Survival School: Keep Comfortable – by RC Murphy

Comfort. That concept is the antithesis of what it means to survive in the zombie apocalypse. For the most part, we’re prepared to leave our cozy homes with their soft mattresses, refrigerators, filtered water, and indoor plumbing to chance it on the road in order to stay one step ahead of the undead menace. But without taking a couple moments to pamper yourself, life will start to suck and thoughts will wander. What if I went back home? Surely the zombies skipped my house and moved out of the city.

Yeah, and while they were there, they gave the living room a fresh coat of pain and reupholstered the couch your cats scratched up. Instead of putting yourself in danger’s path with daydreams of normalcy, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do for your road-weary body.

Take care of your transportation: Better get used to hoofing it around the country once gasoline and diesel supplies run out. Walking takes forever, but any forward progress is good when the enemy is shambling in your wake.

  • Invest in good insoles for your shoes/boots. Something graded for a ton of walking or high-impact work insoles.
  • Clean socks. If there’s one thing you over pack in your go bag, make it socks. A quick change will give your tootsies a burst of energy—caffeine for your feet.
  • Freedom. Feet trapped in shoes for too long stay damp and court fungus. Take some time to give them a wash and let them dry out every day. As a bonus treat, give yourself a massage with a dollop of minty lotion.

Soothing sore spots: Not only will fighting the undead take a toll on your muscles, but so will everyday chores—made much more difficult by the lack of modern conveniences. Spas will be seriously lacking, as will a bathtub to soak in, but heat a cold applied to appropriate muscles will help.

Rice heating pads are wonderful and ridiculously easy. Take a tube sock, fill it with dried long grain rice, and warm it. Dried beans would work, as well. Warming will be tricky without a microwave. Put a brick-sized rock near your campfire for about half an hour. Pull it away from the fire with tongs or a pot holder. Set the rice-filled sock on top and flip it over every minute or so until it feels like the rice is heated through. Apply the heating pad to any sore muscles

Ice packs come in handy, too. They’re also pretty easy to make. However, you’ll need access to an ice chest still filled with ice to refreeze these packs once you’re away from home:

  • Method #1: Alcohol/Water Ice Pack
    You’ll need:
    2 cups water
    1 cup rubbing alcohol
    2 zip-top bags (quart or gallon)
    Dump the water and alcohol in the first bag. Seal it, pressing out as much air as possible. Secure the filled bag in the second—just in case there’s leakage when it defrosts. Freeze the mixture for about 12 hours before the first use. It’ll be squishy, but that helps it mold to your body better.
  • Method #2: 1-Ingredient Gel Packs
    You’ll need:
    Corn syrup or dish soap
    2 zip-top bags
    Pour the dish soap or corn syrup into the first bag. Secure the filled bag in the second. Freeze for about 12 hours. These may freeze harder than the above method, but still work well.

Pucker up: Being out in the elements won’t do pretty things to your lips. Wind, sun, and inevitable mild dehydration will chap your lips, possibly to the point where they’ll bleed. Keep Chapstick handy. Or make a quick and easy lip balm from the recipes below.

  • Method #1: Mint and Honey Lip Balm
    You’ll need:
    1 teaspoon petroleum jelly (or Un-Petroleum Jelly)
    peppermint extract
    one teaspoon honey
    small container with a lid.

Heat the petroleum jelly for 30 seconds in the microwave. Mix in 3 drops of peppermint extract and the honey. Put the mixture into the container. Let the lip balm set overnight without the lid. Once the mixture is set, pop the lid on and you’re good to go.

  • Method #2: Drink Mix Lip Balm
    You’ll need:
    A small container
    enough petroleum jelly (or Un-Petroleum Jelly) to almost fill the container
    a packet of flavored drink mix (water bottle add-ins like Kool-Aid or Crystal Light, try to avoid any with aspartame).

Mix the drink mix and petroleum jelly until you reach a color/flavor that appeals to you. Spoon it into the container and close the lid. Done!

Biting pests: We’ve covered bug repellents before, but I’ve discovered a new, super-strong recipe to share. Don’t forget, in a pinch you can simply rub fresh peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, citronella, lemongrass, basil, or lavender on your clothes for moderate insect repelling powers.

  • New recipe: Four Thieves Vinegar
    You’ll need:
    32 ounce bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
    2 tablespoons each of dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint
    a quart size glass jar with airtight lid.

Pour the vinegar and dried herbs into the jar. Seal tightly and set it on the kitchen counter near the coffee pot (or a place you see every day). Shake the jar vigorously every day. Continue for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain out the herbs and store the vinegar in the fridge. To use on skin, dilute with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

There you have it, a few ways to make life running from the undead moderately comfortable, or at least tolerable until the spas open up again