Mental Health during Social Distancing
So, if you’re reading this around the time that I’m writing it, then you’re probably caught up in the pandemic. You’re probably spending most, if not all, of your time at home. You might be unemployed and worried about how you are going to get by. Perhaps, you are worried about your health and the health of your loved ones. Basically, there are a lot of reasons to worry and a lot of reasons to feel powerless in the enormity of this situation.
One of my interests is in survival skills, and prepping for a pandemic is something that comes up quite a bit in survivalism circles. Not only do we talk about our physical survival, but also have we can maintain a healthy, positive mindset during troubles. So, here are some of the tips to help with your mental health in a situation like this.
Let’s say you’re out hiking alone in the woods and discover you are lost. Perhaps you got off the trail for a bit and couldn’t find it again. The sun is going down, and it’s getting cold.
The first thing to do is sit down. It may sound strange, but when the reality of being lost hits someone, panic can set in. Panic is never a good response. You can’t think straight, you can’t problem-solve, and your mind immediately goes to the worst-case scenario regardless of how ridiculous it might sound to a rational person. Sometimes, people will start to run in hopes of finding something familiar. Then they get even more lost and possibly injured.
Sit down before panic can drive you to do something stupid. It is better to stay at home and do nothing than go out into the world in a panic.
The next thing to do is take stock of what you have. Open up your backpack, empty your pockets, measure how much food and water you have with you. Everything becomes important because everything you have is what is going to get you through that situation. It is pointless to lament what you don’t have. You don’t have it, and crying about it isn’t going to change that fact.
Perhaps it is getting cold, and you will have to spend the night out in the woods. It would be nice to have a tent and a sleeping bag, but this was a day trip, and you didn’t bring any of that with you. But you have a knife! Maybe a small pocket knife rather than some Rambo survival knife, but with that knife, you can cut some branches out of trees and make a bed. Then you can pull dried leaves over you. Not the best in the world but better than sleeping on the cold ground.
Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Then, you’ll start to realize how much you can control your situation. Even in the worst-hit countries during this pandemic, the water is still clean, the lights are still on, the internet is still running. Eventually, the food will be put back on the shelves, and you will be allowed to go out and get it.
What about boredom? It’s a silent killer. Tom Brown, the grandfather the survivalism movement, discussed this in many of his books. After a survivor has built their shelter, found a water source, and built a fire, there isn’t much else to do except get food. Sometimes that isn’t even a problem. Then the survivor is just sitting around with nothing to do.
This is not good for humans. We have very powerful brains that need to stay active. According to Tom Brown, the best thing to do is to make traps. Make many traps, set them around, and hope something walks into it that you can eat. But, just keep your brain working. Sing a song, draw pictures in the dirt, rename all the star constellations after your favorite basketball players. Don’t care, just do something.
If you are stuck at home and there is nothing else to do, then keep your brain busy. Got a project around the house you’ve been meaning to get to? Start on it. Have a stack of books you have been meaning to read? Read them. Always dreamed of writing a novel but didn’t know how? Get on the computer and start writing. Got a pile of crafting supplies that you haven’t touched in years? Start crafting! Then make an account on etsy.com or KDP.com and start selling your creative goodies.
The most important thing to remember is that this will all be over. At the time of writing this, the pandemic has just started around the world. I don’t know how long it will last, and I don’t know what the world is going to look like on the other side. But, I can tell you that every pandemic, even the worst ones, comes to an end. And as pandemics go, this isn’t that bad.
If you take care of yourself, physically and mentally, then you can help take care of others. If we all help each other, then we will get through this just fine. We will be stronger as individuals, as a country, and as a species