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Emergency Preparedness, Minimalist Style

Emergency Preparedness, Minimalist Style

    Almost everyone who is interested in life hacks has come across the concept of minimalism at some point. Living with less means you have less clutter in your life, which always helps with productivity. One subset of the minimalist movement is 100-item Minimalism, where people make a commitment to live with 100 items or less in their homes.

    But a lot of detractors of the 100-item minimalist lifestyle say that living this way is really impractical, even if it has productivity benefits. For example, if you subscribe to 100-item minimalism, then how do you adequately prepare for an emergency scenario? How do you make room in your life for the items that could save you in the event of a hurricane, natural disaster, or terrorist attack?

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    For apartment dwellers, this need to minimize possessions is especially key. If you have a studio, you probably barely have enough storage space as it is…but making room for emergency supplies is tough!

    Emergency Preparedness and Minimalism Are Two Sides of the Same Coin

    At least, according to the woman who runs ApartmentPrepper.com, a wife and mother who became interested in blogging about emergency preparedness after Hurricane Ike hit her home city of Houston. She argues:

    “If you think about it, preparedness and minimalism can actually go hand in hand…Cutting down on so much material possessions and focusing on the minimum items that are truly necessary to live is the first step to being a minimalist.  Emergency items, to a prepper, falls under the “needs” category…With preparedness items, you can be selective with what kinds of gadgets do you really need. The rewarding part will come, as we find newly freed space for the stored food and water, which we do need.”

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    The team at SurvivalBackpacker.com agrees.

    “Survivalism and minimalism share common roots insofar as they’re both conducive to flexibility and adaptation.  In an emergency situation, you need to be able to adapt quickly.  And having less “stuff” to deal with (in your home as well as in your head) helps,” one post explains. “But so much of preparedness is often about stockpiling goods and food – in addition to the extra equipment and gear so often needed for being able to live outdoors.  How do we reconcile being prepared with living minimally?”

    “Authentic survival is already minimalist in its own way.  If it’s just you and your backpack, you will want to keep your items as lightweight and as few as possible…In sum, at first it seems as though preparedness is at odds with living sustainably and minimally, until you look at the common needs and assumptions of each lifestyle.  Stockpiling foods is a symptom of the consumerist lifestyle of excess most of us are used to living.  Authentic survival skills allow you to live closer to the land – it’s really not a cliche – and in so doing, you’ll be more green and minimalist than you probably expected.”

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    Small Scale Preparedness

    If you want to be prepared for a disaster, but still use a minimal amount of space, you might want to consider having a small kit you can store in your car or even in your purse. For example, Think Geek sells an emergency first aid kit that fits inside a sardine can.

    It’s waterproof, compact (4.25″ x 3″ x .9″), impact resistant, and even floats in water.

    The Home Depot also offers some basic emergency preparedness supplies that are compact and well-suited to any minimalist’s home.

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    The Ready America Grab ‘n Go Kit 2-Person Backpack contains food and water that will sustain two people for about three days. The seven pound backpack is only about 13 inches tall, and also contains a 33-piece first aid kit, ponchos, gloves, and face masks.

    For under $50, you can be prepared for most minor disasters, without having to sacrifice too much room in your home or apartment. If you are only going to live with 100 items, it makes sense that at least one of those items would be a disaster readiness kit.

    Conclusion

    The more prepared you are now, the less time and energy you will waste later if you have to run around and purchase disaster supplies at the last minute. From either a productivity, minimalist, or emergency preparedness standpoint, it makes sense to be ready to face any curve balls that life may throw at you.

    More by this author

    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

    Does the Pomodoro Technique Work for You? The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

    More Health Tips

    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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