (cooking/gifts)
Sometimes the emergency isn’t dire but is still stressful. Having a few bottles of wine on hand for recipes or for a hostess gift when you’re invited to a dinner party is a good idea. Even if the hosts are non-drinkers, they can still put the bottle to good use.
Tips for storage
Alcohol needs to be stored in a cool, dark place. As a liquid, it can evaporate if the bottle has been opened. The shelf life varies depending on the type of alcohol. Beer and wine will generally last about six months to two years depending on the way it was made. Liquors vary widely, but also tend to break down by the two-year mark. Spirits and moonshines do not expire due to their high alcohol content.
Learn To Make Your Own Prepper Stash of Alcohol
Another option to having alcohol on hand is learning to make your own. Home beer brewing and winemaking are becoming the new fad hobbies with supply stores showing up in many cities, as well as online. Many of these stores offer classes and will help you on your brewing journey. You can also use a still to make distilled water, spirits and alcohol that can be used for fuel. State laws vary on home brewing and distilling so make sure to check what is allowed where you live.
MAKING HOMEMADE WINE: This is a handy skill and not as difficult as you might think. Your final product may not win the blue ribbon in a wine competition but can still be enjoyed for what it is — a DIY project you can drink!
Preppers with a stash of alcohol can only benefit in the long run. If you’re not sure about how much and exactly what you want to have on hand, start with a variety of small bottles. Make sure to keep them out of the reach of children or possibly hidden or locked up if you have teenagers. It’s an item that can have a multitude of uses and doesn’t cost a whole lot of money.
STOCKING UP TIP: You’ll often see grocery carts filled with bottles of alcohol in the liquor department of your grocery store. Browse through those and, if you aren’t sure where to start, pick up vodka, rum, gin, or whisky, as they have many multiple uses and longer shelf lives.
Want to learn more about prepping?
- 52 Prepper Projects by Dave Nash
- Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury
- Buy Gold and Silver Safely by Doug Eberhardt
- Countdown to Preparedness by Jim Cobb
- Emergency Evacuations: Get out fast when it matters most by Lisa Bedford
- Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett
- The Pantry Primer: How to build a one year food supply in three months by Daisy Luther
- Prepper’s Natural Medicine by Cat Ellis
- The Preppers Blueprint by Tess Pennington
- The Prepper’s Pocket Guide by Bernie Carr
- The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide by Daisy Luther
- SAS Survival Handbook by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman
- Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford
Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Howard Overton. Some people who are preparing for the future get stressed out by prepping. It can be for many reasons. Maybe you feel you have too much to do to get ready. Maybe you don’t know where to start. You are […]
The Christmas season is supposed to be a joyful time, filled with warmth, love and memories. But for many people, it can be quite overwhelming. All of the shopping, commitments, to-do lists and cooking can take a toll on us physically, mentally and spiritually.
For those of us who prefer to manage our health naturally, essential oils can help us keep our spirits up and maintain our energy during this very busy season of the year.
Here are some common conditions and the oils that have been found to provide relief:
Anxiety. Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed and anxious at one time or another, especially during the holidays? Rather than having an anxiety-filled season this year, why not use the following oils to help you stay relaxed even when the pressure is on?
Suggested oils for mild anxiety: Lavender, orange, lemon, roman chamomile, valerian, melissa, copaiba, ylang ylang, angelica, basil, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, frankincense, geranium, hinoki, hyssop, jasmine, juniper, lime, marjoram, onycha, patchouli, pine, rose, sandalwood, tangerine and tsuga (grounding).
Sadness. Many of us feel sad and overwhelmed with various issues at this time of year, such as relationship conflicts, loneliness and feeling socially disconnected. The following oils may help improve your mood and help you face the holiday season with greater joy and peace.
Suggested oils for mild sadness: Frankincense, lavender, lemon, orange, bergamot, ylang ylang, rosemary rosewood, tangerine, grapefruit, jasmine, neroli, sage, basil, clary sage, geranium, ginger, juniper, onycha, patchouli, pepper, ravintsara, roman chamomile and sandalwood.
Stress and the holiday season often go hand-in-hand. The following oils may help you feel much less stressed throughout the holidays, and enjoy the activities that you engage in more: lavender, ylang, ylang, bergamot, lemon, basil, clary sage, cypress, elemi, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, marjoram, neroli, onycha (benzoin), pine, Roman chamomile, rosewood, spruce and tangerine.
Lack of Energy. With all of the activity during the holidays it’s very easy to get tuckered out. While it is critical to prioritize and say “no” to unnecessary activities, the following oils can help increase your energy and get you through a busy day.
