Each week I receive calls from individuals who are searching for a homestead where they can build a home, that is off the grid and will have neighbors with the same desire to be self-reliant as they have. Some have sufficient financial resources to accomplish the goal, while others do not. As we talk, it often becomes clear how prepared they are, emotionally, to make such a transition to a rural setting that will require a great deal of work and sacrifice. The work portion is clear to most, but the emotional sacrifice required to give up many of the conveniences we enjoy in our city lifestyles is often overlooked.
I mention the above because, as a society, many of us have not taken the time to build up our emotional resilience. We focus on money accumulation but fail to take time to emotionally strengthen ourselves. We often do not realize how much we lean on the conveniences that surround us in our city lifestyles, where we have everything we need or want right at our fingertips. Yet, while building a new culture in a rural setting we do not have that luxury.
May I suggest some strategies to maintain or build one’s emotional resilience when things get hard or difficult:
First, establish a clear understanding as to why you are making the transition to a rural homestead.
Is it for health and safety, or a new start for the family, or all of the above? Without a clear understanding of why a person is doing something hard, it is easy to become discouraged and even quit.
Second, have a written plan with a budget that you track faithfully. Each time you make an unexpected expenditure, you will need to review and adjust your budget with the end goal in mind. Without this strategy, you will only find yourself in a difficult financial circumstance that can have catastrophic consequences.
Third, understand with any move, chaos and inconvenience are going to be companions for a period of time. Very few of us have the ability to pull off a perfectly organized, stress-free move. However, if you will keep a corner, a cabinet, or even a drawer and organize it, that one act alone will provide the seed that will allow you to add the next drawer or cabinet or corner to start making sense out of the chaos. Allow yourself to take comfort in that first small victory. I start with making my bed each morning, whether it is a sleeping bag or my queen size bed. This one small task gives me an anchor to begin my day and the first link to making sense out of my chaos.
Finally, everyone needs an outlet from stress. We all deal with a fight, flight, or freeze when dealing with a lot of stress. Taking time to do something fun, especially with someone you care about, something that will promote laughter is most beneficial in my opinion. This activity could be nothing more than a phone call to a person that can make you laugh. This is my secret strategy when things get stressful; find one or more activities that allow for an emotional uplift. This activity may be singing, or some other activity that allows for a pattern interrupt. This is as important as taking your vitamins and exercising.
In addition to the four strategies I just reviewed, meditation, prayer, and serving someone will also help keep one’s emotional resilience healthy. Emotional resilience is an important key to being self-reliant. I not only encourage you to do the above but also encourage you to share these strategies with others. When we share a truth, that is when we can truly claim it.
Philip J. Gleason,