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When you think of being in “survival mode,” what comes to mind? Surviving on scraps, you find in the wilderness? Jumping at every sudden noise with a knife in hand?


While these dystopian images may seem not far fetched for some, being in survival mode may encompass far more than just these extremes. It refers to the state of being focused on the more primary, fundamental needs of survival instead of the needs focused on fulfillment and higher quality of life. What is confusing is that some of us may find ourselves fluctuating in and out of survival mode,

with more extended periods being in it than we are used to. 

You might be in “survival mode” if: 

  • Hobbies that previously held interest for pure fun and pleasure no longer have much value 
  • Fixation on making sure your home is well stocked with provisions 
  • Being more “on edge” than normal/heightened “fight/flight/freeze” response
  • Lowered motivation for activities not directly needed for family’s well being

What do we do about it? First… we breathe… and try to relax. We are going through an extremely difficult time as a society and world community. Being patient with ourselves through this process is so important. Your body and brain are merely doing what they are supposed to do when they perceive a threat to their existence is present. While it may feel like they are an enemy, they are trying to protect and ensure your survival in a simple, life or death way. 

Second, remind yourself of the things you do have in place to keep you and your family safe and secure. You have done and are doing so much! Give yourself that credit and recognition. It may feel like it will never be enough, and there aren’t any guarantees, but you have already been doing an incredible amount to protect you and your family. 

Third, take some time to evaluate small things you can do to increase the quality of life maybe. This time can be about more than just surviving. Remind yourself WHY you keep moving forward and what you enjoy out of life. Maybe it is taking time to talk with friends, make some art with your kids, take some extra time to enjoy a particularly good meal, anything that reminds you not just that you’re alive, but how great being alive can be. 

What are you doing to enjoy life at this moment beyond just surviving?

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