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Author of What to Eat When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
Sometimes, even the most athletic of us are down for the count due to injury or illness. Does that mean that you have to say goodbye to all survival efforts? I’d like to think you can still do things to prep when you can’t be active.
Life happens, and we aren’t always ready to hike for ten days straight to get to a distant bugout location where we’ll live off the land. We’ve posted articles before about how to prep when you’re not at your best. Today, I wanted to share my own experience.
Back in January, before I was heading off to Europe, I got up one morning, and my ankle was achy. I pushed through and within a couple of days it downright hurt. I assumed it was a sprain. A dear friend came and helped me pack up my apartment, along with my youngest daughter. I got a big, ungainly boot and got on the plane.
A long 20 hours of travel left me sore and exhausted. For the first week that I was in Greece, I could hardly leave the house because it was a flight of stairs up and down to go anywhere. But it was Greece. I ordered my groceries and some delicious meals and sat out in my garden to bask in the sunlight.
After a couple of weeks of this, I got diagnosed with a torn ligament and I saw a physical therapist there who helped me get back on my feet. There was still a nagging pain if I walked more than three miles, and lengthy walks generally meant a day of rest afterward with my foot up. This trend continued until I did a tour in Romania that included three ancient castles with teeny tiny curved stairways. (Our ancestors must’ve had the most dainty feet in comparison to ours today – those steps were so SHORT!) My ankle was screaming in agony after that and I never got it back to pain-free.
I returned to the US and endured the flight, run-walking through the Munich Airport and Ohare Airport due to incredibly short layovers, and then I moved into my apartment here. After 9 months of this, it’s pretty clear this is not just going to go away. The pain has been relentless, so I finally went to see a foot and ankle specialist.
He diagnosed me with Post Tibial Tendon Dysfunction and has put forth a healing regimen that could take up to six months. And the first part of it is….bed rest. A good friend of mine has often shaken his head and told me I’m an absolutely terrible and stubborn patient. But this time, I’m determined to behave myself. I’ve tried to push through, and it’s obviously not working.
I’m to sit here and do nothing for two entire weeks and close to nothing on the third week, at which time I return to see if I’m freed from the prison of my bed and sectional sofa. I have a hefty brace on my ankle that is to be worn any time I’m not sleeping or in the shower. At the risk of sounding like a whiner, as a go-go-go person, sit-sit-sitting is really difficult for me. But it’s either comply with these instructions or end up having major surgery, which includes a cast for months and even more time sit-sit-sitting.
First things first, I can eat chips and queso, or I can eat food that nourishes me, has positive effects on the rebuilding of my tendons, and doesn’t increase inflammation. Generally speaking, I don’t believe in stringent diets that rule out entire swaths of food, but while I’m immobile, I need to keep things simple and effective.
I’m eating meals that are filled with high-quality meat and fresh veggies. I’m going for extremely low carbohydrate, high protein, and moderate fat. I don’t intend to eat like this forever, but while I’m banned from exercise, I can give my body the best possible shot at maintaining health and healing. Is this a prep? I guess you could look at it that way. I’m improvising to make my meals with a bare minimum of prep time on my feet and I’m nourishing myself at the highest level I can manage. I’m trying to maintain my weight or even lose a few pounds, which is never a bad thing when you are a prepper. When I’m able to come out of this I want to be as healthy as possible to face physical therapy.
This isn’t really a prep – it’s just an important factor. Every decision you make when you’re down and out has bearing on the future, right down to what you put in your mouth.
You can still prep when you can’t be active.
No, you can’t go hiking, you can’t tend a garden, you can’t be on your feet to process a hundred pounds of tomatoes. All of these are the things I love to do, but for now, if I want to avoid surgery (and I do) I cannot do them.
But that doesn’t mean this time has to be completely wasted as I eat chocolate and weep. I gritted my teeth and came up with a list of things I could do to become a better-prepared person right here from the sofa.
What prepper doesn’t love a research rabbit hole? Are there things you want to learn more about but you just have too many other things going on in a day to sit down and dig in?
