It seems like lately, all the news is bad news and every day we're losing more autonomy over our lives. 2020 has been "interesting" so far, to put it mildly. When the world seems so completely out of control, it's important to get a handle on the things you can.
Focus on small circles.
This is advice straight from Selco.
Operate in "small circles" (your family, prepper group, network of friends). Learn useful skills, meet good and interesting people (in prepper terms).
That small circle is what it is all about and what is important when SHTF. Sorry, but your political opinion and worries about state policies are worthless, and can not change anything big- it is the big circle, and it is important only in terms of looking and recognizing signs of future events, so you may recognize the correct moment for bugging out for example.
Do not be pulled into general fear and hate because it clouds your judgment and it simply wastes your time.
Do not be pulled into it. (source)
And of course, he's right. This isn't Selco's first SHTF rodeo. While it's important to stay informed, your influence on a grand scale is pretty limited. You can't personally change the way the government is handling the virus. You can only adapt your response to theirs. If you disagree with the handling, you may have choices to make – like bugging out, getting out of their scope of influence, or staying under the radar. But you probably can't change the policies themselves.
So while everybody else is getting worked up about yet another misstep during a White House press conference, the campaign of Creepy Uncle Joe, and quarantines, take the information you need to make decisions and then disregard the rest of it. It's not worth your time. It's better to spend your energy on making things better within your small circle.
Work on your budget.
Take a look at your current income and then adapt your budget to fit it. I'm not talking about the income you made Before. (At this point, I think Before is a term that needs to be capitalized.)
I'm talking about what you're bringing in right now. Sure, we all hope to walk right back into our former positions and put this all behind us, but I think that is very unlikely – and more so the longer the economy stays shut down. Our country is in real economic trouble and I don't foresee it improving or "going back to normal" any time soon.
So it's important to work with what is true right now – not what was true or what you hope will be true tomorrow.
Can you afford your bills on your current income while living your current lifestyle? Do an audit of your finances and make adjustments as necessary.
If you can't pay your bills on time, see this article for advice on talking to your creditors
If you've lost your job due to COVID-19, see this article for specific suggestions.
If you can't pay your bills at all, see this article.
Recognize that you may not come out of this with your credit intact. Try not to worry too much about this because you'll be in good company. I know it sucks when you've spent years building a good credit rating, but in the grand scheme of things, your credit rating is of minimal importance when compared with "do we have enough money for food?" and "can I pay rent this month?" Prioritize the money you have to make the most important choices.
Control how you spend your time.
It's easy to slip into bad patterns when every day feels like a weekend. For those who still go to work, your normal routine of taking the kids to activities, going out for dinner or a drink, or hitting the gym is no longer an option. For those who are furloughed, your routine is now completely thrown off. For those who are working from home, you're now trying to take care of your kids, being interrupted by your partner, and conquer your workload.
But…you can control how you spend this time.
Don't get sucked into all-day marathons of Netflix binge-watching. Don't spend all day every day in your pajamas. Don't just sit around eating junk food and bemoaning your fate.
Create a new routine for yourself and adhere to it with discipline. I've worked from home for a decade now and for me, a schedule is essential. I also have a work-reward system, for lack of a better term. I get up early, before anyone else in the house, and get the most essential business tasks done first. Then I take a short break for some food and conversation. I do not sit down in front of the television for "just one episode" of whatever we're streaming. After we eat, I work for a few more hours, and then I attend to household tasks including making dinner. After dinner, and only then, will I stream any shows or movies.
Your daily schedule may look very different but I urge you to get the essential things done first and put off the relaxing part of your day until those tasks are complete.
It can also help to keep part of your previous schedule – get up, have a shower, and get dressed, even if you aren't going anywhere. Set work hours for adults and school hours for children. And of course, don't forget to leave some time for fun.
If you aren't working from home, focus on tasks that make you better prepared. Start some seeds, get your garden ready, organize your supplies, do some canning, and test out equipment to make sure it works in a way that is efficient.
Do everything you can to keep yourself healthy.
Eat high-quality whole food. Although it's tough with a limited budget, select whole grains, plenty of protein, and nutritious fruits and vegetables. Here are some suggestions on eating healthfully on a budget.
Get some exercise. Becoming one with the couch may be tempting but it isn't going to do your body or your mental health any favors. Just spending time doing tasks around the house or yard at a fast pace with some good music can help keep you active.
Spend time outdoors. Even if you can only go into your backyard or out on your balcony spending a little bit of time in the fresh air and sunshine is good for your mind and body. If you're able to in your current circumstances, absorb some vitamin D while out on a hike or walk.
If you have a pre-existing condition, strive to get things under control to the best of your ability. The healthier you are, the more your body will be able to fight off any virus you might come into contact with at some point in the future.