Maybe you’ve always dreamed of running away to your own personal place of solace and starting a homestead, or perhaps you love the thought of living in a sustainable, interdependent community. You may simply desire to survive the collapse of society, whether or not anyone else helps you to do it. If any of these describe you, you’re ready to learn how to become self-sufficient.
Learning how to become self-sufficient is no small task, especially in modernized cultures that emphasize exchanging invisible currencies for tangible (but often perishable) goods and services. How do you become self-reliant if no one has taught you the skills, or if you still have so much to learn? Keep reading to learn the steps to true independence.
What Is Self-Sufficiency?
Self-sufficiency is the ability to facilitate your own survival without external aid, as well as a lifestyle that cultivates confidence in your ability to thrive on your own resources. Sourcing your own food, water, shelter, and energy are some of the basic requirements of becoming self-sufficient.
Why Learn How to Become Self-Sufficient?
In such an interconnected world, why would anyone need to know how to become self-sufficient?
Survival preparedness is one of the most common desires that spurs the need for self-sufficiency. Whenever water stops flowing from the faucet, or the power shuts off for the indeterminate future, and food shortages leave supermarkets bereft, how will you ensure that you and your loved ones can continue to live and enjoy a good quality of life? It’s clear, now, why survival is such a motivator for this practice.
Ethical and spiritual values can also draw individuals to learn how to become self-sufficient. Some people conscientiously object to current political systems that can favor corporate corruption at the detriment of marginalized global citizens. Desiring to exist without destroying the environment, participating in animal cruelty, or promoting human slavery plays a role in encouraging people toward more humane living.
Some people simply wish for a way of life that is more connected to nature, its resources, and the people who live within and cultivate it. Local, seasonal produce can be hard to access for some members of society, and those who enjoy a slower pace of life that is more connected to the earth could thrive in residences and communities where like-minded people band together for land stewardship and harmony.
Finally, some incredibly independent types enjoy the pleasure of knowing that they can fend for themselves without the need to rely on anyone. Whether from a lack of trust or an indomitable spirit, the satisfaction of the DIY life is attractive to a variety of people.
How to Become Self-Sufficient Mentally
There are many challenges in transitioning to a self-sufficient lifestyle, and it doesn’t happen all at once. Adopting a strong frame of mind to confront your inner fears and insecurities around survival will help you to cultivate the fortitude to keep learning new skills even whenever the going gets tough.
1. Live Simply
One of the main adjustments away from life as a dependent of the system is embracing simplicity. Try making a list of the things you actually require to survive, and compare that to your current possessions. Unless you’re already practicing a minimalist lifestyle, learning how to become self-sufficient can be shocking.
When you invest in only what you need, the result is more money in your pocket, less clutter and waste in your living environment, and more energy to devote to your passions. Establish a budget to help you eliminate debt and live within your means. Financial freedom and unattachment to possessions is the first step in liberation.
Remember that relationships and experiences are the true riches in life. Adopt practices such as reflection and meditation to encourage feelings of contentment and gratitude for what you have. Whenever you no longer feel like you need to buy into the materialism that society offers, there’s nothing for you to lose in learning how to become self-sufficient.
2. Eliminate Addictions
Even aside from controlled substances, things like caffeine, excessive sugar, and an over-abundance of screen time all create bodily imbalances that drain your mental and physical resources. Consider this: how would you survive an emergency without your phone? Learning how to become self-sufficient includes detaching from socially-prescribed dependencies in favor of holistic wellbeing.
3. Maximize Resources and Reduce Waste
Recycling, upcycling, using cloth instead of paper or plastic, and opting for biodegradable or compostable products are just some of the ways that you can reduce waste and make the most of your resources. Much of what contemporary Americans throw away, especially mildly bruised produce, can be repurposed instead of contributing to a landfill of noxious materials.
You may not know how to reuse something, but perhaps your resourceful friend does. Learning more crafts and survival skills will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and waste output. Look at everything as a resource, and realize how true that notion is!
4. Learn to Try Again with Every Failure
No one becomes independent overnight. Learning how to become self-sufficient is a true challenge. Reward yourself for your efforts and learning experiences, even when they don’t go as planned. This will help you to develop the resilience necessary to survive on your own.
How to Become Self-Sufficient Physically
1. Learn Survival Skills
Many people imagine that survival only happens in dense forests or remote deserts, but real survivors can also get by at home whether they are in rural or urban settings. Below is a non-exhaustive list of essential skills to learn.
Can you collect rainwater, or purify and disinfect water that has been gathered from a natural source? Do you know how to properly store water long-term to ensure months of cooking, washing, and hygiene needs are met? Do you know how much water a person needs to drink each day? Attaining these skills must be at the top of the list for survivalists and individuals learning how to become self-sufficient.
Canning and dehydrating food for long-term storage, as well as being able to cook your own food to begin with, are also essential. The ability to identify edible foods for foraging is also necessary if you ever need to eat on-the-go or don’t have the resources to establish your own homestead. Composting is another skill that reduces waste and nurtures a homegrown garden that can nurture you.
