By Jessica Larson
As women, we’ve historically had to fight for our rights to allow us to live an equitable and fair existence in this world. There’s still some work to be done on this front, but over the decades we’ve demonstrated how strong and capable we truly are.
Life has its way of tossing us a curveball every now and then. Consider the current Covid-19 pandemic. With the coronavirus still spreading, society is in a place where everyone, women and men alike, must demonstrate they can effectively respond to crisis and bolster their self-reliance. Sure, we’ve all heard of the effects of hurricanes, floods and wildfires, but unless you’ve lived it, it’s hard to digest. Until it happens.
With the future still cloudy until the pandemic situation is under control, there is no better time to prepare ourselves for whatever situations life may throw at us. Economists are suggesting an uncertain financial future, and social distancing, along with quarantines, may remain the norm for some time to come. This is a time we must rise above the situation, stay resilient and be more self-reliant. Here are some actions you can take.
1. Learn vital life skills you’re lacking.
This pandemic has shown us how quickly things can change – literally overnight. We went from life as we knew it to being in isolation, practicing social distancing and losing access to consumer products and services we took for granted.
The healthcare industry is heavily taxed as they deal with the pandemic around the clock. Now is a great time to learn or brush up on your First Aid skills or take CPR training. Knowing these two vital skills can literally save a life in an emergency.
Other good skills to learn include the know-how in cooking all of your meals, starting a fire without matches, changing a flat tire, or even driving a stick shift car. In a pandemic or natural disaster, you might not get to choose your resources or have access to those previously available, so it’s good to be prepared for a variety of circumstances.
2. Keep your debt down.
In an emergency situation, having too much debt can turn a bad circumstance into a critical one. Everyone should always try to keep an easily accessible stash of cash, have available credit on their cards and possess the ability to take out a loan if needed.
If you know your rating is less than optimal, take steps now to fix it, so you don’t struggle down the road. A good credit score equates to better access to loans and friendlier interest rates. Never ignore and/or neglect your financial situation because a day could come where you’ll need access to money fast.
3. Create more efficiency at home.
During ordinary times, we tend to take things for granted. As a result, we might acquire way more items than we need, often leave projects until later to work on (and later never comes!), or not have enough supplies in the event of an emergency. Planning for a disaster means understanding how to put together an emergency supply kit and having adequate supplies on hand.
You’ll need some storage space to store these necessities. Why not go through all of those possessions you don’t really need, or use, and dispose of them? Renting a dumpster is cheaper these days (even if they’re in higher demand as homeowners turn a cloistered eye toward what they could do with their homes). You’ll reclaim your space and use it for the things that really matter in the event a disaster occurs. A big part of self-reliance is not relying on “things” to keep you happy.
4. Gather important information.
In times of crisis, there might be certain information you need quick access to. It’s a good idea to put together a waterproof box and include originals or copies to things like IDs, passports, birth certificates, contact information for family and friends, insurance policies, property titles, medical documentation for serious conditions, medication lists, wills, legal papers (i.e. custody or visitation), some cash and even cherished photos. For scannable documents, you can also consider converting these to digital files and keep a secured backup copy in the cloud to duplicate these important items. This way, you can access essential information in a pinch if you need to.
In our modern times, being prepared helps to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy, happy and safe. Over the centuries, many strong women have quietly taken charge in crisis situations. And, today, we’re still strong in times of need as they arrive. We just have to make sure we’re ready for whatever comes at us.
“The most effective way to do it is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart
Jessica Larson is a married Midwestern mom and a solopreneur. She creates online courses for students and has run several other businesses through the years. Jessica’s goals are to support her family while still actually spending time with them, act as an entrepreneurial role model for her two daughters and share what she’s learned through The Solopreneur Journal.