Any disaster or emergency brings with it stress, anxiety, and frustration. Whether is it being lost in the woods or stuck at home during an extended power outage, you’ll find your stress level hitting 11 or higher. It is important to recognize this ahead of time and take measures to mitigate it.
Quite often, the initial stress in an emergency stems from uncertainty. Your mind is racing, trying to determine what to do yet you’re stuck in place because you can’t make a decision. Making plans ahead of time will help reduce that stress. Work out what actions you and your family will take in different situations, then practice them.
This also works if you’re lost in the woods or in some other similar situation. Force yourself to sit down (literally, if possible) and take stock of what you have with you and make a plan for what you need to do next. You’ll be much calmer if you have a game plan to follow.
The bored mind can do funny things. Many people are so accustomed to having the TV on constantly, the silence can be deafening and, quite frankly, unnerving. There you are, sitting on the couch and actually enjoying the quiet, confident you have enough food and water to last at least a week. Suddenly, your mind taps you on the shoulder and says, Hey, you know what we haven’t thought about in a while? Clowns. Creepy, nasty clowns. Next thing you know, you’re up and staring out the windows, making sure you really aren’t hearing faint calliope music at 3:00AM.
At home as well as in the car, have at least a couple things set aside to keep your mind occupied during down times. Board games for the family are a great option (I like Stratego, myself). Books, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word finds, even supplies for knitting or crochet if that’s your thing.
If nothing else, keeping the young’uns occupied will help prevent the endless questions.
If you are a religious person, keep a small Bible or other holy text in with your supplies. Other options along these same lines include photos of family members and pets. The idea is to keep something with you that will keep you going and prevent you from giving up. For some, this means keeping the Word of God near you. For others, maybe it is inspirational quotes from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Use whatever works for you.
Mental health is just as important as physical well-being, perhaps even more so. By planning ahead for those needs, you’ll stand a much greater chance of coming through on the other end with your sanity intact.