In my last blog I wrote about three developmental stages that every prepper goes through: Ignorance, Awareness, and Action. Ignorance is bliss, but it can get you killed. Awareness is enlightening, but it can also be frightening, at least as it applies to awareness of threats. Awareness can either paralyze you or propel you to action.
For those who become preppers, the Action stage comes next. The Action stage – that’s the one that’s a real doozy. Prepping is based on the premise that something bad is going to happen. When that bad thing happens, how well you’ve prepared ahead of time will largely determine how well you’ll be able to ride it out. And so you keep plugging away at it, storing products that you hope you’ll never need and learning new skills to be ready to face potential future challenges. The Action stage never ends.
At some point, all this activity begins to wear you down and you discover Stage Four in the life of a prepper — Prepper fatigue. If you’ve been prepping for a while, chances are good that you’ve experienced prepper fatigue to one degree or another.
I haven’t been prepping for all that long, but it’s already happened to me. There are times when I just get tired of it. The fatigue comes from three different directions — mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion.
- There’s often a flush of excitement with some new aspect of prepping, but it can easily become overwhelming. There is so much to learn, so much to do, so much to buy, and so much to maintain (both supplies and skills). It can wear you down. I enjoy learning new things…but continually pursuing new skills is mentally exhausting. I work in the computer industry and used to love it when software was upgraded or I got a new computer. Nowadays, I’m more likely to feel tired at the thought of the upgrade than I am to be excited. It’s the same with prepping sometimes.
- Prepping can be emotionally exhausting. Preppers are continually being torn between pessimism and hope. I’m a Boomer. I grew up in an era of optimism. “Every day, in every way, things are getting better and better” — or so we thought. We enjoyed a standard of living that was higher than anywhere else in the world, or at any time in human history. I grew up watching Star Trek, seeing a future where all the races got along just fine and money was never an issue. But that future got derailed. Things aren’t getting better. They’ve been bad for a while now and the prospects for the future are even worse. We’ve lost all expectation of things being better for our kids than they were for us. Pessimism has settled in, and it’s a heavy burden to bear. Pessimism is always at the forefront of my mind as I prep. I’m prepping for a global economic collapse. It’s hard to find a silver lining on that dark cloud.
- Prepping can be physically exhausting, too. If you’re new to it, it’s something that’s been added to your already full schedule. Your prepper fatigue might be caused by an overly-full schedule with not enough time for rest built in.
So how do you deal with prepper fatigue? Here are some tips:
- Take a break! Yes, you can take a break from prepping. Walk away from it for a few days or weeks or even months. Don’t read about it, don’t do anything related to it and don’t talk about it. Just enjoy your vacation from prepping. I wouldn’t worry that you won’t come back to it. The awareness that motivated you to start prepping in the first place will continue to serve you well and draw you back into it when your batteries get recharged by your time off.
- If your prepper fatigue is caused by learning too many new things, go back to one thing you already know and enjoy for a while. For example, is food what you enjoy? Review your food preps and experiment with some new food storage recipes. Practice cooking some of your recipes off the grid. Spend this month’s prepping budget on more long-term storage food.
- Sometimes our prepper fatigue comes from trying to fight the war on too many fronts all at once. Have you been doing a little bit of everything for the past year or more? While there are times when a scattergun approach is appropriate, it truly can make you feel fragmented and a little bit crazy. Take a break for a while as you focus specifically on learning and implementing just one new thing. Learning and accomplishing something new can be refreshing. Spend a period of time pursuing a different aspect of prepping — maybe ham radio, or making your own clothing, or hydroponic gardening. Drop everything else and bring laser beam focus to one task for a few weeks or months, and experience a sense of renewal.
- Enjoy your accomplishments. In prepping, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of always looking at what you haven’t prepared for or what area of your preps is lacking. Stop! Look at how far you’ve come in the time you’ve been prepping. You have so much more to do, but sometimes you need to stop looking at that and make a list of the many things you’ve already done. I still lack many skills, but I’ve also gained skills that will help me when the world falls apart.
- Work on establishing a prepper community. Prepping with a friend is not only more fun, it’s strategically wise. You can’t learn everything. You can’t do everything that needs to be done all by yourself. Join forces with a friend who shares your prepping philosophy.
Don’t let prepper fatigue kill your prepping effort. Take a break or change up what you’re doing to re-invigorate your passion for preparing yourself and your loved ones for that unknown emergency.