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Simple: Even though the number one priority in any SHTF situation should be survival, you’re also going to suffer from a lot of stress and hair-raising anxiety. Will you have enough food and water to get through the next few days? Are there any hostile forces in the area who want what you have? Are the local authorities going to force you to evacuate?
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Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that entertainment, recreation, or having fun can’t play a role in your life for when the grid goes down. On the contrary, there are actually many benefits to making recreation a crucial part of your survival planning and preparation.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of having fun after the grid goes down, then we’ll discuss some of the best ways to do just that.
The Importance of Entertainment After SHTF
What do you think of when the phrases “SHTF” or “grid down” come to mind?
If you’re like most folks, you probably think of dark clouds filling the sky, abandoned cities, starving and dehydrated people surviving in the woods with haunted looks on their faces…and a complete lack of enjoyment.
There is absolutely no question that survival with limited resources in an SHTF scenario will be a challenging task, and your life and the lives of your family will indeed be at risk.
But as I noted in the introduction, none of this is an excuse to have no fun or enjoyment whatsoever. As you’ll see, there are many benefits that come with entertainment after an SHTF situation.
It Passes The Time
One such benefit of entertainment is that time passes more quickly. Yes, you’ll be busy doing what you can do to ensure you and your family’s survival, but there will also be drawn-out periods when you have nothing to do. Without some alternative forms of entertainment, you’ll be bored and depressed, which leads me to the next benefit.
It Boosts Morale
The second benefit of entertainment after SHTF is that it can boost your morale and reduce stress and anxiety. Granted, nothing is going to fully eliminate your stress in an SHTF situation, but it will help you to at least manage your stress levels and boost your morale.
In a grid-down scenario, entertainment gives you something to look forward each day, and finding things to look forward to will keep you going. It’s the hope that things will return to normal that will drive you forward, and little things such as having fun with your family in the evening will keep your morale a couple of notches higher.
It Builds Relationships
The third benefit of entertainment is that it’s a good way to build relationships with other people in your survival group. Even if your group is just your family, you’ll bond more by playing games and doing other fun activities together.
It’s also a great way to foster new relationships with other people who join your group. You may end up in a group with several people you don’t know very well. Playing games together can quickly change that.
Now granted, you definitely want the bulk of your time and energy to be focused on your survival. Entertainment and having fun should never be your top priority. Food, water, first aid, security, and things like that absolutely come first. But at the same time, don’t forget the importance and benefits of trying to have at least a little fun in an SHTF situation.
How To Entertain Yourself After The SHTF
With all that said, let’s look at some of the best ways to keep yourself entertained in a grid-down scenario.
This is probably the most obvious way to keep yourself entertained. And specifically, we mean paperback or hardcover books and not Kindle or eBooks (unless you’re willing to print them).
In fact, you should be buying books as part of your SHTF preparations. Reading daily is a very healthy activity and during a grid-down scenario, it will be even more important.
If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our list of the 100 Best Survival Books of All Time.
Another idea is to purchase fiction books in the apocalyptic genre that have happy endings. Reading those types of books could give you some hope.
Chess is a classic game and deserves a category of its own. It’s fun, really makes you think, and is easily portable. Unlike board games, which shouldn’t be a priority to travel with, chess is very portable and can be brought just about anywhere.
If anything, you should have multiple chess boards and sets of pieces in your home. You can also make your own chess boards (or checkers board for that matter) out of items that you already have such as caps, coins, pebbles, spent cartridges, etc.
The beauty of the card deck is that it is very small, portable, and can be used to play a myriad of different games: poker, hearts, old maid, solitaire, and so on. In fact, you should get a copy of Hoyle’s Rules of Games. It includes rules and strategies for over 20 card games along with rules for popular dice games, board games, and more.
If anything, plan on having multiple card decks in your possession (after all, you could lose a card, the deck could become ruined from rain, etc). Go with high-quality plastic cards for the best resiliency. I like these Gentlemen’s Survival Playing Cards because they come with survival tips printed on them.
These are really only a good choice if you’re bugging in because, if you’re bugging out, you probably won’t have room to bring along a stack of board games. They just take up too much space.
However, if you’re bugging in, board games are probably the best way to have fun. They take up a lot of time (think games such as Risk, Clue, and Monopoly) and they can involve a lot of people.
Besides classic board games like the ones we already mentioned, there are also a number of survival and disaster oriented board games. One such example is Dead of Winter. It’s a zombie survival game where everybody can win – because the goal of the game is to survive by fortifying your base, gaining supplies, and killing zombies.
Another fun survival board game is Pandemic. A horrific pandemic has broken out, and the containment specialists must race to hotspots on the board in order to find a cure. The game involves randomly drawn cards, which can either help characters with special abilities or harm them with plagues.
These are just two examples. If you’re interested in survival and disaster-related board games, check out our list of 20 Awesome Board Games for Preppers for more ideas.
Any games you might play while camping (such as horseshoes, bocce ball, flashlight tag, or hide and seek) can also be played during a grid-down scenario.
For more ideas, check out this list of family camping games.
Charades is another game that really deserves its own category, mainly because it’s a classic game with multiple variations and requires no equipment.
Playing charades is simple: players act out as something or someone, and the other players have to guess what they are. Teams can play against each other and keep track of points.
Writing (Pen and Paper)
When it comes to survival preparations, a lot of people ignore everyday items such as pens and paper. But think about it: when the grid goes down, you’re not getting resupplied with new pens and paper, are you?
Pens, pencils, sharpies, markers, notebooks, and plain white paper are all things you stock up on. You can keep a daily journal of your experiences, write any fiction stories you have going on in your head, doodle away on scratch paper, or play pen-and-paper games such as hangman.
Yes, you read that right. But how can chores possibly be fun?
Well at the very least, chores can give you something to do and help you pass the time. Sometimes chores are boring, but they can give your everyday life meaning (beyond your efforts to stay alive). Having a daily checklist of things to do can work wonders for your mental health.
Keep in mind that not all chores have to be urgent. While things such as cleaning dishes, making dinner, or washing clothes will need to be done daily, you can also do tasks such as sharpening your knives or tools, cleaning your guns, mopping the floors, dusting, cleaning the restrooms, tending to your garden, and so forth.
Have A Routine
Last but not least, just have a routine each day. It will make things much easier for you when the grid goes down. Wake up and go to bed at the same times each day. Bathe at the same time each day. Read or journal at the same time each day. And have your tasks written out in front of you so you know exactly what to do every day.
You get the idea. Scheduling your daily activities and sticking that schedule will improve your productivity and quality of life, and that will be even more important in an end-of-the-world scenario.
During an SHTF situation, entertainment is important for passing the time, managing stress levels, boosting your morale, and building relationships with other people in your survival group.
Ask yourself: What is the purpose of life? To enjoy it. The whole point of surviving a disaster is so you can come out the other side and start enjoying life again. But if you can’t find a way to enjoy yourself even during the darkest of times, you’re missing the whole point.
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