Irregardless of why you start prepping, after several months or years, you may find your enthusiasm for prepping is waning. If you find yourself procrastinating about the things you know need to be done for you to be prepared, you may be starting to burn out.
Just like with job burnout, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of prepper burnout so you can stop it in its tracks and take action to renew your interest in prepping.
Symptoms of Burnout
- Long periods of no “prepping” activities at all
- Prolonged procrastination
- Loss of Motivation
- Feeling hopeless or like there’s no point in it all
Here’s How to Avoid Prepper Burnout
If you start to recognize the symptoms of prepper burnout, there are many different things you can do to prevent it or stop it from getting worse. We’ve listed some of them below.
One of the important things to help you avoid prepper burnout is to make sure you stay realistic about your prepping. Focus on the emergencies or crises that could impact your local area or your region rather than trying to prepare for every possible scenario you hear about.
Trying to prepare for every disaster can lead to overwhelm and burnout. Be realistic about the amount and quality of preps that are realistic for your budget, skill level, and situation.
If you insist on only high quality gear that is too costly for your budget, you could end up procrastinating for long periods of time while you “save” money or you could actually end up broke and more stressed than when you started.
It’s also important to recognize and accept that there is no “perfect” way to prep. Let go of perfectionist thinking because it can be paralyzing. Focus on doing what you can now and know that you can always add to your preps or upgrade them to higher quality preps later when your budget and resources allow.
Don’t Obsess Over Just One Potential Disaster
Prepper burnout can be triggered when you spend months or even years preparing for one specific potential disaster that then doesn’t happen. Those people who prepared exclusively for Y2K are a good example.
It sounds a little crazy, but many people who were obsessed with preparing for Y2K were almost disappointed when it wasn’t the huge disaster that many people expected.
My father was one of those Y2K preppers. His food stockpile was extensive by the time Y2K rolled around. He was absolutely convinced that Y2K was going to be a huge disaster. A few months after, he got rid of all his stockpile and basically gave up on stockpiling food after that.
Stop Comparing Your Preps to Others
Reading information from other preppers can be very helpful to your own prepping efforts. Seeing the success of others who are prepping can even be inspiring and help to keep you motivated in your own prepping.
Every individual who preps has different reasons for prepping and different resources they can draw upon to secure their preps. Just because you don’t yet have a fully customized underground bunker or a 100 acre bug out location, doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless.
So, if instead of feeling motivated or inspired by seeing what others have done to prep, you begin to feel like you’ll never be ready, you need to stop comparing your preps to others.
Set Incremental Goals
Another really good strategy that can help you to avoid prepper burnout is to set incremental goals. There is something to be said for slow and steady wins the race.
Too many new preppers jump into prepping full on and try to obtain every piece of survival gear and supplies they hear about. In fact, new preppers often spend a ton of money on gear and supplies in their first 6 to 12 months of prepping, only to have it all sit in the closet untouched for the next 12 months.
If you set goals for your prepping, such as preps for 3 days, then for 1 week, 3 months, etc. you’ll find it is much more enjoyable and less stressful than trying to get everything at once.
Have a Plan
Once you have incremental goals in place, have a step by step plan for how to accomplish each goal. When making your plan, be sure to consider your budget and other resources to make sure you keep it realistic.
Use your plan as your guide to what tasks to focus on next. Try to break it down into categories made up of the smallest steps to make it easier to follow.
Your plan should include categories for obtaining knowledge, skills, and supplies in the areas of food, water, gasoline, power, shelter/heat, cash, first aid, clothing, self defense, transportation, and communications.
Another way to avoid prepper burnout is to stay organized. As you begin stockpiling preps, it can be easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have a plan for staying organized.
When I first started prepping, I didn’t know to do this and I had a ton of supplies and gear that I wouldn’t have even been able to find easily in an emergency, especially if the power was out and it was dark in the house. This can be more important for preppers who live in an apartment or house where supplies need to be spread out over several areas in order to store it.
Keep a list if need be of where you have things stored and what supplies or gear are stored in what places. When you set up caches for just in case supplies and gear, add the locations to your list.
Alternate Between Knowledge, Gear, and Skill Development
One mistake many preppers make that can contribute to prepper burnout is to focus all of the time, energy, and resources on buying gear, stockpiling supplies, or accumulating knowledge. Make sure that your plan includes a balance of acquiring gear, gaining knowledge, and learning and practicing survival skills.
Too much time spent on any one of these areas can lead to prepper burnout. Those that spend all their time scouring the internet for knowledge can quickly become overwhelmed by all there is to learn.
In fact, prepping truly is never ending, so you must find balance. It’s a lifestyle change, not a destination. To avoid prepper burnout, you must alternate your time and resources so that these three areas are balanced.
Share What You Know
Another great way to avoid getting burned out on prepping is to share what you know with others who are less experienced than you are. Teaching others the knowledge and skills you have already learned not only keeps your skillset fresh but it also can help keep you motivated and inspired to keep going.
It’s not necessary to be an expert in order to teach others what you know about prepping. If you are more experienced in shooting, cooking, fire making, or finding water than someone else, you can teach them what you know.
You may find that they can also teach you something in a different area where your skills need improvement and you’ll have someone to help motivate and inspire you when it’s time for both of you to go on to the next level of skill building.
Take a Break
If you are feeling prepper burnout coming on, take a break for a short time. Do something fun for a day. Spend time with family to remind yourself of why you’re prepping to survive in the first place.
Give yourself permission to relax and not think about prepping for a few days or even for a week or two. It’s important to take short breaks more frequently versus taking an extended break for a month or longer. Taking short breaks from prepping can help prevent burnout and help you to renew your enthusiasm and passion for what needs to be done.
Enjoy The Present
If you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious about prepping, this can lead to burnout. A good way to stop burnout in its tracks is to focus on enjoying the present instead of obsessing about the future.
Look at what’s happening in your life now, focus on the things that are going well. Get up early, sit on your porch with a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and watch the sunrise.
Go outside just before dark with your favorite beverage and your camera and watch the sunset at least twice a week. Choose a different location to watch the sunrise or set at least once in awhile. Enjoy time with family and friends and just enjoy life in the present.
Find a New Hobby Related to Survival
If you’re looking for ways to avoid prepper burnout, a good way to do it is to shift your focus to something new that you’re interested in. Maybe you’ve always been interested in cooking, martial arts, fishing, or wildlife.
If you begin to feel burned out with your prepping tasks, make a list of all the areas or skills that interest you. The internet provides an almost unlimited view of the world.
There are a million plus things out there that you could take an interest in. Take a look at your list once it’s done and see if anything on your list is something that could help you be more prepared.
If you aren’t sure what your interests are, try something new, if it maintains your interest, keep doing it. If it doesn’t get you excited after trying it for a bit, move on to something else until you find something that ignites your passion.
The great thing about exploring things you are interested in is that you will find others who are interested in the same or similar things. Some of them may not have any interest in prepping, but you’ll be surprised at the number of people you’ll find who are already prepping in some way or another.
Build a community around things that you like to do and it will help you to avoid prepper burnout.
Have you ever experienced symptoms of prepper burnout? What did you do that worked to inspire you to continue? Share you experience with others in the comments below… and don’t forget to pin this for later.
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.