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Get Prepped Newsletter: August 5, 2011

Understanding biological and emotion reactions to stress, as well as learning ways better adapt to stress will help a person better prepare themselves mentally for a disaster scenario.

MESSAGE FROM TESS

I think we can all agree that this has been one hot summer. I even read that due to increased energy use, Texas may begin rolling black outs if the energy levels do not decrease. Although I doubt the blackouts will come to pass, I feel we need to prepare ourselves for this possibility and do what we can to decrease our energy usage, as uncomfortable as that may be. Preparation, after all, provides us with the peace of mind to hope for the best.

This week’s focus is mental preparedness. This is one of the hardest aspects of preparedness to prepare for, mainly because it is intangible. We cannot buy self-awareness, so it is often overlooked. Mental preparedness is essential to any preparedness plan. However, if you are not mentally prepared for disasters and unaware of how you cope with and best perform under stress, it will make adapting to a crisis all the more difficult.

 Many of you have asked me to post the previous newsletters online, and I have just finished loading them up for you to read. You can view them here. In a week or so, I will have a banner on my homepage for you to access the information more easily. Thank you again for the suggestion!

Don’t forget to see what we’re up to on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. I like to interact with fellow preppers, and Facebook and Twitter are ways that I can connect with you personally. While you are at it, share the prepared love. Invite your friends and family to read Ready Nutrition and help build our community.


Regards,

Tess Pennington


PREP OF THE WEEK

Week 15 of 52: Mental Preparedness

Mental preparedness implies possessing the right frame of mind to handle stress before, during and after a disaster. This aspect of preparedness is directly connected to spiritual preparedness. Spiritual preparedness strengthens based on the established core belief system that guides and serves you throughout your walk of life. Once your spirit is prepared, you will become more mentally prepared for dealing with a disaster situation.

Mental preparedness sounds great, you may say, but stress has a physical toll on the body, how can we prepare for that? Understanding chemical and biological reactions to stress will shed some light on how stress affects us all. Biologically speaking, stress or anxiety (especially after an unexpected event) leads to a short-term imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. This leads to physical and emotional reactions to stress.  For tips on how to curb these natural reactions and reduce stress, click here.

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One principle you must keep in mind when dealing with emergencies is that change is inevitable. Change is the one true constant in this universe, yet it is something we tend to stress about and avoid all together. Many do not handle stress well because they are unprepared to deal with what has been thrown at them. They are resistant to change. This rigidity will only hinder them from finding solutions. Disasters bring change and a lot of it. An aspect of mental preparedness, therefore, is learning to be more fluid and respectful of change in your day-to-day life. This ease in movement and acceptance of change will help you adapt more quickly to all situations. The more flexible you learn to be, the more adaptable you will be in an emergency.

We have all heard that practice makes perfect. One way to be mentally prepared for situations of extreme stress, therefore, is to practice rehearsal drills. Consistent practice will turn your life-saving plans into muscle memory. This rehearse-to-be-ready concept is how many emergency personnel and even athletes train to condition their mind and body. This could make all the difference when stress is sending your neurotransmitters out of whack. Even implementing stress relief techniques when responding to daily stress helps. The daily “minor disasters” give valuable insight into your mental and physical reaction to stressors, allowing you to know how you best perform under pressure.

Preps To Buy For Week 15:

The best way to begin increasing mental preparedness is through knowledge and practice. Read, watch, and walk through any information on disaster preparedness you can get your hands on. Enhance your mental and literal survival library. Increasing your knowledge of disasters will increase your perspective of your preparedness options. The Survival Blog has some excellent suggestions for survival literature and movies that you could watch. Here are some learning suggestions that I have found helpful:

  • Start learning about disasters, how people are affected by them and the dangers they may encounter.
  • Research first-hand accounts of survivor stories and recent disasters to learn what the victims came up against and how they survived.
  • Invest in some survivor literature such as: Patriots by James Wesley Rawles, One Second After by William R. Forstchen, Lights Out by David Crawford, the Left Behind series by William Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
  • Watch some survival/apocalyptic movies such as, The Day After Tomorrow, The Road, Jericho, Survivors, The Book of Eli, or Outbreak.
  • Watch disaster documentaries.
  • Discuss disaster scenarios and plans with other like-minded individuals. This is a great way for you to be aware of your community, your plans, and your current state of being.  
  • To be even more thorough, find out what disaster plans your community has in place so that you can plan more accordingly.

Action Items:

1. Decide which emergencies and disasters you need to be mentally prepared for.


2. Take some time and brainstorm potential disaster scenarios from this list. What stands in your way of preparedness? Think about how your family could be affected, what types of dangers you may face as a result of being in these disasters, etc., and find ways to be prepared respecting your mental reaction to stressors.

