Post Traumatic Stress Disorder routines are crucial for the progress of one’s recovery.
Especially, if they suffer the symptoms of PTSD often. Life is even harder when there is no routine. Lacking a regimen in the chaotic day-to-day for one who suffers from PTSD will make each day more of a struggle. Experts say that stability is the first step to PTSD recovery. Although, each person’s journey is different, putting into place some normalcy enriches the life of your loved one. Because, each day has many unexpected experiences, developing PTSD routines that work is key. However, too many changes at once could do more harm than good.
Important to remember, is not to overwhelm someone suffering from PTSD. Adding too many things for them to do will result negatively. For instance, doing so could send them into a hellacious episode. This is because they aren’t used to having a routine. And, adding a new “to do” list can be stressful if not done the right way.
Remember to take baby steps. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Discussing a routine and what they are comfortable with is a great place to start. This routine needs to come from what they feel is best for them too. PTSD routines include morning, afternoon, evening, and night-time activity. Start small, and begin with designing one for the morning.
PTSD Routines: Night Vrs Morning
As you can see, a morning routine is the best place to start. Currently, you may notice that PTSD symptoms are different at night time than during the day. Ultimately, nights are harder due to nightmares, anxiety, paranoia, and insomnia. This is very common with most people battling PTSD. Many people with PTSD are terrified to go to sleep and the anxiety sets in when the sun starts to go down. On the other hand, the daytime seems to be bring comfort because its less scary. Allowing them to sleep during the day since they lose so much sleep at night. Then again, someone might wake up in the morning without doing much with their day. This is most likely tied to fear related to exposure to possible triggers. Which is counter productive and causes guilt associated with PTSD.
Again, start small. Too many changes at once will overwhelm your loved one. When I first learned the benefits of creating PTSD routines, my husband and I went over-board and it caused more harm than good. Add three tasks to a routine every two weeks. Eventually these tasks will become habit.
My husband did not have many habits and that hurt his recovery for almost a year. My husband struggled with waking up, brushing his teeth, and showing regularly during early diagnosis. Try to remember that they have to keep themselves accountable. You cannot possible do everything for them. Therefore my husband and I also learned this the hard way. Unfortunately, there is not a book out there to prepare you for EVERYTHING related to PTSD. Start a morning routine by choosing a time to wake up. Everything else will follow.
Additional Morning Tasks to Add to PTSD Routines
Deciding on a good time to wake up in the morning is such a big step. Every morning, have the same goal. And, remember, it takes time for this to become a habit. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get up. Just keep making progress. Not every day will be the same for someone who has PTSD. However, stay on track the best you can. If you fall off your routine one morning, that’s okay. Pick right back up where you left off on your next morning.
Some additional tasks to add to PTSD routines in the morning include:
- Making Coffee
- Reading positive quotes
- Review your routine and tasks for the day
- Brush your teeth
- Make breakfast & hydrate
The sky is really the limit. And the best part is that you have control over what your routine looks like. Having a sense of control is very healing. And, that’s what this routine is all about.
PTSD Routines -Tasks to Add Every Two Weeks
You should add to your new PTSD routines and activities every couple of weeks. Feel free to use this list or modify it to fit your own or loved one’s needs the best. There is no specific order in which to add to a morning routine. Grab a pen and paper and list out tasks that suit your specific life and situation. No PTSD sufferer is the exact same. This list is for a man who suffers from PTSD symptoms. It may benefit you to adopt a few of these activities into your own routine in the morning.
- Eat Breakfast
- Get dressed
- Feed pets
- Walk pets outdoors (if applicable, you probably wouldn’t take your gold-fish on a walk 🙂 )
- Take medications (if applicable)
- Eat or take vitamins
- Household Chores
- Read positive affirmations
- View encouraging quotes
- Look over that day’s calendar of events (Dr. appointments, therapy, support group virtual and in person, etc)
- Take children to school or walk them to the bus stop (if applicable)
Start with three tasks and build from there. In just a few short weeks you will notice a huge difference. Someone with PTSD will feel more stable and positive. Furthermore, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. You cannot care for anyone else until you first care for yourself. Think of an enriching routine for yourself if you do not already have one. What could you change in your routine to better care for yourself? What could be added to encourage a better version of yourself? Before you go, check out these articles on other PTSD routines:
- Daytime routine for people with PTSD
- Positive PTSD quotes that inspire and encourage
- 9 steps to better PTSD sleep that really work
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