You are lost, cold, miserable and totally alone in the bush. Night is setting in and you have built a simple shelter that will keep you reasonably comfortable, you are okay for water and hunger has not yet set in.
If you have managed to keep a lid on fear and succeeded in obtaining some shelter and are in not immediately in any life threatening danger, your next battle will most likely be with depression, fatigue or boredom. These three stressors are intertwined. Boredom can lead to depression, depression can lead to fatigue, and fatigue can increase feelings of depression and so on. In a survival situation feelings of loneliness and sadness can be stronger than most of us imagine.
Allowing depression or fatigue to take over will lead to all sorts of other problems. It is very important to maintain as well rested as possible in the circumstances, but at the same time just moping around under the guise of resting will only be counterproductive. Having resiliency skills like the ability to adapt to your situation will go a long way in protecting you from depression. We are very social beings and it is partly due to usually being alone in a survival situation that we feel sad and lonely as we reminisce about the loved ones no doubt anxiously awaiting our return. This can be a wonderful motivator for our will to survive as long as we accept the sad thoughts and continue to move forward. If we allow ourselves to get trapped in the sadness and loneliness, depression can drain us – both mentally and physically. (Remember the importance that Tom Hank’s character put on ‘Wilson’ the friend he made out of a ball).
It is critical to try and keep a positive attitude and not wallow in the misery of the situation. This is best achieved by keeping busy with regular rest periods. Resting for around 10 minutes every hour is a general recommendation. Any form of relaxation, such as yoga or mindfulness, helps to keep rested as well as keeping a positive attitude. Make plans for your circumstances. What equipment have you got and how will you use this? What natural resources are available to you? Look after your clothes and personal hygiene to the best of your ability.
Check out some of our other blogs to learn more about dealing with the common survival stressors.