This is an updated post on Bad Habits Every Prepper Needs to Break. Our first post was published in 2016, and we will continue to update as we learn (hopefully not the hard way!) new ways to break habits that have consequences for your preparedness.
Bad habits are of course bad, but there are some that are even more important to consider as a prepper. Self-discipline is the best way to combat bad habits, but the very first step is just knowing that you have them.
Contents (Jump to a Section)
1. Skipping Hand Washing
Hand washing is the most important process in hygiene, yet we skip this step all the time. Many of us also just go through the motions when washing our hands and do not sanitize them as best as we could. It is especially important when you consider CBRN events and pandemics. Don’t let your guard down just by skipping the sink!
You don’t have to do a full pre-surgery scrub, but get those spots that most people miss. Here is a nice short video of the proper technique:
2. Nail Biting
While this habit exposes you to germs on a regular basis, it is especially dangerous during a pandemic. Sure, you may have weathered COVID but ingestion is one of the easiest ways to become infected for many threats.
Luckily, they make a clear nail coating to help break this habit and it makes your nails taste foul. It’s available at most grocery stores and you can find it here on Amazon as the highest rated nail coating. You can also add a nail file to your EDC kit to help limit the urge to ‘fix’ hangnails or rogue cuticles.
3. Sitting Around
Living a sedentary life is more common than you would think. Americans sit an average of over six hours a day! Getting up and moving is important to stay in shape. Sitting around may not get you far during a disaster.
Instead, try to get up off the couch and do something productive. There is always plenty of hobbies that align with prepping, or you could get into volunteer work. I personally like getting outdoors- there is something special about being outside and in nature and it is always grounding to seek that out.
4. Poor Diet
Unlike stress eating, a poor diet could be many things, and like a few other things on our list they can develop into addictions or even diseases:
- Overeating & Stress Eating
- Bad Nutrition
If you have bad dietary habits going into an emergency, you won’t be as physically able to handle the emergencies and you might have issues rationing food to sustain yourself and others. Getting your diet into shape now can not only massively help your preparedness, but it can also help many facets of your everyday life.
Stress eating can be especially dangerous to a prepper. With limited food stores during a stressful disaster, you may find yourself in a bind if you have not broken this habit yet. Compulsive eating is usually ‘mindless’ eating, so it may be difficult to identify this habit if you have it. If you can recognize the urge to eat, try distractions or breathing exercises until the temptation passes.
5. Not Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation may be more common than you think. Experts suggest 7-8 hours per night for an adult. Almost half of American adults do not get this much sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause irrational decision-making, anxiety, and long-term risks. Remember, the saying “You can sleep when you’re dead” is not true at all. Dead people don’t sleep.
6. Nose Picking
Anyone who claims they have never picked their nose is a filthy liar. However, when this is a bad habit it is similar to nail-biting in that you are exposing yourself to germs. This is another mindless habit that is hard to break because it is hard to catch yourself in the act.
Smoking has been blasted as a bad habit for several decades now, so we won’t go into too much detail. Mainly the extra resource you need to have for a chemical dependency just does not mesh well with the idea of prepping and self-sufficiency. Vaporizers are also bad for emergencies since they require charging and cartridges.
8. Not Brushing Teeth/Flossing
It takes two minutes to brush teeth, and not very long to floss either. Floss has many uses on its own, so it makes sense to use it for its original purpose as well. In disaster situations, a toothache is not what you need and dentists may be in short supply.
While preppers are generally frugal, research-oriented, and value savvy, we spend a good amount of money building up stores and buying gear. This provides the opportunity to overspend. If you are spending while in debt, take a step back and evaluate your financial position.
We have a handy guide on financial preparedness, but you can always seek professional advice as well. Plenty of people convince themselves that their financial position is futile or normal, but nothing is unchangeable. Get past those barriers and make sure that you have a solid financial footing.
10. Skipping Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We have all heard this several times, but it is a very important meal. It jump-starts your metabolism after rest and provides much-needed energy. If you do not like breakfast foods, try switching up what is on the menu to get a meal in during the early hours.
11. Phone Addiction
Last and not least, this habit is new within the past couple of decades. Using a phone to escape social interaction, phantom vibrations, and constant screen time are all indications of a problem. Games, tools, email, and texting can contribute to mobile phone addiction.
Knowing your limits is important, and we need to realize when we are using phones as a replacement for social interaction rather than a tool and try to balance our interaction.
12. Breaking Habits
Breaking a habit is a tough thing to do if you don’t recognize the problem, first of all. Even then, habits are difficult to break because they are, well.. habits. Mindfulness is something we’ve talked about before (Prepper Zen: The Importance of Mindfulness in Prepping), and it is the key to breaking a bad habit.
This guy puts it best in his Ted Talk- notice the urge and do some introspection about why it is happening:
The Final Word
Brush up on any bad habits you noticed may apply to you, and share with your prepping friends to be sure they do the same. Many of these habits are tough to break, and a few can spiral into addiction. It’s best to address these now, with help if you need it than to let them burden you any longer or into an emergency situation.
If you haven’t started prepping yet, then what are you waiting for? Get started prepping now. If you don’t know why you should be prepping, we have you covered as well: Why You Should Prepare for Emergencies. Here are a few other good reads you may be interested in:
- The 11 Cardinal Sins of Prepping – Mistakes to Avoid
- 7 Ways to Volunteer as a Prepper
- The 10 Best Prepper Quotes – Stay Motivated to Prep
Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
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