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Coping with negative feelings: Extreme Temperatures and Fatigue
This week’s “Coping with negative feelings” revolves around physical states that give you an agonizing mental weakness: extreme cold or heat and fatigue.
Most survival books treat these two feelings only from the physical point of view, but the truth is the impact on your mind is just as devastating. Dealing with situations you’ve never encountered before, such as extreme temperatures or severe fatigue can literally block your entire thinking process, turning you into a vegetable. The weakness takes hold of both your body AND you mind. And it doesn’t give you a friendly warning before doing so.
But with just a little bit of focus and constant mental stimulation, you can overcome these difficult obstacles and fight for your life and your loved ones. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do today: discover the best strategies to fight off weakness and keep yourself alert.
Let’s take them one by one:
#1: Extreme cold or heat
Normally, your body temperature should be somewhere about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Any increase or decrease in temperature (even 2-3 degrees!) instantly causes you discomfort and makes you less efficient. However, your life won’t be threatened if the change is so slight.
When the body is forced to deal with extreme temperatures, the body tends to slow down its functions to the minimum, to keep the blood pumping to the heart. When that happens, you’ll start feeling numbness in your hands and feet… and then a strong desire to lay down and take a nap.
This is when the weakness sets in and when your mental effort needs to stay at maximum levels, to keep you alive. Whatever you do, you need to resist the temptation of falling asleep.And if there’s anyone else with you that’s got the same symptoms, try to keep them awake, too. And here’s why: If you let your mind stop its conscious activity, your body may stop its functions, also. This means you can easily die in your sleep without even realizing it.
So the best piece of advice I can give you is: KEEP YOUR MIND ALERT AT ALL TIMES!
And do not give into the need to sleep, not even for a quick nap. I am only talking about extreme situations here, of course. If temperatures are not life-threatening, then make sure you don’t get sleep-deprived, because then another problem sets in:
#2: Severe fatigue
During a disaster or a crisis, many people experience fatigue and sleep deprivation. When you’re fighting for your life, sleep is the last thing on your mind. And it is only natural to put in all your energy to make sure your family makes it throughout the disaster.
But after the danger is over (or it’s diminished), sleep should be your #1 priority. And the reasons are quite intuitive:
– When you’re extremely tired and sleep deprived, looking for food and water becomes almost impossible. So if you need to feed your family, take a 2-minute nap and then get going. I know it’s hard to fall asleep when you know your family needs you, but just think about this: if you don’t, your loved ones may lose the one they depend on. And, trust me, a 20-minute nap can work wonders on an exhausted body.
– When you reach complete exhaustion, you stop being yourself. Your mind is not capable of reasoning anymore and your body listens to no commands. This new you will most likely act like a madman and endanger your own family. This is the moment when you turn from reliable survivor to a burden for the family or even a threat.
So make sure you rest every time you get the chance to and sleep at least 5 hours at night, whenever you can. You may feel guilty for not working more, but remember: you cannot survive without it!
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please feel free to do so in the comment section below. Until next time, stay safe!
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