Common Prepping Struggles

by Tommy Grant

Preparing for potential emergencies or disasters is a lifestyle that requires individuals to be self-sufficient and ready for any situation. From natural disasters to economic hardships, prepping is about being prepared for the unexpected. However, the preparedness journey is not without its struggles. 

This article dives into the top challenges that preppers face and provides solutions to overcome them.

The Struggle of Mindset

Urgency

One of the first struggles preppers face is urgency. When disaster strikes or when we witness unsettling events in the world, the sense of impending doom can grip us along with panic and anxiety. It’s natural to feel the sympathetic nervous system-induced overwhelming desire to act immediately and rush into making decisions without careful thought. However, it’s crucial to recognize that urgency can be both a motivating force and a source of panic.

In the face of urgency, it is essential to take a step back, pause and gather our thoughts. Taking a deep breath and slowing down allows us to regain clarity and make wise decisions. Rushing into action without careful consideration can lead to mistakes and overlooked details. Remember, prepping is not a sprint but a marathon. It’s a long-term commitment to being prepared for a variety of scenarios. 

Instead of rushing into something, use that sense of urgency to fuel your dedication toward prepping, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Rather than succumbing to panic, focus on taking deliberate actions. Every step you take today, no matter how small, brings you closer to being prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. So, embrace urgency as a driving force, but ensure it doesn’t cloud your judgment or push you into hasty decisions that may have long-lasting consequences. Always remember slow and steady wins the race when it comes to prepping.

Psychological Stress

The psychological stress of being a prepper can be overwhelming. As preparedness-minded individuals, we carry the weight of constant worry and concern. The fear of the unknown, the anticipation of potential crises, and the pressure to be ready at all times can take a toll on our mental well-being and, ultimately, our preparedness. Therefore, it’s crucial to acknowledge and address these psychological stressors.

One significant challenge preppers face is the fear of being perceived as “crazy” by others. Society often stigmatizes those who take preparedness seriously, labeling them (us preppers) as paranoid or extreme. This can create a sense of isolation and internal conflict within us as individuals, especially those new to prepping. It’s important to remember that being prepared is not something to be embarrassed by or made to think is crazy. Instead, it’s a responsible choice in an unpredictable world. Confidence in our beliefs and actions helps us overcome the psychological stress of societal judgment.

While being a prepper may come with psychological stress, managing and addressing these challenges is crucial. Embrace confidence in your actions and choices, and don’t let societal judgment discourage you. Prioritize self-care and seek support from a supportive community of like-minded people. Ultimately, actively addressing the psychological stress that accompanies many people’s preparedness efforts allows us to maintain a healthy mindset and continue our preparedness journey with resilience and determination.

Secrecy

Secrecy is another struggle that preppers often face in their self-reliance journey. That’s because it can be challenging to keep one’s preparations a secret, especially when the natural urge to share and discuss our efforts with others arises. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and refrain from openly bragging about your preparations or divulging sensitive information to others. After all, you never know the motivations and personal biases of others.

When prepping, it’s best to practice what has bled over from the military into the preparedness community, “Op-Sec.” At its essence, Op-Sec, or operational security, as it was explained to me when I received my first security clearance while serving as an Army Ranger, means keeping your mouth shut. That’s because broadcasting your prepping activities to those who may not understand or appreciate the need for such measures can have unintended consequences. As such, it’s important to remember that not everyone shares your mindset, and disclosing your preparedness efforts may inadvertently draw attention to your supplies and make you a target during times of crisis. Know your audience. Don’t tell your barber about your stockpile.

With that, maintaining privacy (secrecy) about your prepping activities also involves being mindful of what you share online or in public conversations. In today’s digital age, where information spreads rapidly, it’s crucial to be cautious about the personal details you disclose on social media or in community settings. The digital footprint you leave behind can be accessed by anyone, including those who may not have your best interests at heart. By practicing discretion and keeping your preparations private, you can maintain a strategic advantage and safeguard your life-saving resources.

The Struggle of Education & Planning

Learning new skills is an important part of prepping

Skills Acquisition

Being a prepper requires acquiring a wide range of skills, from basic survival knowledge to more specialized expertise. The sheer amount of information to learn can be overwhelming. Still, it’s crucial to approach skill acquisition with determination and a growth mindset. Take advantage of various learning opportunities, whether through hands-on practice, attending classes or workshops, videos, etc. 

