How Adding Structure To Your Life Can Help Heal Trauma & Make You Feel Safe

Photo: Eugenio Morongiu /
woman stirring coffee as part of her daily routine

As someone who is a survivor of trauma, I'm often surprised by the things that seem to come easily to other people.

My first instinct, when I bump up against something like this, is to wonder if it's part of my personality or if it's a survivor thing. I bet a lot of survivors deal with this near-constant internal debate.

That's one reason I share what I do on Instagram. 

I post about my own feelings, my own struggles, the lessons I've learned and thing challenges I bump up against, because I think people like to know that they're not alone. That their challenges aren't personal failings, and that other survivors relate to their day-to-day challenges — big and small.

One of those things that seems to come easily to others, but has been challenging to me, is creating structure in my life.

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I’m amazed by people who create structure in their lives and stick to it at all costs.

This has been an epic roller coaster for me, primarily because once the structure is in place it always makes room for the stuff that I don’t know how to address to come to the surface. The loneliness, the grief, the unaddressed anything has more room when structure and discipline is in place.⁣

That said, nothing has provided me more security and safety than structure.

The simplest edits of how my time is spent each day helps me feel integrated into my story, my inner child and the goals I have in place that I’m working towards.

I would be lost without a daily breathing routine, journaling and fresh air.

Those may not be the things that work for you, but it’s imperative that you find the things that do. ⁣

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Putting that structure in place is meant to provide safety and security around the things that we may not know how to address. That structure also gives consistency to how we show up for ourselves and helps our body-mind connection impact our healing process.⁣

If having a daily routine has been difficult for you, please don’t beat yourself up over that. It’s often rooted in coping and survival.

If you can begin making small changes this will make the greatest difference down the road. ⁣

If you’re like me, you have a list of things that will save your life and mean you are healthy. Pay attention to what has influenced that list and if it’s doable.

Do the things that create more safe space for you to make your mind and body home.

And remember to be incredibly patient and understanding with yourself along the way.⁣

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Nate Postlethwait is a Life Coach, Writer and Survivor who has built communities around overcoming complex trauma and normalizing the conversations around mental health. He began sharing his work last year in an effort to bridge the gap between those who do not have resources to find help. For more, visit his website or follow him on Instagram.

This article was originally published at Instagram. Reprinted with permission from the author.