It’s the end of the world, as we know it. Do you feel fine?
Chances are, like nearly everyone else in the world, you don’t feel particularly fine. But this pandemic will pass, and our lives will eventually return to some semblance of normalcy. By “some semblance”, we mean that we’ll never forget this year, and how frightened some of us were. Like the generation that survived the Great Depression, our habits will be changed forever. Most of us will go the rest of our lives keeping just a little extra toilet paper around, even 20 years down the road.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and although we don’t recommend going full Bushcraft Survival Grizzly Adams Innawoods style, there are a few good ideas we can lift from the Doomsday Prepper crowd, and apply them to our lives such that when Yellowstone does finally blow, we can be a little less fearful and a little comfier as we pretend the ashfall is just some beautiful, harmless snow.
For now, we’ll leave aside the food storage, water, guns, fallout shelters, and combat medic hero stuff. Let’s talk calming your nerves underneath that glorious mushroom cloud.
What better way to calm down than enjoying a beautiful spring day? When the apocalypse prevents you from getting carrots at the store, you can still make carrot-ade. No matter how little room you have, you can grow a garden to augment your food. Everything from growing a small pot of basil on a windowsill, to a quarter-acre French-intensive backyard garden – every bit of food you can grow yourself is one more day you don’t have to hose down your biohazard suit to head to the store. Assuming, of course, that there’s still a store.
Gardening has been a relaxing hobby since time immemorial. There’s something fundamentally soothing about being close to the Earth, so not only will you augment your food supplies, but you’ll likely feel much better doing so. For extra comfort, you can ditch the heavy boots. A nice pair of garden clogs and some Alynn Socks under a nice Spring sun can really help alleviate those post-Apocalyptic blues.
For centuries, the most important item for soldiers, explorers, pioneers, and anyone else separated from civilization has always been a basic deck of cards, and for very good reason. We are creatures who don’t deal well with boredom, and we find ourselves wired to always seek distraction and entertainment. Remove the opportunity for entertainment, and we get a little crazy. Sometimes, a lot crazy. And crazy is not something we need when the End of Days are here.
Before the EMP takes the power grid down, try to embrace non-video-gaming. Tabletop gaming has made a major resurgence in recent years, driven by all manner of creative Kickstarter campaigns. Check out some of these campaigns. Get a couple packs of cards and re-learn how to play Old Maid or Crazy Eights. Everyone’s got at least one Dungeons & Dragons or Warhammer 40k player in their circle of friends. Buy them a beer, or pair of cool socks and keep them close. One day they might just save your sanity when it’s day #23, deep in an abandoned mineshaft, hiding from the alien colony ships with nothing to do.
Why We Do This
Panic and overreaction happen when we’re under stress, particularly the type of stress that deals with the unknowns of survival and possible existential threats. It’s a perfectly natural reaction, but it also leads us to make very poor choices that, paradoxically, drive us further away from the goals we seek.
It’s critically important that at times of high worry and stress, we find ways to mitigate it. When we’re calm, we think more clearly and correctly. Get comfy. Get a little bit lazy. Don’t feel guilty for doing so. Unless the zombies literally just kicked your door in. Then, you run your ass off.