SHTF Recreation

Recreation is an important part of your preps that everyone should think about. It's easy to get caught up in the serious stuff like food storage and arsenal maintenance. At some point you're going to get a chance for a break and you'll want to take that opportunity to relieve some stress. These days a break from reality is right at our fingertips. We can turn on a TV and get away from everything for a few hours. We can turn on our playstations, Xboxes, Nintendos or whatever and fire up a game that can easily occupy us for hours. The internet is an infinite source of entertainment and information. One of the most obvious indicators that you are in a real SHTF scenario will be when the lights go out and you don't have constant, easy access to all of those anymore. So what do you do when the easy entertainment sources aren't always available? There are plenty of options out there.

Books are a great start. If the lights go out and nothing else is going on then it's probably going to get really quiet. What better time to crack open a book? I keep a lot of books around the house and a lot of them are books that I haven't read. I have a hard time rereading books that I've already read even when it's been years since I've read it. Once I get back into it then I recall everything that happened and I quickly lose interest. That's why I've got a lot of books that I haven't read yet. When I see an interesting one at a thrift store, the cheap rack at a normal store or a box of them at a garage sale for next to nothing then I snatch them up and put them on the shelf.

If you're not the only one that's trying to kick back and relax then you might want to think about something that everyone can participate in. A deck of cards is the age old standby. There are a lot of different games that you can play with a deck of cards and they're dirt cheap. Board games can also be interesting. A good game of chess can occupy a pair of decent players for hours. The chess board can also double as a checker board if you've got little ones or people that don't know how to play chess that you need to keep occupied. I've got a few multi game boards in my preps which gives me access to several classic board games like backgammon, chess, checkers, mai jong and some others to keep things mixed up and interesting. Darts, pool, foosball and other "bar games" like that might also be an option if you've got the space for them.

Another thing that you might consider if you've got the space are some active sports. Some type of self defense or martial arts training can be a lot of fun, build confidence, strength, stamina, coordination and, of course, hand to hand skills. The catch to this is that you need someone that knows what they're doing to teach it. Stuff like baseball, basketball, soccer and other active, team sports are another option. Soccer is the most popular sport in third world countries for a reason. It's easy to play, it's easy to learn and it's easy to find space for.

Music is another great pastime. Learn to play an instrument (preferably something that doesn't require electricity) and you can keep whole crowds entertained if you're any good. If you're not playing for a crowd then just practicing can pass the time nicely. Find some likeminded musicians that you get to know well now and you'll have just one more thing in common that strengthens the bond between you all.

Everyone needs a break. You're not going to be on patrol every minute of the day that you're not eating or sleeping. The garden won't need to be tended 24/7. Every once in a while you'll find yourself sitting around with nothing to do. Take advantage of your time off and relax. Have some fun. Teach the kids some basic skills. Get to know some other people. It'll help take the edge off.


Can I suggest a traditional version of trivial pursuit? Not the movie or pop culture versions, but the kind we grew up with. Full of history, science and those ever useful tidbits of useless info. Be like learning with play, the way it is supposed to be instead of with a talking animated character of some sort.
Ryan said…
For SHTF time recreation be sure to minimize risk of injury or at with potentially useful activities (martial arts) balance the benefit to the risk. For example the SHTF crew is going to play a friendly game of football and you have some of those macho type A personalities. Things get a scosh rough and someone breaks an arm or leg. It is not as simple as a trip to the emergency room and a cast for a couple of months. Focus on activities that will not become full contact sports. Wiffle ball and frizbee are good, football and sparing/ grappling are bad.
Rob Taylor said…
On the book front I try to keep more than just fiction. Keep some Philosophy or other things that will challenge you around that you haven't read. Stretching the mind would help pass the time faster than perhaps the newest JD Robb
Trivial Pursuit is an awesome idea. I'm going to have to pick up a copy of that soon.

I agree that with some activities you'll have to be careful. Everyone in your group should know and understand the risks involved with more dangerous activities. When I mentioned that you should have someone around that knows what they're doing I meant that they should know enough to be able to instruct PROPERLY. Starting a game of tackle football where no one is wearing any gear and medical attention could be hours or even days away (if it's available at all) would be pretty stupid. I have a feeling that the people who actually survive long enough that they can actually start enjoying themselves again from time to time will have enough common sense to play it safe.

Rob, those are exactly the types of books that I try to collect. It's great to focus your collection on fiction and practical books that can show you how to do things but I also think that educational books are quite possibly even more important. You need to know history. You need to read about and understand different lines of thinking in politics. You need to have a firm grasp of science. Knowing the recipe for gun powder and being able to produce it yourself is one thing but actually understanding the chemical makeup, how the ingredients react and why it reacts the way that it does is another thing entirely. There's just a ton of information that you can get from books and if the lights ever go out then you won't have that information at your fingertips like you do now with the internet.
Ryan said…
When it comes to danger and contact sports I was thinking more about being extra careful during real short term stuff like Hurricane's and such where people might not realize the potential seriousness of an injury. As for someone knowing what they are doing and being properly trained the two people I know who have gotten seriously hurt during organized martial arts were in the presence of very experienced people. IMHO grappling is on the list of activities that just aren't worth it in that situation.
Patricia said…
Good post! My parents bought a series of books on the history of Western Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant. Great big huge things. I've been saving them to read (aloud, hopefully, to kids and others) post-crash. They're heavy going at times... we keep a bunch of survival type books, knowledge books, and plenty of good historical fiction. Should keep our minds active...
Anonymous said…
I read all about Che before Che became kewl. Whether or not you like the guy, much can be learned from his successful guerilla war against a standing army.

In his writings he mentioned several times how books would be shared among his men as a means of passing the time and taking a break. Reading is quiet, consumes little energy, and gives the mind a chance to rest.

If everyone in the group carries a book, the sum total could be a quite substantial library.
Shy Wolf said…
Hmmm..interesting ideas here. Some of my thinking about 'recreation' for SHTF scenarios was a bit different than sughested, but perhaps as practical. When we were kids, our number one enemy was too dang much often we were chased from the house, even at nite, well, evenings. We'd plsay nite-time steal the flag, tag, hide'n seek. Daytimes, our activities were a bit more realistic. Archery practice, 'stalking' games to learn silence and concealment, fishing, foot races, practicing such things as (oooo, the danger!) gymnastics, without instructors, boxing, wrestling, bareback riding. While it's true injuries do happen in contact sports, having a fear of doing them 'just because' doesn't make a lot of sense to me: there's a very good possibility knowing even rudimentary skills in martial arts can be life-saving. To deny practicing them is quite possibly dangerous.
However, there's a lot to be said for reading and board games.
Thanks for your patience, Folks. God bless.

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