Sunday, January 4, 2015

Three Foundations of Self-Reliance

Your self-reliance, as well as any preparations to survive any future disasters or crisis, rests on a foundation made up of three aspects - the mental/emotional, the physical, and the financial. No matter how well-thought out your plans, how many skills you have acquired, or how much stuff you've stockpiled, without a solid foundation you will be in deep trouble, if not quickly dead, in any crisis.

The mental/emotional aspect is, in my opinion, the single most important aspect of being self-reliant and prepared. All you planning, skills, and stockpiles will be useless to you if you panic, freeze up, or otherwise "fall apart" during a disaster or crisis. You will make poor decisions (or no decisions) that will endanger yourself, and your family, if you cannot think in a crunch.

The ability to not panic, stay focused, and think clearly in any crisis is obviously crucial. But, how do you develop your abilities in this area? Here is a quick summary of my Prepping Your Mental Health article from last year (please read the full article for more details):

  1. Develop a healthy spirituality
  2. Reconnect with your spouse
  3. Reconnect with family, friends, & neighbors
  4. Weed out toxic people from your life
  5. Get rid of your addictions
  6. Relax, Life. Enjoy life.
  7. Reduce stress
  8. Connect/reconnect with the natural world
  9. Get enough sleep on a consistent basis
  10. Be a life-long learner

Most of these ideas revolve around building positive relationships in your life (with God, spouse, family, friends...) which will build you up, and getting rid of problems that drag you down (toxic people, addictions, unnecessary stress, poor sleep habits...).

Of these, I really consider ones relationship with God to be the most crucial. My relationship with God gives me great comfort, encouragement, strength, and purpose. I really do believe "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

           "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." -- Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

The physical aspect includes your health and fitness. I am constantly amazed at the number of so-called preppers who are quite overweight and badly out-of-shape. Many are still heavy smokers. Worse, they are often doing nothing about it. The excuses flow like beer at a frat party - genetics, bad knees, no time, too hard,I'll get around to it later, even "I'll live off my body fat long after those skinny people are dead."

Folks, ten years ago I topped out at over 330 pounds, and was badly out of shape. Today, I'm down to 210 pounds and in much better shape. I've still got work to do, but I am doing it. Health and fitness is, and will remain, a major area of focus for me.

Don't know where to start? Here are the basics:

  1. Stop smoking and/or abusing drugs and alcohol - Need help to stop smoking? Visit the CVS Quit Smoking website and/or the Quit Smoking webpage of the American Cancer Society. Need help with alcohol addiction? See the AA website. Drug addiction? See the Narcotics Anonymous website. 
  2. Get adequate sleep on a consistent basis - See my webpage on the importance of sleep
  3. Eat healthy - Generally speaking, try to avoid highly-processed, industrial foods. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, and poultry. I personally try to follow the Mediterranean diet (link is to a Mayo Clinic webpage) as closely as possible. 
  4. Be physically active everyday - most experts recommend at least one hour of moderate exercise per day. This doesn't have to be in a gym or exercise class. Walking, biking, jogging, swimming, yard work, and gardening all work just fine. 
  5. Visit you doctor and dentist on a regular basis - What constitutes "regular check-ups" depends on your age & health conditions and should be mutually decided on by you and your doctor.

Dr. Weil's book 8 Weeks to Optimum Health is a really good resource, in my opinion, and a program I followed with success.

            "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who
             is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 
             you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." --
             1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The financial aspect is also very important, and one some people unfortunately choose to ignore. In fact, I get the feeling some folks are hoping for an economic collapse that will end up being a financial reset for them, eliminating the debt they are already in. I seriously doubt it is going to happen that way. Besides, even if a complete economic collapse happens, we need to be able to pay our bills until then.

We all know the basics we should be doing financially. Spend less than you make. Get on a budget or spending plan. Avoid new debt. Pay off old debt. Reduce your expenses. Build some emergency savings. Get adequate insurance with a financially sound company. Improve your job skills and make yourself more employable.

All much easier said than done. Here are some articles of mine to help you get started:

Prepping 101: Finances - Get Back To Basics - A mega article crammed with information and details.

Top Ten Ways To Save Big Money - These ideas will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

            "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." --
            Proverbs 22:7

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