While defending your family and property from outside danger is important, you have to be in the right mindset to contend with psychological threats too. Burnout, anxiety, and other mental health issues can negatively affect your response in the most critical situations.
How can you improve your health and protect the people you care about most? Understanding psychological threats is vital. Here are six issues survivalists deal with and how to combat them.
People typically associate burnout with office jobs and the long hours needed for meetings, but this psychological threat can also happen with survivalists. Daily stressors like protecting your family, securing food and resources, and performing repetitive maintenance around the property can become overwhelming and lead to burnout. This mental fatigue can be dangerous and lead to compromised safety for you and your family.
Dealing with burnout can be challenging, so determination is crucial to break through. Try mindfulness exercises — such as meditation and yoga — in quiet settings to reset your focus and reenergize your body.
Another option is to disconnect from what’s contributing to your burnout. Find fun hobbies to distract from these daily activities and motivate yourself to keep going. For example, many survivalists train for a HAM radio license and the exam you are required to pass. Allocating daily time to study can be a worthwhile distraction from the day’s chores.
Stress is a part of life you’ll have a hard time avoiding. While some stress is helpful, excess levels can harm your mental and physical health. A 2020 Health Psychology study says a strong correlation exists between psychological stress and disease development, emphasizing the need to care for your body. This mental threat could come from finances or other dire scenarios, so finding healthy mitigation tactics is key for your long-term health.
Physical activity is one of the best solutions for battling stress. Moving your body helps your brain release endorphins and make you feel relaxed despite the energy exertion. Thankfully, exercise is customizable and can change depending on your abilities. You can even do stretches in bed if the weather is too lousy for outdoor activities.
Anxiety is a common theme for survivalists due to the realistic threats that exist. The world could devolve into chaos in the blink of an eye due to SHTF scenarios, making preparation crucial. Worrying about these situations is normal, but a point comes when the anxiety is overwhelming. This psychological threat can be detrimental by compromising your sleep and, thus, your decision-making.
Coping with anxiety is challenging because predicting when it arrives is hard. Easy workouts like walking are good because they distract your mind with physical activity. Try deep breathing exercises for short-term mitigation, considering their accessibility. If the anxiety feels overwhelming, contact a psychiatrist for their assistance. These professionals can prescribe medication or specific therapies to reduce your stress.
Some survivalists live in urban areas, while others find the most remote areas possible for their safety. Going off the grid has benefits, such as producing electricity through solar power, self-sufficiency with food, and living a more peaceful life. However, this rural living may mean you don’t have neighbors and must drive for miles before seeing your friends.
An isolated lifestyle can bring adverse effects, such as substance abuse. Some survivalists may use alcohol or drugs to cope with isolation, and this issue is more common and less detectable than you think. Experts say more than 70% of adults abusing drugs or alcohol have full or part-time jobs.
Combating isolation can be challenging, so leaning into your most trusted outlets is crucial. Find time to have regular chats with family and friends — even if they live in other parts of the world. These conversations are critical for giving your body the social support it needs. Psychologist Abraham Maslow said social interaction is among your most basic human needs, so connections are more important than ever when you feel isolated.
Past experiences make you more resilient and teach you valuable lessons you can use in the future. However, the downside is you may face trauma that’s hard to shake. For example, you may have survived a natural disaster but lived through its impact on your community. Your trauma may conjure memories of past home invasions or losing loved ones. Survivalists must cope with these challenging psychological threats healthily.
While each person’s trauma is different, finding productive methods for coping is essential. Self-care is among the most accessible ways to deal with this, including a healthy diet, meditation and connections with nature. Time heals most wounds, but you may need to seek professional help. Some survivalists adopt cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), a treatment that shifts your mind away from unhelpful thinking and behaviors.
Grief is among the most challenging psychological threats because it involves losing a loved one. Survivalists may wonder what they could have done differently to help and show isolating behavior. Among other effects, grief can lead to reduced sleep, a loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating on daily tasks. While it’s a natural emotion, finding the strength to move on is critical.
Dealing with grief can take weeks or months, so identify worthwhile ways to lessen the burden. These examples demonstrate common ways to grieve:
– Write letters
– Lean on your religious or spiritual beliefs for guidance
– Join a support group
– Plant a tree in honor of someone
– Find hobbies that give you purpose
If you face any of these six psychological threats, remind yourself you’re not alone — many others share the same struggles. While mental health issues are challenging parts of life, finding healthy ways to cope can make them easier to handle.
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