All of us are hopelessly inundated with things that stress us out. Here are some tips to cope with stress, particularly in a SHTF scenario.
I am assuming you are not alone. Being alone in a SHTF situation could be lethal. If that is part of your situation, I hope you band together with another single person or group to help you cope. None of us, has all the skills necessary to survive and THRIVE in the woods. One of us can fall into a crevice, or out of a tree when harvesting, or get a deep cut and be bleeding, or simply be ill with a bad bout of diarrhea and unable to forage or get water. Diarrhea was such a constant part of frontier life, since their diet was altered through a lack of roughage, or as illness set in, or if they drank bad water. They were far more prepared than we are.
If single, you will greatly destress, if you make plans now and find a like-minded person who is preparing, and that adds vital skills that you do possess. Make a list of what you think is important. Crack open some Foxfire books, and do a reality check of all the things that actually are important. There's far more important skills than a single person could possess.
When in the wild, we miss our routine. Little things happen at certain times. Maybe you take a smoke and a coffee break at a certain time, watch a recorded episode of “Breaking Bad” at a certain time, eat a cinnamon raisin bagel every Sunday before church, whatever. All our routines will be gone, and we'll generate new ones. These stress out people. You must make some new routines, and especially take care to make some routines that make you feel fulfilled, happy, and boost your morale. You'll be doing those things for your group too.
A few kind words, a bit of well-deserved praise, group recognition, a sweet unexpected kiss or hug, a massage to rub tired muscles, a specially prepared meal, a shared memory or story around the fire, sincerely communicated love with eye contact, all will be the most valuable things that the group will share.
Stressed people get sick. Think back to college. Remember right before Finals. You were studying like a mad person, concentrating on lots of information and trying to recall it, not eating or sleeping right, and you got sick, at least once as a result. Does any of that sound analogous to dealing with a SHTF scenario?
The solution to most of that is either more affection, or to simply recognizing that a group member is doing one of the mentioned things that can make people sick.
People crave physical affection, at least most of us. There are some through mental differences than need less, or want less. Most of us love to be held, stroked, touched, and cared for. Some people believe, and I am one, that many elderly folks and children decline because they are not touched enough. Not touching someone makes them feel ostracized. They become acutely aware that they are alone.
I wonder how many marriages would last longer if a nightly massage, that was sincerely and lovingly done, was alternated between partners? Can you imagine the closeness and tenderness from doing this? Sadly, I have been a giver more than a receiver. Where's my dream woman? :)
In early medicine, prior to 1920, massage was a regular part of any medical practice. Massage moves the lymph throughout the system. It moves blood into uncirculated areas. It stimulates endorphins in the brain promoting a sense of well-being. When massaging someone, you are looking at the quality of a person's skin, hair, nails and color, and all of these give clues to overall health.
If someone is older or simply is diabetic, then the circulation of blood to the extremities is less efficient. A huge amount of illness could be detected in very early stages, by simply massaging and checking people prone to diabetes or checking the feet and legs of older folks.
The only people who should not be massaged are sick people with a bacterial or viral infection. Almost everyone else can benefit. It will be one of the primary ways to destress, and give affection, and improve health, in a SHTF world.
If alone, you can massage yourself. All jokes aside, doing a deliberate and thorough massage can be done systematically from head to toes in about twenty minutes and will give you a lift.
In a serious situation, we will be working a lot to acquire supplies that normally take minimal time at the grocery or hardware store. We'll be making tools that we would simply purchase. Much of life will become drudgery. The harder people work, the more people need play. What one person defines as play is different than what another does.
A child will want some time off from chores. If younger they may want to play a game. If older they may feel a lack of privacy is making them insane. Give them some space.
A woman may be working so hard to hold things together and center a family that she's worn down to a nub, like a worn pencil. Build her back up with things like massages, cooking so she doesn't have to, gathering the firewood so she doesn't, lavish praise, romance, sweet teasing and joking that builds her up, and making special things that are non-necessities. Flowers are always welcome and abundant. Tell her she is beautiful even if she is not. Mean it sincerely.
A man may need to hear from his wife that she respects what he's accomplished for the family. He may need praise for bringing in game, it's not his job, no more than cooking is her's. Rub his shoulders, sneak off and have sex, wash in a lake together or heat up some water and do so. Make a meal alone, and send the kids off with a meal, just not too far off. Tell him he is handsome even if he is not.
The group will benefit from special meals, sports, long naps, taking each other's watches out of kindness, special things that help people based upon individual need.
If you find a talent in doing something, and it makes the group more efficient, and you can use that talent occasionally to make something special, then they'll appreciate it. They'll appreciate greater based upon their lack of ability.
Stressed people make mistakes. Sometimes they can be lethal. Stress leads to poor or incomplete or disturbed sleep. Combine a lack of sleep with stress and it can lead to terrible mistakes in the field, especially with watches.
Obviously eating a full meal, a warm fire, relaxing and soothing words, massages, rubbing your fingers through someone's hair, all relax people so they can sleep. A drop of essential oil from something light like lemon oil, is a very centering soothing smell. Little things like that can easily make a child or spouse nod off. You lend them your time and energy, and help them sleep, and then hope that when you need a little help, they'll return the favor.
Getting people all hyped up before bedtime with wild unsubstantiated rumor is the worst thing you can do. Some people are apt to spread rumors. You must talk to them, as it is infectious. Most of the time, the worst doesn't happen. Telling ghost stories to already scared kids is stupid. It can be fun on occasion, if they can handle it or like it. Now is not the time.
When people make mistakes, deal with it maturely. If it happens again, ratchet up the consequences appropriately. If you say something is the consequence, then that must be the consequence. Failure to follow through leads to more mistakes. Not punishing someone confuses them. Discipline must be maintained, creating order. Things can be looser and relaxed if there is some order. No one should ever completely relax, hence watches are done.