How well can you provide for your family's basic needs? If this question makes you feel anxious about your basic skills, you're in luck. Whether you live off the grid or not. You CAN improve your self-reliance skills. What you need is a plan to increase your self-reliance activities.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
20+ Self-Reliance Activities
Start small, so you don't get overwhelmed. Look over this list and pick one activity to complete. Then pick another. Your confidence and skills will increase.
Here are 20+ self-reliance activities to help you feel more confident about your self-reliance and preparedness skills.
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1. Create a Go Bag
A Go Bag is a bag you can quickly grab in case of an emergency evacuation. Make sure it includes essentials like water, food, and clothing.
2. Stock up on supplies
Ensure you have a good supply of water, food, medicine, and other basic necessities to prepare for an emergency.
The quickest way to begin is to start buying in bulk to stock up.
3. Learn survival skills
Learning new skills like how to survive in the wilderness or a disaster situation could save your life. And your kids' lives too.
Start learning now, so you're prepared if the time comes. Check out these books to get started.
4. Create an emergency binder
This is a great way to keep all your important information organized and easily accessible in case of an emergency. Keep it easy to grab and go if you need to leave your home quickly.
5. Make a family emergency plan
Having a plan is essential for any kind of emergency situation. Make sure you and your family members know what to do and where to go if something happens.
6. Plant a garden
Begin working towards planting enough to feed your family so you'll be less dependent on supermarket shelves.
7. Build a survival shelter
Knowing how to build a survival shelter could save your life if you ever find yourself stranded or lost in the wilderness. Check out this post from Outdoor Life Magazine to learn how.
8. Get in shape
In times of crisis, being physically fit will help you better cope and survive. Start working out now so you're prepared for whatever might come your way.
9. Store food long-term
One key to prepping is having food stored away for long-term emergencies. Learn how to store food properly to last for the long run (as in years) without spoiling.
10. Connect with like-minded people
The best way to prepare for anything is by connecting with others with similar interests and goals.
Join an online prepping forum or meetup group to get started. Other people can also provide inspiring examples of self-reliance.
11. Preserve food
Canning and dehydrating are great ways to preserve food for long-term food storage.
Learn easy ways to get started with canning and dehydrating your own food.
12. Get a generator
Providing your own power is an important long-term self-reliance goal.
And a generator can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation, giving you power when there's none available. Budget for a generator if you're worried about power outages or a long-term electricity grid shutdown.
Invest in a good quality generator and keep it well-maintained. Over the years, we've used backup portable gasoline and diesel generators when needed.
13. Learn self-defense
Knowing how to defend yourself is important to be prepared for anything. Join a self-defense class or watch online tutorials to get started.
Depending on your own values and beliefs, this could also include taking weaponry courses.
14. Store water long-term
Water is essential for survival. It's critical to have a good supply stored away.
And see how we get water at our off grid home in Canada's far north.
15. Get out of debt
Self-reliance activities also include depending on yourself to make money.
True, regular finance and currency will take a backseat in an extreme emergency situation. However, many people will experience job loss or health issues in their life. We have.
And as a former financial advisor, I've seen firsthand how debt can be a huge burden.
Recently we've been exploring ways to make money on the homestead. Consider turning a hobby into a side hustle. Or start a small family business.
Work on getting out of debt and becoming financially self-reliant now, so you're more financially independent.
16. Learn how to cook without power
Can you create simple, nutritious meals without electricity or gas?
When our generator shed burned to the ground on Christmas Eve, 2019, I made chicken and dumplings on the wood stove - delicious!
We also have a portable propane camp stove for camping that works well in emergencies.
From time to time, I haul our dutch oven outdoors to practice making dutch oven soups or dutch oven steak recipes over a campfire.
17. Become more self-sufficient in life skills
When it comes to defining self-reliance and self-sufficiency, everyone is different.
Think long and hard about which preparedness skills will positively impact your situation, based on your own intuitions. I can't stress this enough.
As a family, we were already focused on homesteading and survival self-reliance activities. The events of the past two and a half years just made us more determined.
The simple truth is this. The more self-sufficient you are in today's world, the less reliant you'll be on others in an emergency situation.
Raise self-reliant kids
Begin working on becoming more self-sufficient now. Then you'll be better prepared for anything.
And don't forget about including your family.
Raising self-reliant kids is an important part of our own family values.
They work alongside us as we cook and bake without power. Together we learn to use herbal remedies and pursue homestead crafts and DIY activities.
Once you adopt the life skill teaching mindset, it's easy. Learning self-reliance skills often become a whole-family experience.
Look for ways to teach young children and older kids too 4-outdoor skills.
We include homesteading skills in our homeschool day. And we focus on adventuresome games such as outdoor scavenger hunts, geocaching, and compass/navigation exercises.
18. Build an emergency fund
It may seem strange to include this on a list of self-reliance activities, but I am.
As a former banker, I'm a firm believer in financial self-sufficiency. And that starts with an emergency fund.
An emergency fund is a must for any prepper.
Learn to save money to build this fund now. It will help you cover unexpected costs in an emergency situation and keep you from going into debt.
19. Start a fire without matches or a lighter
This is one of several fun activities we have done in our outdoor setting.
There are many ways to start a fire without matches or a lighter. One way is to use a Ferro rod.
A Ferro rod is a metal stick with a magnetized tip. You can scrape the metal against the striker on the back of the rod to create sparks.
Another way to start a fire without matches or a lighter is to use a magnifying glass. The sun's rays will focus on the tinder and start a fire.
20. Find alternate ways to heat and cool your home in an emergency
After experiencing numerous power outages as a young adult living in the city, I became interested in alternative energy sources. Solar power, wind power, and geothermal heating, to be specific.
And after moving to Canada's Northwest Territories, I learned it's possible to heat a home with wood only. Even when outside temperatures hit -40F and colder.
Depending on where you live, explore alternative heating/cooling options. If you are on the grid, make a backup plan for heating and/or cooling your home during short-or-long-term power outages.
The best way to become more self-reliant and prepared for any situation is to start small. And start now.
This will help boost your level of confidence in your own actions and abilities to solve your own problems and meet your own wants.