So... you got your PCS (Permanent Change of Station) Orders.. be it good or bad news, you are moving. The upcoming months that it takes to get all your PCS ducks in a row can be a huge task, but trust me, it's nothing that can't be overcome.
This post isn't about the military side of the PCS or the checklist that you have to complete in order to "out process," but rather from the military dependent's point of view on how to handle the stress of it all.
I've been a military spouse, or as I like to say, a member of the silent ranks, for 20+ years and have PCS'd a handful of times from or to an overseas location, so needless to say, I have a little experience with the stress of military PCSing.
Below is a basic survival guide to handle the stress of a PCS move. It contains 3 simple, yet helpful tips, you can do to keep your sanity.
Organize and purge things you and your family no longer use. Tackle the closets, dressers, garage and even the kitchen cabinets and get rid of items you have no need for any longer. Make a few extra bucks and place them for sale on Craig's List. Have a yard sale, or donate items to the Airman's Attic or other local charity. After you've downsized you'll feel lighter, freer, and better organized. In fact, you may want to go through the purging process a couple of times before packing out. It really does a lot of good. Trust me.
Also, pack your bags with clothes and items you will use both at your new base and in route. I'm currently PCSing from Alaska to California via the Alaska Ferry. It's going to be cold on the ferry ride, but warm in California so make room for both a jacket and flip flops.
Do Your Homework
Do your homework and do a little research on the area you will be moving to. I'm willing to bet there are many Facebook pages specific to the area you are moving to or even to the squadron you are assigned to not to mention other online sites that you can join to seek out answers to any questions you may have regarding your new base. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask questions about housing, schools, or the job market, restaurants, . There is always someone who knows the answers, or that can point you in the right direction.
Let Go Of Things Beyond Your Control
In the end, everything works out. Don't waste your time and energy on things that you cannot control. It will only stress you out and make you miserable. Just like with all things in life there are some things you have to let go. Be especially mindful of your children at this time as they will take your lead on your attitude and how you handle certain situations. Be flexible and always look for the silver lining as they are always there and sometimes challenging to see. Put your rose colored glasses on and stay positive.
There you have it, The PCS survival guide. These simple tips will help you have a smoother and more pleasant PCS.
Share with a comment below any additional tips or tricks to avoid the stress of PCSing ♥
On a side note
When things get tough or overwhelming, like I know they will at times, remember that there are other families out there in a similar situations, you aren't alone. Don't be too stubborn or prideful to ask for help as there are military organizations on base whose sole purpose is to aide and assist military members and their families.
- Air Force - Airman & Family Readiness Center
- Navy - Fleet & Family Support Center
- Army - Soldier & Family Services
- Marines - Marine & Family Programs