Suggested oils to help increase energy: Fir, peppermint, basil, black pepper, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, myrtle, nutmeg (increases), orange, palo santo, rosemary, thyme and grapefruit.
Hangovers. Have a little too much to drink at the holiday party last night? Try the following oils to help revive you: lemon, grapefruit, fennel, lavender, rose, rosemary and sandalwood.
Headaches. Don’t let a pounding headache rule or ruin your day. Try these oils to halt a headache in its tracks: peppermint, rosemary, basil, calamus, cardamom, clove, cumin, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, marjoram and sage lavender.
Digestive system. Got tummy troubles from eating too much at your family holiday gathering? Try these oils to help with digestive discomfort and indigestion: peppermint, ginger, lavender, thyme, grapefruit, orange, angelica, cardamom, copaiba, coriander, cumin, goldenrod and ginger.
Sleep. Need some help getting to sleep and staying asleep while waiting for Santa’s arrival? Try lavender (apply on the spine), valerian (for sleep disturbances), marjoram, and roman chamomile oils.
When choosing an essential oil be sure to use only therapeutic-grade oils, which are the highest quality and the most effective. Using low quality essential oils may not only be ineffective for the results that you are seeking, but they also may be harmful because they can contain chemicals and solvents.
As always, consult with a health practitioner to determine if essential oils are right for you and for your personal health condition(s). Not all essential oils are right for everyone, and those with serious health conditions should work with a qualified healthcare practitioner to determine the best solution for them.
What essential oils would you add to this list? Share your advice in the section below:
When in an urban survival scenario, many overlook the many possibilities of having to deal with stress. Not knowing how to deal with stress can mean the difference between life or death.
Weather you are in an urban survival crisis or a wilderness survival scenario, here is video produced in 1961 by the US Air Force that deals with survival stress. The information is 33 years old, but the information is still true and valid to this day.
Watch, learn and enjoy a movie from the retro era.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live, just for a little while, in the woods? To become part of the intricate weave of nature, to live simply, eagerly drinking in all of God’s beauty around you? For many people, spending time living in the woods is a life-enriching experience that they won’t soon forget. But for nearly all people, just being in nature for a while has been proven to be highly therapeutic.
Here are just some of the reasons why leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind for a while may need to be something you put on your “to-do list.”
1. You feel small
Yes, that’s right, I said small. Far too often we think too highly of ourselves and our neat urban lifestyle. A move to the woods where the trees are big, the moon is big, and you are somewhat vulnerable to the natural life teeming around you, makes you feel small. Feeling small helps remind you of your own natural state and be bigness of God. This is a very humbling experience to say the least.
2. You realize what you really need
Do you need your Dish Network with 170 channels to survive? What about your expensive Italian leather sofa or your 12-inch memory foam mattress? Chances are, these are nothing but luxuries that you have become accustomed to, and they certainly are not necessary for you to live a long and happy life.
What about thinking about just what you need to survive, the essentials? When you spend time living in the woods either in a small cabin or even a yurt or wall tent, you begin to appreciate just how few things you need to live. This is another great wake-up call that keeps you humble.
3. You learn new skills
If you are not accustomed to anything but city life, moving to the woods will require you to learn some new skills: whether it be building, growing food, hunting, fishing, building a fire, etc. Take time to embrace the opportunity to learn these new things and work with your hands and be creative while you are at it.
4. You de-stress
Many people living in busy urban centers carry with them a great amount of daily living stress. Running here and there, working long hours at work and keeping a busy social schedule leave little time for peace and quiet. A move to the woods demands one to slow down and be still. At first, this may be almost impossible, depending on how stressed you are. However, over time, the peace and perfectness of nature will begin to calm your soul, and you will find yourself more relaxed than you have ever been before.
Often, people recovering from illness retreat to the woods for solace and healing. Spending time apart from your busy life will help to put things into perspective and allow you to value each day for what it really is.
If you aren’t sure where to begin with your in-the-woods venture, be sure to do research before heading out. Perhaps you will rent a small cabin, build your own place or live in a yurt or a tent. The best thing is to be prepared and know at least a little bit about what to expect before you make the move. Then, simply enjoy it all.
What advice would you add? What would you put on the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
In this fast paced world we live in, it is far too easy to consume every waking hour within the confines of our vehicles, offices, or homes. Sure it’s convenient to sit on the couch in the evenings and on weekends, staring aimlessly at our computer screens, televisions, tablets and smart phones, but how many […]