I’ve been delving into the whole Hunter Biden/Big Guy controversy and reading all the overwhelming evidence. I’ve been learning about how people lived in Ancient Ireland to see what survival tips I can glean. I’ve been nerding out on Nietzsche. It’s actually all been quite enjoyable to have the time to dedicate to this.
Learn a language.
I’m keeping up with the languages I began learning during my travels. I alternate between Spanish, Greek, and Russian lessons. I use the free app DuoLingo and have notebooks filled with doodles in Cyrillic to reinforce that alphabet in my brain.
Will these be a useful prep? Possibly. It never hurts to be able to communicate with others, and sometimes, it’s helpful to sit quietly and listen when people think you cannot understand them. But more than that, learning languages is great for your brain. Bilingual people have more neurons and dendrites that folks who speak only one language, which means they think faster, and the ability to switch from one language to another actually boosts the reserves of one’s brain.
Having new experiences (novelty) is an important factor in forming new connections in the brain and strengthening nervous system links. These links and connections are maintained through regular practice.
Studying a new language combines novelty with practice. For example, students learn new words and grammatical constructs and spend time reviewing and building on their previous knowledge as part of the learning process.
This combination is one of the reasons that language learning is such an effective brain workout and protects older learners against dementia and other degenerative neurological conditions.
But everyone can benefit from language learning. It is arguably one of the most complex mental activities you can do. So, it’s a powerful way to exercise your brain.
I’ve noticed myself that since I began seriously studying languages, I think faster, I speak my first language more eloquently, and I’m less forgetful.
Learn a skill.
You can spend your downtime learning a skill. I’m working on embroidery right now because it’s a good way to teach myself to stitch by hand. Once I’m mobile, I can apply this knowledge to bigger hand-sewing projects. You can read books about a chosen skill, watch videos, and devour internet content about it to become very well-versed. Even if it’s something you can’t physically do now, you can put all the pieces into place so that when it’s time to do it later, you have the knowledge you need.
If you want to work on your stockpile and supplies, you can have some things delivered. Each Instacart delivery that comes to my house has a few things to add to the stockpile that would never really catch anyone’s attention: a pack of batteries, a dozen canned goods, a bag of rice, a bag of dried beans, flour, a couple of jugs of water, and kitty litter come along with whatever else I’m ordering.
Catch up on reading.
I finally have time to delve into that huge stack of books I’ve been waiting to read. Books about old-fashioned food preservation are in the current pile. You might want to read about building shelters, creating a root cellar, or some other topic that has a lot of information to consume.
Watch preparedness videos.
There are loads of great prepper channels on both YouTube and Rumble. Pick your favorite and find some new preppers and homesteaders to follow. These are great to watch while I work on my sewing skills. (And don’t forget our friends, Modern Refugee and the Survivalist Prepper). It’s pretty easy to go down a fascinating rabbit hole this way!
Write out instructions for loved ones.
Another thing you can do is put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and put together thorough instructions for your family members. Include things like your bug-out plan, how to work the generator, how you start seeds, how to manage household systems, how to treat health issues at home – any of the things you normally handle yourself. You need a HARD COPY of this stuff so that if you are unable to help one day, the people you love will not be stuck with their hands tied.
You can prep when you can’t be active.
Whether your issue is for a few weeks or months like mine or whether you have a permanent disability that keeps you off your feet, you can make the most of this time. Exercise your brain when you can’t exercise your body. It really helps stave off depression and angst from being stuck on the couch, and it gives you a sense of purpose.
It’s important to note that if things went totally sideways while I was supposed to be resting my joints, then I would not be in prime condition to deal ith it. I’m certainly not trying to say that being bedbound is as good as being active. But life throws us a lot of curveballs. We have ups and downs. It’s how you deal with these challenges that speaks to your true character. Are you a survivor or not?
You’re only done when you quit.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been immobile for a while? Do you think it’s possible to prep when you can’t be active? How did you spend your time? What ways were you able to become better prepared when you weren’t able to get outside and do your normal tasks?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.