Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Being Overwhelmed

(Image by Stephen Poff.

    I cannot tell you how many people who are interested in preparedness have told me that they are totally overwhelmed lately.  They cite many reasons for this.   Many are financially challenged.  They know they need to prepare for inflation and for natural disasters, but they lack the funds to prepare as they might wish.  Others speak of being overwhelmed by the barrage of concerning financial news on television and radio.  I am afraid I may not have helped much, in that regard, with an entire blog series examining the possibility of an American financial collapse. Others complain about being stressed over having inadequate storage to store supplies they know they need for their children and extended families.  Others are sick and tired of rotating stock.

        Sadly, the shorter of money you are, the more important it is to prepare adequately for natural disasters and for inflation. Imagine how much better things in New Orleans post Katrina would have been if families who were short of money stocked even a few dollars worth of bottled water and six packs of ginger ale, from The Dollar Tree ?   Wal-Mart Pharmacies also have a section with peroxide, alcohol, sanitary napkins, and other supplies in a section for eighty-eight cents each   It takes some planning but those on fixed incomes, can also put together first forty eight hour kits, then 72 hours kits, and then longer term emergency supplies.   Sometimes the people who are financially challenged and thought out their preparedness needs better than the rest of us.  Also, a lot of preparedness is about preparedness education.  It is not always necessary to actually buy the books on our look listing, or on anyone elses.  Sometimes, borrowing them from the library and reading them and returning them is the best strategy, and costs little or nothing.   If after reading them in the library you find a few that you would like to own, you can go to   or and pay a fraction of the price you might pay elsewhere.
         I will be honest about being concerned myself regarding the possibilities for inflation or even collapse of the American government following the actions of the Federal Reserve with regard to "quantitative easing".  However, we have no choice but to set aside concerns about the machine of which you and I have no control, and direct our attentions and our preparations to the things in which we do. Our own preparations are one of the things of which we do have control.   Some time ago, I decided that I would use three certain foreign news groups for information, and that I would limit my dose of the news to a certain period of time daily.  I found that the barrage of bad news 24/7 was coloring how I looked at the world, and that this was not positive.

Emergency Supply Cabinet   I have one of these, but it's not orange. It's a lockable office cabinet I bought from a discount office supplier.  Mine is tan.

               I may be first to coin the terms preparedness stress and preparedness burn out.   Preparedness stress would be experiencing stress, fear or being overwhelmed at the prospects of all you believe you must do in order to properly prepare for the potentials in your area or living environment.  Preparedness burn out would be when this stress reaches a sufficient pitch that you set preparing aside for awhile, out of frustration and being unclear as to how to prepare next. There is plenty we can do in order to cope with these issues.   First, realize that preparation is a careful lifestyle, and that there is no specific date where we reach a point where we say......."There !  We are done" and we never look at it again.   It is a purposeful way to live and to protect one's family.   It is also a very broad topic.   One month you might be gathering some water, another you might be gathering medical records and medication listings. One month you might be getting HAM radio certification, and another you might be getting CPR certification. If you are moving in three months, amassing more supplies might be unwise, and so you might use spare time for educational pursuits in preparedness, rather than the gathering of "stuff". Preparedness asks us to be flexible, and work toward being prepared for the unanticipated, even if what we are planning for, does not transpire for years. I was certified in CPR originally in 1978. I did not use it for the first time, until 1980. I did not do infant CPR on one of my children, for near miss SIDS, until 1990.   Preppers plan for things which may not happen for many years, or may never happen at all.  We must prepare without pressuring ourselves unduly. As with life, the journey is important here, not necessarily the destination.

           So, very simply, when you are out of money with which to prep, either organize your supplies, or read a book on emergency medical care.  When you anticipate money to spend on preps, consider in advance the best use of your money, and list and compare possibilities and prices.  When all you have for preps is ten dollars, visit a garage sale.  A friend of mine saw a very reasonable Bell motorcycle helmet which could be useful in their area, for their child, come tornado season.  When you are out of money, check out discarded items.  Although "dumpster diving" can be illegal in some municipalities, in some places very good quality things are tossed out.  In the name of recycling, you should rescue them.   When you need to, simply take a break and spend time with the people you wish to protect.  Find ways to recharge your own batteries.  Remember the way of life you wish to protect.  I promise you, that continuing to prep properly over many years, can be done.


  Of course, written and released after this particular post is my book:

Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness

which is designed to prepare families quickly and simply for varietal issues.    It is calmly and directly written and designed to help break down preparedness tasks in a reasonable manageable fashion.

The book can also be purchased on   at:


kymber said...

Jane - this is a part of prepping that i think gets overlooked. people want to prep, they learn how to prep but they simply lack the money to be able to do it "all at once". i think that for a lot of people, after learning about prepping and thinking it is a good idea to prep - they become overwhelmed with needing to stock a year's worth of food, all of the necessary medical/hygiene supplies, needing to learn how to can, growing a garden, bugging out - etc. ad nauseum! it is overwhelming and stressful.

people need a calm approach and they need to do everything slowly and within their means. blog posts like this one are really helpful. i wonder if i might ask you to do a series of posts on "the first steps in prepping - how to make a 24hr bag for everyone in your household and for cheap". and then the next would be "how to make a 48hr bag for everyone in your household" - etc. this would continue until you came to posts about "how to have 3 days worth of food for everyone in your household" and "how to build a medical supply", etc.

i know that you have covered many of these topics already...however, i find that your calm and serious writing-style to be soothing and not overwhelming. and i would like to see you write some "baby-step" posts - i do not mean that in a demeaning way to the readers - i mean that there are a lot of doom and gloomers out there and they are scaring and overwhelming people. i think that you have an experienced, mature, maternal, intelligent voice that can help people who want to prep but don't know where to properly begin because they are being told to build a bunker!!!!

you don't have to publish this comment - and you have my permission to edit it....but if you decided to do posts like the ones mentioned above - i would highlight those posts on our blog for some of my internet friends who do feel overwhelmed, stressed and burned out.

you are an incredible teacher and you have much to share. i think it would be fantastic if you did a series of posts like that.

your friend, and a very great admirer of your skills and experience,

JaneofVirginia said...

Kymber, I could definitely do episodic posts on how to begin. Thanks for your kind words. Most of the people who log on here are experienced preppers and they log on for a different point of view. I have already done the post on the first medical supplies and on adding to the first medical supplies etc. Most of the posts are in response to something someone has asked me to research and post on, but I agree with you. I think we can be even more inclusive than we are.
Love to you and Jam.

Gorges Smythe said...

Good post. There's a young man that I work with that's stressing out over all the politics that are causing these problems. I'm trying to get him to understand that you can't EVER get rid of all the crooks, but you can stay calm and keep plugging away as best you can. Trying to do more will drive you insane. Eventually, the Lord will sort it all out anyway - maybe sooner than later.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, I agree. When my adult kids stress over something, I often tell them that we must direct our attention to the things we can control. I also tell them that I have no illusions of control over most things. I often joke that the only thing of which I am in control is my bladder, and I read that eventually that might change too ! I honestly sleep very well. I do what I can during the day, and then I sleep like a baby. God is going to be up all night anyway.