Are You Maintaining the Most Vital Resource in Your “Preppertoire”?

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Co-Author of SHTF Survival Bootcamp

Periodically on courses and even in online interactions, we find ourselves in a situation in which we need to ask individuals specific questions. As we see others’ engagement with preparedness and their actions, we realize they have lost their way a bit. Many have an over fixation on purchasing, and they believe they can buy their way out of trouble.

That works to a point, but it is not what we are promoting.

What is the one MOST important prep you have?

If you had to label or put a name on the most vital resource you have in your “preppertoire,” what would that be? 

Normally people wrack their brains going through the mental checklist of their supplies. They think of the most expensive, irreplaceable, or most invested in item. Thinking about or asking yourself what the most expensive or irreplaceable items are is correct. Some examples of things people think of are medications, communications equipment, gear, and other supplies. These are necessary, of course.

But very often people will miss what that most vital thing is. 

What is the most vital thing?

It’s you, yourself.

It’s not anything you own or have to buy. You are your most important prep. Because the skills and the knowledge and the ability you have is unique. You are the most vital resource in your whole preparedness suite. 

We are aware that many things we own and use require regular maintenance, inspection, and sometimes replacement. And we are no different because, at the end of the day, we’re soft, squishy humans.

You need to make sure you are being looked after. It is very easy to overlook self-care, especially for those heavily into preparedness and have a sense of duty to care for others.

As many of you know, it’s very easy to give of yourself. And that can be a detriment to you. 

“You can’t pour tea from an empty cup.”

This beautiful phrase came from a discussion I had with someone whose opinion I very much respect. If you’re always giving, but you never allow yourself to refill, that is entirely unsustainable. Many of you have likely done a lot of pouring of late. I would say it has been a while since you had a health check to see how you are doing.

Today, I want, expect ( maybe even demand) that you take a few minutes to prioritize yourself. Climb inside that amazing head of yours and see how you are doing in earnest. Realistically, how sustainable is the path that you’re on? And how can you affect your well-being in the most effective, influential, and immediate manner? Self-care is not something that we can continue to put off. 

Yes, we’ve got priorities. Yes, we’ve got duties. Yes, we’ve got responsibilities. But you are the critical component in the whole system.

If you fail, everything collapses within

You MUST take the time to ensure your well-being for the welfare of yourself and others. I call it a “Security and Sanity Stop.” Each day take 5 to 10 minutes (or more if you can) to check in with your brain. Ask yourself how you are doing. See what you need to do to ensure that your cup is full so that you can keep pouring to others. Here are some things you can do if you’re overwhelmed by all the bad news.

Ideally, take that time in nature to refill. Nature is one of the places where you will get the most potent results quickly. Merely sitting in the garden with a cup of tea will rejuvenate you and help clear your mind. If you want to continue to help others, and fulfill your duties, venture outside and get your fill. Take the time. It is important. 

Have you been pouring from an empty cup?

When was the last time you refilled? What are some ways you do this for yourself? Do you have a favorite place or activity that fills your cup? Please give us some of your ideas and suggestions in the comments below. We would love to know.  

About Toby

Toby has an extensive background in the military, emergency services, risk management, and business continuity, combined with applied wilderness and urban survival skills. He discusses personal safety, security, and the crossover of military skills to the average civilian. He is the co-author of SHTF Survival Boot Camp.

Picture of Toby Cowern

Toby Cowern

Toby Cowern has an extensive background in the military, emergency services, risk management, and business continuity, combined with applied wilderness and urban survival skills. He discusses personal safety, security, and the crossover of military skills to the average civilian.

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  • Well, my better half (bless her), would tell you I was nuts before the crisis, and I’m still nuts through it, so all in all, I’m a stable nut ????

  • As a semi retired blacksmith, when the frustrations get too great, I go to my shop, build a fire, heat an iron, grab the heaviest hammer I have, and pound until one of two things happen. I make something I cane use, sell, barter, or I forget what it was that pushed me over the edge. Works.????

  • Definitely a message that I needed to hear today. Exhaustion and getting depressed doesn’t serve anyone! Many thanks!

