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3 Ways A Consistent Schedule Can Help Trauma

Consistency can be key when healing from trauma either from your childhood or adulthood. One of the easiest ways to help provide consistency in your life is to give yourself a regular routine each day.

Sometimes, boredom can be when the healing happens because your nervous system has a moment to stay calm.

When you have inconsistencies in your routine, you may feel your nervous system go into overdrive either by trying to solve problems or becoming hypervigilant in new situations.

Both can be taxing while you are healing from trauma or complex trauma. Even though you won’t be able to achieve perfectionism in your environment, creating a routine can be a trauma-informed approach to improving your mental health.

Here are 3 ways a consistent schedule can help trauma:

1. Consistency can help you understand the overlap of ADHD and trauma symptoms.

Both ADHD and trauma can impact your executive functioning skills like creating and keeping a consistent schedule.

Image of a row of letters spelling Impossible with the letter M being rotated to spell It’s possible. Read More: “How To Make Lasting Changes with ADHD/ADD”

According to the book, What Happened To You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry, there is an overlap in the symptoms of ADHD and childhood trauma or complex PTSD.

A consistent schedule can not only help ADHD symptoms but also with complex PTSD because regular schedules can support safety within your environment.

When you know what to expect, you can take a break from hypervigilance or constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Consistency can breathe a moment of peace into your day when you have been living in survival mode.

Because consistency can help symptoms of ADHD, it can help complex PTSD or trauma too as both impact the same area of the brain.

2. Consistency can give your nervous system a break.

Often, fear and excitement are addictive because they can give you a rush, similar to an addiction.

You may find yourself waiting until the last minute to leave your house to go somewhere.

You may get a payoff from oversleeping or flaking out on plans because it can create a thrill. It may not seem like that big of a deal, and it can be a form of manipulation or control.

Rather than rushing through life, a consistent schedule can help settle down your nervous system. You may have had childhood trauma or a traumatic event occur.

You can still be in the present moment. When you know what to expect, you don’t have to overdo micromanaging others or being hypervigilant with a loved one or situation.

3.  Consistency can build structures to have more fun in your life.

It may seem counterintuitive and building structures can create flexibility in your life.

Image of a girl contemplating, looking lost in thought. Read More: “5 Ways To Help Yourself When Your Body Feels Your Trauma”

You can be flexible within your structures. It is not black-or-white thinking when it comes to a consistent schedule.

When you keep a consistent schedule, you may find that you feel safe enough for spontaneity and fun. Joy is the most vulnerable emotion according to Brene Brown, and when you have a structure, you can allow yourself to have fun.

It can seem scary to try something new so consistent schedules can help you to grow your courage. You deserve to live a little.

You may still make a mistake, and you may not do this perfectly.

Give yourself a break.

Consistent schedules can help your trauma because it allows you to create safety within your life with one easy step.

Here are ways you can create consistency in your life to help with managing trauma symptoms.

You can start small. Perhaps, you wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekend.

Image of a male with eyes closed, practicing mindfulness outside with sun on face. Read More: “What Is Mindfulness and How to Be Mindful”

This can help you to develop a structure for a new event or to reprioritize events that matter to you most.

Factoring sleep into your consistent schedule can be helpful because it can be a devoted time to heal health conditions and trauma. Basic functions can be a good place to start your journey.

Another way to start with a consistent schedule is to incorporate mindfulness or meditation each day.

A new routine can start in just 5 minutes. Small changes can help you to make a difference in your life if you are getting tired of playing out old patterns.

The reaction to trauma can be a pattern, and you can develop a new pathway for your neurons any time. This can improve your mental health and help lessen stress.

You don’t need to have a mental health disorder to feel the benefits of a consistent schedule each day.

Emotional distress and anxiety may be daily occurrences for you, and a consistent schedule can help to alleviate the burden.

If it is difficult to keep a consistent schedule or for you to strengthen your executive functioning skills, a therapist can help.

Sometimes, a professional is needed to embrace a new way of thinking or keep things consistent rather than recreate chaos from childhood behaviors and symptoms.

You are worth the effort.

Learn More About Denver Metro Counseling

Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC

Denver Metro Counseling is a group of Denver therapists who provide teen therapy in Denver, young adult therapy, adult therapy, family therapy and other counseling and therapy in Denver and throughout Colorado.

We specialize in relationships, codependency, communication and boundaries and provide supportive therapy for people struggling with life transitions,  trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, ADHD, negative body image, and more.

Our clinicians are trained and comfortable working with people who struggle with thoughts of suicide and work collaboratively with our clients and their loved ones to maintain safety through a trauma-informed approach.
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