Self reliance is pretty important in my life, and many people wonder why. I decided to break down what self reliance What is self reliance? Raising animals, making your own medicine, gardening, cooking from scratchis, and why it is important.

What is self reliance? Self reliance is gaining skills and supplies so that you can take care of yourself and your family. And skills are more important than supplies!

According to Merriam-Webster, “Self reliance is reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities; or able to take care of oneself or itself without outside help”. And according to the Power Thesaurus, some common synonyms are: self-sufficiency, independence, self-sustained, security, autonomous, sovereignty, and grit.

Hmmm, grit…I like it! Makes me feel a little John Wayne-ish!

Why is self reliance important?

      • You reduce your carbon footprint
      • You can help improve the land and environment
      • You will gain great self-esteem and a sense of pride
      • You will be prepared for the “what-ifs”
      • You will be able to help your family and friends in the event of an emergency
        -Natural or man-made disasters
        -Economic downturn
        -Societal collapse
        -Even a tight financial month can be an emergency
      • You will gain a sense of peace and well-being, knowing you can make it!
      • You can stop worrying about so many things
      • You can save money by doing things yourself
      • You are in control over what you eat, making healthy living easier

Self reliance helps lessen the strain on the environment. If you are not getting a bunch of stuff shipped from one country to another, that helps reduce your carbon footprint.

Most self reliant families strive to be good stewards of the land. This also helps the environment.

Being self reliant and having everything your family needs greatly reduces stress and anxiety. This is so important in this high-stress world!

Self reliance lets you live more stress-free
Self reliance lets you live more stress-free

Skills to learn to increase your self reliance:

    • Growing/raising your own food/herbs
    • Hunting for your food
    • Foraging for wild food
    • Making your own medicine
    • Cooking from scratch
    • Preserving the bounty
    • Wasting less
    • Reusing more
    • Making chemical-free cleaners
    • Getting your own firewood
    • Learning to budget so you have money set aside
    • Reducing your expenses
    • Making your own income
    • Being resourceful
    • Using free or cheap materials
    • Finding alternate uses for things
    • Learning to barter
  • Self reliance through gardening
    Gardening for self reliance

How living on a homestead helps you to be more self reliant:

    • You learn how to save money by reusing and upcycling things
    • You learn how to grow your own food and herbs
    • You learn to raise animals for meat and dairy
    • You can make an income from your homestead if you plan correctly
    • You will learn how to do basic building
    • You will need to be resourceful and creative sometimes to get what you need/want
    • You will realize you can do this!!

Also check out this post on more ideas for being self reliant.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need acres and acres of land to be self reliant. I believe that you can raise everything that your family needs with just a few acres. For a big family, maybe 5. We are fairly self reliant, and we live on 3.8 acres. And we have a big family!

Now I have to admit, we want to get a lot more land, so that we can make a living off of it. But it’s not necessary if you’re just wanting to provide for your family’s needs.

If planned correctly, and you raise animals that don’t take a lot of space, like meat rabbits, you can raise a years supply of meat on just a couple of acres. And a 25×25 foot garden can usually grow all of the vegetables an average-sized family needs for the year.

Meat rabbits are great for self reliance
Meat rabbits are great for self reliance

Is self reliance prepping?

Is self reliance prepping? Short answer – no. But it does have some similarities. Prepping often involves wilderness survival techniques and preparing for the zombie apocalypse. But self reliance goes much deeper. It’s about taking care of your family’s basic needs, during good times and bad.

Self reliance is a lifestyle, and some people look down on this lifestyle, calling it prepping and casting a negative light on it. I personally think that attitude needs to change. It is everyone’s responsibility to learn how to take care of themselves.

Self reliance may seem like a hassle during good times, but it is a godsend during hard times.

How many people, in the event of an emergency, rely on others (especially their government) for their security and basic needs? What is the strain on our government’s resources to have to take care of all of our people when things get bad? And what is the cost to each individual to have to get everything from someone else? I believe the cost is great.

If you don’t work on your own self reliance, you are dependent. You are not free. You are not in control.

Do you want to be dependent?

This is not going to become a prepper debate, but I want you to think of something for a minute. If the government can’t provide, and no one is there with their hand-out, what are the unprepared masses going to do? There will be all sorts of lawlessness. Looting, robbing, stealing, and murdering. The world will be chaos.

Imagine now, if you will, that you are above all of that. Imagine if you have your needs already taken care of. That you know how to grow your own food, make your own medicine, and have a nice little place of your own that you can do all that and more on. Imagine what kind of freedom and pride that will give you. That’s what I want for you, my friend!

Self reliance is a journey
Self reliance is a journey

Self reliance is a journey

Self reliance is a journey, not a destination. I don’t think there is a point where anyone can say that they are truly, 100% self reliant. Unless you’re Amish, I guess? And that’s okay! Do what you can with what you have, commit to always learning, use your new skills, and enjoy the journey!


Oak Hill Homestead

This post may be shared on Family Homesteading and Off The Grid Blog Hop, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Farm Fresh Tuesday, and Old Paths to New Homesteading & Self-Reliant Living.




  1. Hi there! This is Chelsea from The Green Acre Homestead, I’m a co-host of the Simple Homestead Blog Hop and I’m featuring you this week for the #176 hop! I love this post and you make so many great points. I always use the term “self-sustainability” but I love “self-reliance” SO much more! Be sure to come over to the hop tomorrow and pick up your “I’m featured” button through my page! Thanks for being a part of our little hop and I look forward to seeing more from you. Congrats!

    1. Hi Chelsea! I’m honored to be featured in the Simple Homestead Blog Hop! Love what you’re doing! I’ll get all geared up to go tomorrow.
      Thanks again!

  2. Hi Shawna…so glad you are joining the Self Reliance Challenge in January! We all need to learn the skills necessary to take care of ourselves and our families!

    Saw you are featured on the Simple Homestead Hop…congrats!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I’m proud to be a part of the Self Reliance Challenge. Self reliance is so very important to me!

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