  • Great point! It’s something a lot of folks forget about, too. Maybe it seems selfish to think about self care, or maybe everything else is too pressing. Still, everybody has time to take a couple deep breaths or notice something beautiful. Exercise is one thing that I do for self care and it also counts as a prep!

  • Just 3 years ago I was under incredible stress and my health broke from it. When you might die you slow down and get a whole new view of things. I have been working hard to get the drama out of my life and things including my health are pretty good now. Slow down and analyze your life. Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis – your brain can’t process then and it might be too late. Don’t be one of those people that thrive on drama & crisis. Get rid of toxic people your life and if that isn’t possible set good boundaries to protect yourself.

    I still live a very active life but got rid of so many unnecessary stresses. I don’t take on so much that I’ll be miserable. Now I notice nature as Toby mentions – the sky, the birds, my garden of flowers and vegetables. I take time to feel the spirit each day by reading scriptures and that brings a lot of peace to know despite whatever evil men are doing & planning that God is in charge. I see and appreciate the miracles and tender mercies in my life. Now I can hear promptings of what to do to prepare and God helps me do it – things I never thought to learn or buy. Now I am able to help others. Now I have clarity . . . now I have peace despite living in a world falling apart.

  • There is no other way of putting it. I’m simply crap at self care. Considering how many people physically need me for their day to day. I know this is where I need to work on. It’s such a vicious cycle, it’s not about self worth. It’s a lifetime of doing for others , I often forget myself. More a pattern of behaviour I need to break. Often I’m trying to keep costs low to meet our needs I’m up at all hours and often don’t get sleep due to being up for others during the night. This is a goal for this year to actively work on & my fitness. I often miss my time to exercise to build a sweat as I’m too tired to exercise, strengthen my body which it needs to constant lifting and carrying. Spot on article for me !

  • What is the one MOST important prep you have?
    The first thing i thought of was my sanity.
    “These are the times that try men’s souls”.

  • It has been a tough year. I had covid and did survive. My neighbor who drove us 1 1/2 hours to Dr appointments and took my grocery list and some cash to our nearer little town to buy our groceries… didn’t survive months later when he caught it. He left a wife and the grandkids they were rausing. She’s been trying to get Social Security for months. Covid has made many things harder. My husbabd has Alzheiners and is clearly getting worse and weaker.
    I take breaks from news when the unsettled times are bothering me. My neighbors widow and I have known each other for over 40 years. Yesterday we both needed things from the city. She drove. I paid for gas and food. It was nice to get to visit without interruptions or other responsibilities.
    I refresh at times when feeding the rabbits. I talk to them and pet each one. I enjoy all my critters but the quiet gentle rabbits are special. So refreshing in these troubled times.
    I enjoy so much of my life. Times with the critters, walking in feesh snow, gardening or planning the garden. Quiet evening when my husband feels like talking. He’ll forget in a few minutes but I remember. Summer afternoons sitting out in the shade. Dinners with friends. I love to cook for folks. I enjoy planning and figuring out how to accomplish things. Building or repairing things brings a sense of satisfaction. I really enjoy cooking on the heat collector of the rocket stove we heat with. So many little things that bring joy. I can get totally lost in my paintings. For a little while nothing else exists. Sometimes that’s nice.
    Church has always been a place of refreshing but that’s been taken away for now. But my life still has a lot of joy.

    • God bless you and your husband. Such strength you have. I will pray for your neighbor and you, your husband and church. Where I live our churches are open. We all pray for better times.
      I have planned for our gardens, ordered meat chickens and more layers and turkeys for this year. I hope our bees made it.
      I order everything on line from our supermarket , feed store and other places. I just drive and pick up. My husband is not well. I try to keep him home as much as possible. You are not alone. Tell your neighbor she is not alone. God is with us.

  • One of the ways that I recharge is to look at something beautiful and amazing. A sunrise or sunset. A baby. A piece of artwork. A hawk circling the sky. A dried seed pod on a roadside weed.

    We live in an amazing world and it’s good to just take a few moments to absorb the unique details of something that we might overlook as we scramble to survive. Taking a moment to see some of the amazing things that people are making is good, too. There’s a website called that has many beautiful pictures of exhibits, photography, art of all sorts and the stories about the artists. Well worth checking out.
    Or…just take ten minutes and watch funny animal videos on YouTube…laughter is good for you too.

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

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