FamilyOfaVet - Real world info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat
FamilyOfaVet - Real World info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat.

Rockin' the Routine
Keeping a Routine to Keep Sane with PTSD & TBI

PTSD and TBI families often come to me confused and saying they just don't know how to
how to get a grip on everything that's going wrong so nothing ever goes right.

There's a magical little formula to helping this issue.  It's called creating a routine and
STICKING to it!  PTSD and
TBI patients thrive on routine....but when they can no longer
work, they lose the necessity of a routine and things start to fall through the cracks.  
Creating a routine and sticking to it for them will create a smoother, more productive
environment for the entire family.

Initially your vet might not want to do the routine with you.  That's fine.  Don't force him or
her...give them time.  Most will come around very shortly after as they are being "left
behind" because of not being part of the routine.  Again, they crave this stability so they will
migrate towards it.

Here's some great places to start.

1. In the morning, EVERYONE gets up and gets dressed.  Pajamas and a bathrobe do not

2. All meals are eaten at the table.  Pizza and a movie is a treat, not an every night
occurrence.  When the family sits down at the table without distractions, your chances of
getting a few moments of meaningful conversation increase drastically.  Catch up with the
kids about their schoolwork.  Talk about what's coming up in the week.  Discuss something
important going on in your family.  BE a family.

3. Start keeping lists of the things you need instead of running to the store every chance
you get.  You couldn't do that before and while it's certainly handy occasionally, you're
wasting gas, time, and energy constantly running to and from the house.

4. Establish when you will do the household shopping and make it a pattern.  Our shopping
days are an event for the entire family.  We go into town, get lunch, do our shopping, and
spend time together laughing.  It's a pattern and a routine.  If it's a good day, we might go
get milkshakes or ice cream afterward.  It's the simple things in life.

5. Start a schedule for housework.  It's so easy to let it all slide, but you will feel SO much
better even if you only get a few things accomplished in a day.  Set aside 15 minutes and
tackle one room daily.  The house may never be perfect, but at least you'll know the last
time the toilets were cleaned!  And those children you have running around that create
90% of the messes can help!  Give them tasks to do as well!!!

6. Make a bedtime for yourself.  You wouldn't let your kids stay up all hours on a school
night when there are things to accomplish.  Don't run yourself down further by not getting
enough sleep.  Put the kids to bed, give yourself an hour or so to take care of you, and go
to sleep.  If you're having troubles sleeping, consider using Melatonin or another natural
source for sleep rather than turning to medications if they aren't necessary.

7. Know it's okay to break the routine - but not forever.  It's fun to have a night of takeout
and dinner in front of the tv while watching a movie.  It's a real treat to stay up past your
bedtime to read a special book or to go see fireworks.  Breaking your routine should be a
little treat you give yourself and your family - not a chance to just throw it all away and give

8. Know that sometimes you're going to fall out of your routine.  Major medical things
happen, people come to visit and then you need a breather, etc etc etc.  The important
thing is to get back to it!!!  Don't just throw in the towel.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off,
and get back to it!

This article was written by our own Heather Hummert, the wife of an OIF Veteran & Purple
Heart Recipient, and Contributions Coordinator for our site.  If you would like to contact
Heather directly, you can e-mail her at Heather -at- or

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