Learning new skills is not just about passively absorbing information but also about actively applying and refining what you learn. Practice is key. Take the knowledge you gain and put it into action—turn it into skill. Experiment with different techniques, test your abilities and learn from your experiences. It’s through this hands-on approach that skills truly become ingrained and reliable.

Building a library of reference materials is also invaluable. Books, manuals, and online resources serve as valuable references that you can consult when faced with challenges or to deepen your understanding. They provide a wealth of knowledge and guidance that you can rely on during emergencies. Don’t limit yourself to a single source—explore various resources to gain different perspectives and insights.

Remember, skill acquisition is a continuous journey. It takes time and persistence to gain knowledge and master skills. Don’t be discouraged by the initial learning curve or overwhelmed by the breadth of knowledge. Take it one step at a time, prioritize the skills that align with your specific needs and circumstances, and celebrate and take pride in each milestone you achieve along the way. By actively seeking out opportunities to learn and practicing your skills, you will gradually become a more capable and self-reliant prepper.

Planning

Planning is a crucial aspect of prepping, but it can be challenging due to information overload and a need for clarity regarding where to start and how to prioritize efforts. The key to overcoming these challenges lies in breaking down the planning process into manageable steps. By setting clear goals and defining specific tasks, you can create a roadmap for your preparedness journey.

Balancing short-term and long-term preparedness is another struggle that preppers face. While immediate needs must be addressed, it is equally essential to consider preparedness over the long term. This requires a flexible mindset and adapting plans to evolving circumstances (aka PACE planning). Managing resources effectively is crucial, as prepping involves budgeting and making informed decisions about what supplies to acquire and how to allocate them.

Additionally, regularly evaluating and revising your plan ensures its relevance as situations change over time. By staying proactive and regularly assessing your preparedness efforts, you can fine-tune your plan and enhance your overall level of readiness. Remember, planning is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to remain adaptable and open to new strategies and information.

Legal Restrictions

Legal restrictions can pose a significant challenge for preppers. Laws and regulations regarding activities such as rainwater collection, hunting, and storage can limit the ability to prepare effectively. Preppers must know and understand the legal framework in their respective areas while finding lawful ways to make the most of their preparedness.

The fact is that navigating legal restrictions requires a delicate balance. On the one hand, preppers must respect and abide by the laws in their jurisdiction to avoid legal repercussions. This means staying informed about local regulations and ensuring compliance with them. On the other hand, it is crucial to find legal alternatives to prepare within the boundaries of the law. 

That doesn’t mean you have to agree with the law. What it does mean, though, is that the law is the law, and breaking it comes with consequences that can harm your ability to prepare as effectively as possible. 

The Struggle of Health and Wellness

Maintaining Physical Fitness

Maintaining physical fitness is essential as it enables preppers to handle the physical demands of survival. Regular exercise, including cardio, strength, and endurance training, helps build strength, stamina, and flexibility. A well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains ensures proper nutrition and energy. Staying hydrated is also a crucial part of your physical fitness.

Prioritizing physical fitness not only enhances your ability to cope with the physical demands of survival but also contributes to your overall well-being. It boosts your immune system, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and improves mental clarity. So, make time for regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet to ensure you’re physically prepared for whatever challenges may come your way.

Managing Chronic Illnesses 

Managing chronic illnesses in a survival situation can present significant challenges. It’s vital to have a plan to ensure your health needs are met, even when access to medical facilities may be limited or nonexistent. This requires careful consideration and preparation. 

First and foremost, it is crucial to have regular physicals and follow-ups on any possible health concerns. It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals and research reputable resources to ensure you are making informed decisions regarding your health. Please don’t wait for possible problems to materialize, hoping they never happen. Deal with them now so they are more manageable when disaster strikes. As the old saying goes, “Bad news doesn’t get better with time.”

Next, as much as possible, stock up on necessary medications and medical supplies. Ensure you have an ample supply of prescription medications and over-the-counter medications for common ailments. Additionally, learn alternative methods for managing your condition without relying solely on medication. Explore natural remedies, herbal supplements, and other holistic approaches that can help alleviate symptoms or provide relief. 

