Thriving vs. Surviving: How to Live Comfortably

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Thriving vs Surviving InfographicMost of us in the prepping community spend quite a bit of time thinking about what it might be like if we ever find ourselves being thrust into a survival situation.

If you spent any time at all watching the news after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans or after hurricane Sandy hit the East coast, you undoubtedly saw plenty of footage depicting people who were really struggling to survive. Many of them were extremely hungry, thirsty, cold, and even homeless.

I fully understand that if I don’t prepare for emergency situations, me and my family could very well be the types of people who were digging through dumpsters looking for anything that they could possibly find to eat.

In the prepping community, you’ll often hear the phrase “thriving vs. surviving”. If you haven’t heard that expression before, let me take just a minute and explain what it means. During a time of a major crisis there will be thee types of people.

  1. Group 1 will consist of people who didn’t take any time to prepare for natural disasters or emergencies and they will be the ones that are really struggling to survive. Depending upon the severity of the situation, it’s entirely possible that many of them won’t survive. Those who do will find themselves scavenging or looting for the supplies that they need to keep them alive.
  2. Group 2 will consist of people that have made some efforts to prepare for emergencies and they’ll have a few supplies that they can draw from. They may have food storage items like rice, beans, and water so they’ll be able to eat for a while but their quality of life will change drastically in comparison to the way it was before the disaster struck. It’s also highly likely that their emergency supplies will run out quite quickly and they’ll find themselves in the same situation as the people that are in group 1.
  3. Group 3 will consist of the die-hard preppers who have sacrificed things like going on extravagant family vacations and buying expensive cars so that they can purchase enough emergency supplies (and the right kinds of supplies) to live comfortably during a major crisis or natural disaster. The people in this group will have the basic staples that they need to feed their families with but they’ll also have items stored that will make surviving much more comfortable for them. This group of individuals are the serious preppers who are very concerned about thriving during a survival situation versus just getting by and doing what they need to do to stay alive. They are the types of people who will do all they can to prepare adequately so that they can live in comfort if things ever get really bad.

How to Live Comfortably When You’re in Survival Mode

I’m sure you don’t want to be the type of person that is in group 1 so you’re probably wondering what it will take to be able to live comfortably during a survival scenario. Below, I’ve compiled a list of a few things that you can do to prepare so that you can survive in comfort when and if that time should ever come.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this article isn’t to tell you everything that you should do to prepare for emergencies but rather to point out some of the main things that will make the difference between you merely surviving and living comfortably. If you’d like to learn more about some of the basics that you should be doing to prepare for emergencies, I suggest you take a few minutes and read my article called Free Downloadable Basic Emergency Preparedness Checklist.

The first thing you should store is clean drinking water and you should store plenty of it! While many organizations such as FEMA recommend that the average person store a three-day supply of water for each individual in their family, I personally think that this is not nearly enough. My philosophy when it comes to storing water is that more is always better. If you are able to, meaning that you have the room available, I suggest that you store hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of water. You can find very large plastic water storage tanks at most farm supply stores that are specially designed this. If you have the means, and the space to do it, I suggest that you store as much water as you possibly can. This will minimize the chances of you having to ration water (which is rarely advised) or scavenge for water when your supplies eventually run out.

The next thing you need to work on is building up your food storage supplies. Ask yourself this question; If there ever was a major breakdown in society that resulted in a drastic change in the way we have to live our lives, do you really want to be eating rice and beans for every meal? I know that I sure don’t! I highly suggest that you put some serious thought into the types of food items that you are storing. Take into consideration whether or not your family will enjoy eating the meals that you’ll be able to prepare with it. Remember, variety is the spice of life. No one wants to eat the same thing day in and day out so make sure that you have a well-rounded supply of food storage items stockpiled. Speaking of spices, having the right types of spices stored with your food storage supply can mean the difference between serving up a bland, tasteless meal and a savory dinner that your family members will surely enjoy.

The next thing to consider is how you plan on staying warm. During hurricane Sandy, many people were without any way of heating their homes for weeks on end. The temperatures were frigid and even the people who were lucky enough that they didn’t lose their homes struggled to stay warm. The news reported that many of these people were incredibly cold and had absolutely no way of keeping their house warm. My first choice when it comes to an alternative heating source is a wood stove but that may not be a practical alternative for everyone. In these cases, I suggest that you investigate getting some alternative heating sources. Some that come to mind are solar powered space heaters, solar powered water heaters, and specially designed propane heaters that are manufactured to be used safely indoors.

If you chose to use these devices, always follow the manufacture’s instructions and never use heaters that aren’t explicitly designed for indoor use!

The main thing to remember here is that if you don’t have a way to stay warm, you’re going to be quite miserable. In certain situations, extremely cold temperatures could actually be life threatening.

Now For The Good Stuff

Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, it’s time to take a minute and talk about something that will make a tremendous difference in how comfortable you’ll be during a survival situation and that is having access to “comfort items”.

Let’s do a quick mental exercise. Take a few minutes and think about the types of things that you really enjoy doing. Do you cherish the time when you can snuggle under a warm blanket on the couch while reading a captivating novel? Are there certain types of snacks and/or drinks that you can’t live without for a single day? Are you a coffee or tea connoisseur who can’t make it through the day without their morning cup of Joe? Are you a couch potato and prefer to spend all your free time with your feet propped up in a recliner while you watch your favorite movies on your television? Maybe gaming is your thing and you love to spend time losing yourself in the virtual world of a video game?

I hope you’re starting to see my point by now. We all need three main things to survive and those things are water, food, and shelter. Having those things will keep you alive but they won’t make it possible for you to thrive and they certainly won’t provide any mental stimulation.

I encourage everyone who reads this article to give this topic some serious thought. Imagine that you are actually in a survival situation. Imagine that the city has cut off your water supply, the telephones are down, and there’s no electricity coming from the power grid. Now, imagine what life might be like if all of the favorite things that you enjoy doing are suddenly no longer a part of your life. Once you have figured out the types of comfort items and/or activities that really bring you pleasure, take the time to prepare so that if you ever find yourself thrust into a long-term survival situation, you can actually thrive and maintain an enjoyable lifestyle instead of simply getting by from meal to meal.

Now It’s Time That We Hear from You

One of the greatest things about the prepping community is that we can all learn from each other. Please take a minute and share your thoughts about this subject and any unique tips that you might have for surviving in comfort during a crisis. You can do that by simply leaving a comment in the box below.

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