I've been thinking about psychological preparations.
One thing I recall from the survival section of CDN hunter's training manual is that one of the major dangers is actually boredom! It's the opposite of panic, but can be just as hard to deal with.
Maybe there should be a prepper Zen koan - boredom and panic chase each other's tails?
Boredom is a pretty dangerous force in society at large. I see it as sort of like the baseline mindset that generates all kinds of impulses in people around us on a day-to-day basis, whether its the allure of sex, drugs, or a bunch of kids running around mindlessly breaking bottles in the local park, which I saw recently. It's a dopamine low that craves stimulation, and we generate thoughts and emotions to justify the satisfaction of whatever the craving might be. It can be a quick trip to trouble.
When we realize that we're lost in the woods, the best practice is to create a secure shelter, and make an SOS ground sign for search and rescue crews who might be searching via helicopter, and then sit down, take stock of supplies and surroundings, then make a plan - in other words, stay in place, and stay calm. As I recall, boredom is one of the main reasons why people who are lost in the woods who have taken all of these steps end up just wandering off, getting even more lost, and when the rescue crews arrive at their SOS, they are nowhere to be found.
I think the warning about boredom applies to all types of crisis scenarios, not just wilderness survival - in particular when thinking about the videos above that state that a sort of waiting game may last three weeks minimum in a truly catastrophic situation. Getting stuck inside at home for three weeks may be like a vacation for some, or a torture for others. The lockdowns were a prime example of this. So strategizing to deal with boredom would be a good thing to consider.
I've experienced very long hours of silent waiting while out hunting, and I can attest to the struggle with boredom. It's actually really hard! When there's nothing to do but sit there and wait, I've noticed it's a ripe time for dissociation, or getting hijacked by the Predator mind. It really puts into perspective what Mary Balogh wrote:
"When you are alone in such surroundings (the wilderness), you come face-to-face with yourself or else you go mad."
I think that's what a lot of us have been doing here for years - coming face-to-face with ourselves. So we've had some practice, but the times to come might crank up this challenge by an order of magnitude.
I've been thinking about framing the closing of the grand cycle in terms of the death of the world we've known. There is a certain psychological effect that can occur during times of death, in particular amongst the relatives of the dying. People generally walk around carrying a lot of buried psychological material, and when the shock of death arrives, it can come pouring out, manifesting all sorts of uncharacteristic behaviours and physical and mental illnesses. That's just one person dying - I can't imagine what it will be like if it is a civilization or a culture. Could be pretty tough.
A key psychological preparation would be learning how to flow with grief in a healthy way. It's good to see @Mariama
's post above. Thanks for that! I think I'll spend some more time reading about death and grief. In practical terms for me, it may be that I have to bury my parents in their backyard. Or, perhaps even more difficult, just one of them. Or maybe my neighbours' 4 year old girl is suddenly an orphan who needs care. I don't spend too much time ruminating on these scenarios, but from time to time, I look at the world around me, imagine a difficult situation, and mentally go through what I would do.
Thanks for the thread, it's good to get all this out!