Finally, educate yourself on techniques for self-care and symptom management. Develop a comprehensive understanding of your condition and the steps you can take to minimize its impact during a survival situation. This may involve learning about specific dietary requirements, lifestyle modifications, or even specialized exercises that can help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Remember, managing chronic illnesses in a survival situation requires proactive planning, adaptability, and a solid commitment to self-care.

Mental Health and Coping Mechanisms

Maintaining mental health and effective coping mechanisms are crucial in prepping. Why? Because we are preparing for highly stressful, prolonged disaster situations. Developing a positive mindset by cultivating optimism and focusing on solutions helps reduce anxiety. Taking breaks for relaxation and engaging in enjoyable activities can rejuvenate the mind. Building a support system within your community and involving family members in the process provides emotional support and a reassuring sense of unity. Ultimately, prioritizing mental well-being is as important as physical health in survival preparedness, strengthening resilience to face challenges confidently.

The Struggle of Physical Preps

Time management is a common prepping struggle

Time Management

Time management is a crucial aspect of prepping that many of us struggle with. With the number of tasks involved in learning new skills, planning, gathering supplies, etc., prepping can easily consume a significant amount of time. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the value of efficient time management to ensure that you can make the most out of the time you have available. You can balance your prepping and other responsibilities by effectively managing your time.

One of the critical steps in improving time management is prioritization. Use risk management to identify the most important tasks and focus your energy on them first. For example, learning critical survival skills, such as first aid or fire-making techniques, might take precedence over less immediate tasks like inventory organization. By setting clear goals and establishing priorities, you can streamline your prepping efforts and use your time better.

Remember, time management is about efficiently completing tasks and allowing yourself time for rest and relaxation. Balancing your prepping activities with other aspects of your life, such as work, family, and personal well-being, is crucial for maintaining your overall resilience. 

Financial Constraints

As most of us know, financial constraints can be a significant struggle for preppers—especially new preppers. The cost of preparing for potential emergencies or disasters can add up quickly, and not everyone has a large budget big enough to nail down all of their preps. However, it’s important to remember that prepping doesn’t have to break the bank. With careful budgeting and prioritization, you can make significant progress in your preparedness.

One way to overcome financial constraints is to create a prepping budget. Assess your current financial situation and determine how much you can realistically allocate to your monthly prepping efforts. Consider cutting back on unnecessary expenses, or find ways to save money in other areas of your life. If that doesn’t work, find ways to make extra prepping money. 

It’s also helpful to prioritize your prepping expenses. Focus on acquiring the essentials first, such as food, water, and basic medical supplies. Then gradually expand your supplies over time as your budget allows. Remember, prepping is a long-term process, and it’s better to make consistent progress within your means than to try to do everything at once and strain your finances—even worse going into debt.

The Struggle for Security

When it comes to prepping, security is a paramount concern. After all, the safety of your supplies and the well-being of your loved ones depend on it. Protecting your resources from potential threats is essential for maintaining stability in times of crisis. As such, implementing robust security measures is imperative to safeguard your preps. 

Adequate security involves a combination of physical and operational security practices. Installing surveillance cameras, securing entrances and windows, and fortifying your property‘s perimeter are all steps to deter potential intruders. Additionally, setting up alarms and motion sensors can provide early warning of any unauthorized access attempts. Try to follow the 5Ds of security: deter, detect, delay, deny, and defend. 

The security struggle goes beyond physical defenses. It extends to protecting your digital footprint as well. With increasing reliance on technology, cyber threats pose a significant risk to preppers. Safeguarding your personal information, securing your online communications, and being cautious about the information you share on social media is essential to maintaining adequate digital security.

Never Having Enough

The struggle of never having enough is a common challenge for preppers. No matter how much you stockpile, it always seems like something needs to be added or that you need more of a particular item. As preppers, our feeling of not having enough can be frustrating and overwhelming. As such, it’s essential to approach and manage it with a level-headed mindset.

