Returning to Routines & Pleasant Events

It is important that you return to normal activities as soon as possible after a traumatic event, as in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For those adults who have experienced a traumatic event, it is natural to want to be alone and avoid others, but over time this can become unhelpful. Following a trauma, you should be back to work, school, or routine life within a few days (if possible), and continuing with your daily routine as soon as possible. This includes going to bed and getting up at the usual times, and participating in work, home and/or community activities (i.e. sports teams, hobbies, visiting with friends). Learning to re-connect with your routine life, rather than avoid or isolate, is critical. This will allow you a chance to heal within the context of a supportive environment. However, if a return to certain environments, or to time spent with specific individuals places you at increased risk of re-traumatization, then you will need to create a more tailored plan.

In addition to encouraging a return to routines, scheduling pleasant events can also help you with symptoms of PTSD and low mood. For these individuals, there may be a tendency to isolate and avoid being around others, which overtime can lower mood and elevate anxiety. Thus, scheduling pleasant events can reduce this tendency and help the individual to feel better. If it seems too overwhelming to decide about and plan for pleasant activities, ask a friend, co-worker, or loved one to help you make a plan. Having someone help you will not only make this process less stressful, it will also increase the likelihood that you will engage in these activities routinely. However, it is important that the activities you chose are truly pleasant, as this can reduce the risk of reminders of the trauma, which is easier to forget for a short while when having fun.


  • Going to the movies, museum, theatre, or a restaurant
  • Going shopping
  • Visiting friends
  • Playing sports or engaging in recreational activities
  • Bike riding, running, dancing, or skiing
  • Doing art work or painting
  • Making a music playlist
  • Cooking or baking
  • Taking a bubble bath or spa shower
  • Getting a massage, manicure or pedicure
  • Reading a book, magazine, or website