When it comes to learning how to become self-sufficient, growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is not only a culinary skill, it’s a medicinal skill as well. Understanding the properties of the foods you eat can help inform your self-care choices and first aid options in survival scenarios. Learn how to identify viable seeds and save them for future applications.
Even if you’re not growing your own food yet, eating locally, seasonally, and organically can help attune your body to your current region so that your physical constitution can thrive.
Hunting and fishing are amongst the quintessential skills that many survivalists imagine in emergency scenarios. While vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based survivalists may thrive on resources they can grow and forage, carnivorous survivors will want to learn how to source their own meats, poultry, and seafood. In addition to being a more ethical way to consume meat, wild game offers abundant health benefits.
Just remember that, whether you kill it or harvest it, you’ll need to be able to understand the anatomy and edible portions of your food source. Being able to prepare it for yourself is the only way to ensure solo survival.
Learning to sew (or knit, or crochet) is invaluable for maintaining and manufacturing clothes when no one else can do it for you. Being able to wash and air dry your own clothes is also important.
Woodworking and basic carpentry are also invaluable skills for becoming self-sufficient. If those seem daunting, start with learning how to properly handle basic tools, and then begin practicing basic repairs. If you have access to an experienced mentor, consider them a resource and ask for help.
2. Make Your House Work for You
For many people, a house is a transitory place to live in-between other transitory places to live that will eventually belong to someone else. With this mentality, there may be little regard for home maintenance, or for maximizing the energy potential and sustainability of the home.
When learning how to become self-sufficient, remember that your shelter is key to your ability to thrive. Minimize the amount of grid energy that your home requires, and integrate clean, alternative power if you can. Many states have solar power incentives, and there are a variety of starter kits online. Even if you need to invest in a back-up generator, it’s important to know that your house will always have power.
Gardening at home, being frugal with your water usage, installing rainwater catchment systems, and creating household procedures that make sustainability easy will help you to receive the most benefit from your living situation. Even if you live in an apartment, you can start these projects and benefit.
If you’re living with family, friends, or roommates, ask them to get involved in becoming self-sufficient. A household that works together, thrives together. A key factor in group survival is the ability to function as a team. To succeed at this, everyone must be motivated to contribute to the good of the group and hold themselves accountable for being considerate of resources.
3. Create a Homestead Right Where You Are
The former section describes some self-sufficient adaptations that are suitable for many urban dwellings and small living spaces. If you have ample space and own your own property, then homesteading is within reach for you and your loved ones.
Begin growing foods that are native to your region, and heirloom varieties that have survived the test of centuries. If you can acquire livestock, invest in chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, or other animals that can provide eggs, milk, wool, and meat. You can connect with a local farmer to source your animal feed, or increase your self-sufficiency by growing food for your animals right on your land.
Even if you won’t be acquiring livestock, consider any animal companions or family pets you already have. Could you continue to feed them if the pet store shut down? Begin learning about the dietary needs of any non-human friends to ensure that everyone thrives in your self-sufficient environment.
4. Become an Entrepreneur
While it may seem counter-intuitive to participate in business when you’re learning how to become self-sufficient, the ability to cultivate your own financial wellbeing will allow you to thrive in the world as we know it and in the world post-society, should it ever come.
Financial independence helps you to fund your self-sufficient journey, and acquire more resources (such as property, equipment, and livestock, if you don’t already have them) that will create a comfortable sustainable establishment for you and your survival team.
If you’re going solo, consider the skills that you have that would be valuable no matter what happens to humanity. Growing food, mending clothes, and even providing mental-emotional support are among these skills. If you don’t currently have any identifiable essential skills, maximize the skills you do possess!
Writing, creating art, and performance careers may seem frivolous to most survivalists, but these traditions have withstood the tests of millennia to carry the stories and traditions of humanity into our current times. Whether you have digital or non-digital skills, hone them and offer them for a fair price that allows you to improve your quality of life and meet your goal of becoming self-sufficient.
If you’re working in a group, starting a partnership or home-based family business can help everyone feel more practical, fulfilled, and integral to the long-term survival of the team. Developing a reliable local business will not only help you enjoy personal wealth in current society, it will also establish you as an invaluable resource for neighbors and friends who may not be as prepared as you when the time comes.
Is Becoming Self-Sufficient Truly Possible?
While the bootstraps-loving American ideals of self-determination often illustrate individuals as totally separate from one another, this is never truly the case. Only in rare instances do human beings live alone, and very few thrive this way. We are social creatures, and being able to share resources and relationships is part of what makes life easier and more worthwhile.
Learning how to become as self-sufficient as you can will always empower you, but you may never be totally capable of surviving as a single person. Even if you could, you would likely become lonely and exhausted as a result.
For this reason, it’s most desirable to create interdependent communities in which every member contributes to the overall sustainability of the group. Sharing responsibilities and resources allows everyone to rest and enjoy quality experiences together. This is what it means to truly thrive.
Wrapping Up How to Become Self-Sufficient
Now that you’ve learned the keys for becoming self-sufficient, which skills will you learn first? If you’re not sure yet, get started learning how to procure your own water. Consider teaching your friends and family how to become self-sufficient as well, so everyone can thrive regardless of what comes your way.