On the one hand, the desire to have a mountain of supplies in prepping is understandable. After all, having extra supplies can provide a sense of security and peace of mind. However, as risk management teaches us, it’s crucial to prioritize your needs and focus on the essentials first. Instead of getting caught up in the pursuit of endless stockpiling, take a step back and assess what you truly require for survival. By identifying and working on your necessities, you can establish a solid foundation for your preparedness without going crazy.

It’s also important to stress that prepping is an ongoing process. While we would love it, you don’t need to get everything in one fell swoop. Gradual accumulation and regular reassessment of your supplies are key. By setting achievable goals and consistently working towards them, you can steadily build up your resources over time. Remember, prepping is about resilience and adaptability, so having a solid foundation and the ability to improvise with what you have can go a long way in overcoming the feeling of never having enough.

Space Constraints

Space constraints are a significant struggle for preppers, particularly in urban environments. Limited space requires creative storage solutions and efficient organization. Vertical space through wall-mounted shelves and hanging storage systems can maximize your storage capacity. Prioritizing essential items and using under-bed or off-site storage units for less frequently used supplies can help optimize your available space. It also helps to regularly assess your inventory, remove expired items, and consider downsizing or finding compact alternatives. 

Shelf Life Management

Managing the shelf life of your supplies is another struggle we often face. 

One key aspect of shelf life management is rotation. This means regularly using and replacing items to maintain a fresh supply. For example, using the first in, first out method, if you have a stock of canned goods, it’s crucial to consume the older cans first and replace them with new ones. Additionally, keeping an inventory and labeling your supplies with dates can help you track their expiration and prioritize their usage accordingly.

Another vital factor in shelf life management is proper storage. Different items have specific requirements to maintain their longevity. For instance, storing food in a cool, dry place can extend its shelf life significantly. Additionally, some supplies may require specific conditions, such as temperature-controlled environments or protection from sunlight. Understanding the storage requirements of your items and providing suitable conditions can maximize their shelf life.

The Struggle of Sustainability

Sustainable Food Production 

Sustainable food production is critical to prepping, ensuring a long-term and reliable food source. It involves generating your own food through gardening, hunting, and fishing. These skills not only provide sustenance but also offer a sense of self-sufficiency and independence.

Gardening is a fundamental practice for sustainable food production. You can have a fresh and nutritious food source at your doorstep by cultivating your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Whether you have a spacious backyard or limited space on a balcony, gardening can be adapted to any environment. Start by researching which crops are suitable for your region and climate. Learn about soil preparation, composting, and proper watering techniques. With patience and dedication, you can grow a variety of crops, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh produce for you and your family.

Honing hunting and fishing skills contributes to your sustainable food production. Hunting provides protein-rich meat from the wild, while fishing offers fish and omega-3 fatty acids. Learning about local fish and game, responsible hunting, regulations, techniques, and sustainability is essential for ensuring you succeed at putting food on the table.

Renewable Energy Sources 

For off-grid and grid-down prepping, renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower are essential. They provide sustainable alternatives to traditional energy and reduce dependence on the grid. Additionally, they can help with the prepping budget by eliminating monthly utility bills and saving money. Embracing renewables can provide redundancy in power sources, save costs, and enhances self-sufficiency for off-grid and grid-down situations. 

Water Collection and Purification

As we all should know, water collection and purification are crucial aspects of prepping. Prepping includes preparing not to have access to a municipal water supply, making it essential to find alternative water sources. One way, collecting rainwater, is a practical and sustainable solution. Likewise, wells and nearby water sources will help keep you hydrated, sanitary, and ready to survive unassisted should the situation require it. 

It’s important to remember that collected water can become contaminated before and during collection, in storage, or when transporting it. Therefore, you must implement a reliable purification system to ensure your water is safe to drink. There are various methods available for purifying water, ranging from simple to complex. Boiling water is straightforward and practical, as it kills most microorganisms. Additionally, using water purification tablets or filters can remove impurities and make the water safe to drink. Regardless of your choice, it’s crucial to have these purification methods in place for long-term preparedness.

Another aspect of water use is understanding and practicing water conservation techniques. Conserving water helps extend your available supply and ensures you can meet your daily needs. Simple practices such as taking shorter showers, using a low-flow faucet aerator, and collecting and reusing greywater for tasks like watering plants can significantly reduce water usage. 

