Occasionally in prepper circles I hear comments about, “the will to live,” or “keeping spirits up;” mental health in other words. Talk about mental health is not as concrete as the mantra for beans, bullets and bandaids. I worry sometimes that it gets overlooked in favor of that classic 3 B’s prepping. Anyone who’s ever watched someone lose the will to live, knows that it’s not a trivial consideration. Everyone is different when it comes to what makes ‘em tick. Whether it’s access to literature, art, or music. (Or something else entirely.) For me,
Life wouldn’t be worth living without music.
Period. I can have all the beans and bullets my little heart desires, but if the music in my life is dead, I can pretty much guarantee that I’m not a happy survivor. Would my children and husband be enough to keep me eating and breathing? Probably… for a while at least. I know enough about myself to know that I need periodic infusions of dancing and music in order to stay in top form. Mental fatigue and build up of stress and tension take a physical toll eventually.
So, my prepping includes forms of music that I know will work even if the lights are out. I have my piano that was a birthday present, (thanks Mom!) In the bench I have a variety of songs that I like to sing, as well as classics, holiday tunes and children’s music. I know my bunker-mate and best friend plays the flute, so I have a couple of duets for piano and flute. I can remember my mother’s piano always having a book of hymns, for those of you who follow a faith, don’t over look that in your mental health preps. I’m not 100% happy with my music prep, I don’t have much of the music that like to dance to, namely salsa and swing. It’s tricky to find the sheet music for those styles as the best stuff is often improvised. I suppose if I played more and gardened less, I could get good enough to wing it; but let’s be honest here, that’s probably not going to happen. My backup plan for that aspect is that I am friends with lots of salsa musicians, and my hope is that travel to visit them will still be possible.
Children need creative outlets too.
My kids aren’t old enough to have preferences for their creative outlets, so I’ve made sure to hang to the little basic bits of equipment from various art forms as I’ve tried them over the years. I have charcoal pencils and sketching tablets from my foray into line drawing. I have various paints and brushes. I have beginning piano books, as well as a tin whistle and beginning book for that. Even in the bug out bags, sheer basics for survival, the kids’ bags have crayons in them and little coloring books. If we actually get to the point where we’re living out of those bags, there’s likely to be a lot going on that they will need help dealing with and processing. Quiet, self-guided creativity can do wonders for that.
Even adults can work through challenging situations better if their creative juices are flowing. Don’t leave your mental health to chance. Think about where you turn in times of stress or sadness, and make sure you have prepped for that aspect of your well being. Your shrink might not be available when the SHTF.