How to Step Out of Survival Mode

You have been living in survival mode for too long but aren’t sure how to climb out of it. How can you handle doing anything more than just getting through the day? A simple tip for your first step out might be to set a bare minimum. Finding and setting a certain standard that, at a minimum, if accomplished, is acceptable to you.

What is a Bare Minimum

Survival mode is distinctive in that you are just getting by. The kids are still alive. The house isn’t burnt down but you can’t handle much more than that. A bare minimum is the next step out. Decide in what area you want to improve, start with just one if you are really struggling. If that one thing gets done, then you know it was a good day.

Recently we moved temporarily into a tiny ‘apartment’ that has no stove or oven, and a TINY fridge. If I want to cook I go into our friend’s house on the same property and use their kitchen. Also, they might not have what I need or I can’t find it and that makes it even more uncomfortable to have to bug them by asking. It is quite inconvenient. I could stress and worry and complain about not eating as well as I would like or I could throw it all to the wind and say, “well I can’t eat healthy so I will just eat whatever I want, it’s only for a month and a half.” Instead, I could set a minimum acceptable standard based on the circumstances I am in and do what I can with what I have.

Areas a Bare Minimum helps


Finding and having a bare minimum keeps me from feeling like I’m not doing enough while keeping on track for goals and ideals I have for myself. But I also discovered that this idea can be used in many other areas! For instance, I was talking with my sister-in-law about her desire to homeschool; often homeschool moms try to do too much and I know she has health issues that have her down and without energy most of the time. I suggested she find a bare minimum to decide that, if nothing else but that got done, she did homeschool that day.


How to Step out of Survival Mode

Another area a bare minimum could be applied is cleaning. I pretty much never deep clean so I pretty much live in bare minimum all the time, but it helps when sick or overwhelmed or having a busy day to have a bare minimum to make sure the house doesn’t fall apart. Maybe it is a load of dishes, start the laundry, and clear the table. Whatever works for you to feel like something got done and you are ok going to bed without feeling like you didn’t do enough.


Who else always feels the need to be doing more exercise? While I am pregnant or post-partum it hits me hard. I need to be walking at LEAST 10,000 steps everyday as well as muscle strengthening and prenatal yoga. That baby will be healthy and I will push her out easy and recover excellently. But real life says that ain’t gonna happen! So finding an ideal, realistic, and bare minimum helps keep me moving and not get discouraged.

Working from home

Working from home | How to step out of survival mode

Are you a work from home momma? Especially when you are just getting started and still trying to find your groove or maybe going through a rough time, sick children, moving, or something, than having a bare minimum might help you to feel like you are still making progress that you don’t feel like giving up. Sitting down to work for 30 minutes might be one for you. Maybe someone else might have send 3 emails. Find what you need to do to still make progress without feeling overwhelmed.


When I go on vacation with my family it is important to me to decide beforehand what we will still keep up with so we don’t throw everything to the wind. Whether it be how we eat, exercise, finances, a bad day, etc., we should all be aware of a bare minimum that we are not willing to cross.

Wherever you need to work on

We can each apply this in many parts of our lives, in relationships, when we are sick, to finances, and so much more. Just pick one area where you might be struggling and work on finding a bare minimum that you won’t cross, that if you make that, it was a good day or accomplishment.

Of course it doesn’t have to be set in stone. Reevaluate where you are in life. We are only in this apartment a month and a half. Newborns are not newborns forever. You won’t be sick forever, hopefully.

On an almost daily basis I will write out three things that will make that day a win. Then I know if I got those bare minimums done I don’t feel the day was wasted, frittered, or lost.

Having a bare minimum could be called survival mode but I feel like it is more than that. It is more like the next step out of survival mode. Slowly increasing your bare minimum as you see fit to help you make and have a better life. I hope you find it helpful and decide on an area that needs a bare minimum to you on track and maybe step up your game and lift your spirits.

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