The Struggle of Building a Resilient Community

Dealing with Societal Views

Dealing with societal views can be a struggle for preppers. The prevailing perception of preppers as paranoid or crazy can create a significant hurdle for people new to prepping. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the personally responsible motivations behind prepping, dismissing it as unnecessary or extreme. However, it’s essential for preparedness-minded people to remember that societal views shouldn’t deter you from your preparedness journey. After all, those views won’t matter when the world goes sideways. 

One way to help overcome societal views is by educating others about the importance of being prepared for hard times. When educating others, try to simplify the complexities of prepping by explaining that it’s about self-sufficiency and taking responsibility for one’s well-being. Try illustrating the usefulness of preparedness by sharing stories of real-life emergencies where preparedness made a significant difference. By simplifying prepping, using relatable examples, and highlighting the practicality of prepping, you can make it less overwhelming and offputting to those new to preparedness. 

Next, it’s crucial to remain true to your prepping convictions without letting others’ opinions dissuade you from becoming better prepared. With that, recognize that not everyone will understand or agree with your choices. Instead of wasting time engaging in arguments or debates, try improving your resilience. After all, you cannot control how other people think and feel. All you can do is control how you feel and where you decide to put your time and effort. 

Make sure to surround yourself with a supportive prepper community that shares your values and can encourage you during challenging times. Remember, the prepper lifestyle is about being proactive, and sometimes that means going against societal norms. Embrace the uniqueness of your preparedness mindset and prioritize your and your loved ones’ well-being while striving toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Overcoming family resistance is yet another prepping struggle

Overcoming Family Resistance

Overcoming family resistance can be a significant hurdle in your prepping journey. It can be challenging when not everyone, and sometimes no one in your family, understands or supports your preparedness efforts. One way to combat the lack of support is through effective communication and inclusion in the preparedness process. 

To start:

  1. Initiate open and honest conversations with your family members about your concerns and reasons for prepping.
  2. Use simple language and avoid overwhelming them with technical details.
  3. Explain the potential risks and the importance of being prepared for unexpected situations.
  4. Ask them for their thoughts and questions. Be positive in your response without belittling them or making jokes about their questions. Likewise, avoid the doom and gloom or being overly intense in your response. 

By framing prepping as a responsible and practical approach to safeguarding the family’s well-being, you can help alleviate their resistance.

It’s crucial to address any misconceptions or fears they may have. Assure them that prepping is not about succumbing to paranoia or living in constant fear. Emphasize that prepping is a proactive step towards self-sufficiency and resilience in the face of hard times. Highlight real-life examples where preparedness has made a positive difference in people’s lives. Sharing stories or news articles about how prepping has helped individuals and families overcome challenging situations can be informative and persuasive.

Being strategic about how you involve your family in the prepping process can make them feel empowered and invested. Please encourage them to contribute their ideas, opinions, and skills. Assign specific tasks or responsibilities based on their interests and strengths. In turn, this collaborative approach will foster a sense of unity and shared purpose within the family—not to mention building a more resilient household that is prepared for any scenario.

Lack of Support from the Community

Lack of community support is often a disheartening struggle for preppers. It can make some of us feel isolated and misunderstood when our friends, neighbors and even family members don’t share our preparedness mindset. However, keep this from deterring you. Instead, use it to educate and engage with others about the importance of being prepared.

Building a resilient community takes time and effort, so seek like-minded individuals in local meetups, forums, or social media groups. Engage in conversations, learn from each other, and gain valuable insights. Organize events or workshops to share your knowledge, attract newcomers to prepping, and foster a supportive environment. Approach interactions with empathy and patience, using relatable examples to make the concepts understandable. Together, overcome the lack of community support and create a network of prepared individuals ready to face any challenges.

The Bottom Line on Prepper Struggles

The bottom line is that becoming better prepared is full of struggles. In a way, we are struggling to prepare for struggle. After all, the only guarantee we have in life is that we will struggle. Therefore, by facing the struggles of preparedness head-on when life and livelihood don’t hang in the balance, you are preparing to face the struggles when it does. And, in the end, that’s what prepping is all about, facing and overcoming struggles! So what are you waiting for? Get to prepping! 

What are the biggest struggles that you’ve faced in your preparedness journey? Tell us in the comments below. 

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