3. Talk to prepared friends and families to see how they prepare prepared in order to get some fresh ideas. Talking helps get out the kinks, provides a support network, and prevents you from repressing any underlying concerns or fears you may have.


WHAT WE’RE UP TO

In Our Home:

It’s interesting how quickly children can adapt to a given situation. Due to the dangerous heat index, my kids are unable to go outside. We typically take them outside in the evening, but from the times of 8 a.m.-6 p.m., they do not want to go out. As a result, they do more arts and crafts, and have been playing and acting out stories to pass the time. They are accepting their present reality and going with the flow. Seeing this gives me some relief that if there were a SHTF scenario, they would adapt more quickly to the situation than other individuals would.

Family Preps:

My husband went out to a local camping store and stocked up on some emergency water items. He came home with a Hiker Pro Katadyn microfilter, a new backpack for himself, some potable water tablets, and flavored effervescent electrolyte drink tabs for the kids bug out bags.

We are also discussing contacting some local farms in the area to stock up on honey and some raw milk. Last year I bought 50 lbs. of honey for a little over $100 and it lasted up for an entire year. We are running out and it’s time to stock up.

Outdoor Activities:

 About a month or so ago, I started a compost pile using some old cardboard boxes, kitchen scraps and lawn clippings. I layered them up and left them to compost. I called it my lazy compost pile because I essentially left it to decompose on it’s own. So far, it’s a success. All the greens and browns are composting well, however, I did break down and aerate the pile. Compost piles need a good circulation of oxygen to help break down the materials, so I had to step in and do a little work. It’s looking great and I can’t wait to add it to my garden beds this fall when I make more lasagna layers.

I have taken some pictures of the progress in the compost heap, so I will write an article in the near future with the pictures attached. So stay tuned!


RECENT ARTICLES

In case you missed this week’s article, be sure to read this:

How To Stay Cool During Rolling Black Outs


STATS AND FACTS

Here are five ways to mentally prepare yourself for dealing with a crisis.

1. Have a plan. Have emergency plans and protocols in place before the disaster or crisis occurs.  Additionally, have important contact phone numbers included in your plan. Stressful situations tend to make people more forgetful. Prepare for this forgetfulness and have everything in place ahead of time.

2. Practice. The best way to get the brain to perform under extreme stress is to repeatedly run it through rehearsals beforehand.  Turn to the military’s advice in the form of Eight P’s, “Proper prior planning and preparation prevents piss-poor performance.”

Use daily stressors as constructive preparation. Delve inside your personal response the next time a stressful situation knocks on your door. Knowing your personal stress response mannerisms can propel you to the next level of preparedness. Introspection allows us to learn how we handle certain stressors, so we know to seek support in situations where we might not be able to support ourselves.

  • Do you panic? Slow your breathing down and remember that you are prepared. Ensure that everyone is safe and then begin handling the situation.
  • Do you freeze up? Remember that you are prepared and that you can handle the issue at hand – in micro-movements. One step at a time and the problem will be solved.
  • Do you react emotionally? Take a moment and breath deeply to calm down.

3. Live through the problem.  Don’t let the disaster define who you are and take over your life. Accepting it as your present reality and learning how to deal with it will help you adapt to the problem that much faster.

4. Prepare for the unexpected based on how you respond to stress. You must be truthful and ask yourself how you would react to a sudden disaster. Would you panic? Would you start delegating? How have you dealt with emergencies in the past? Once you have the answer to this, begin preparing accordingly. For example, if you feel that you would not be clear headed when dealing with a disaster, have an emergency plan, evacuation plans, and even phone list in the home, in the car and programmed in cell phones to have on hand.

5. Prepare for the expected. I always tell my children there are never any problems, only solutions that haven’t been found yet. Mentally prepare by searching for some of the solutions now. Start reading about them and research what happened to disaster victims during hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Finding solutions to any problems that may threaten your area or home and knowing what items you need to survive will help you in your preparation efforts.


 

LETTERS TO TESS

One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: getprepped@readynutrition.com

This week’s question addresses storing flour:

How do you keep bugs from getting into your stored flour?

William

Answer:

Hi William,
 
You asked in an email how to prevent bugs from getting into your flour. I have found that using a multi-barrier approach to storing food helps a lot with this. I have also heard of people freezing their flour for 3 days to kill off any bugs that may already be in the flour. Some people have even cooked the flour at a very low setting on their oven for the same reason.
 
If you want to learn more about this,  I wrote an article about how to keep bugs out of your stored goods:
 
Meet Your Emergency Foods Worst Enemies 
 
I hope this helps,
 
Tess

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on August 5th, 2011

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