Why is moving so stressful and emotionally taxing? Well, that’s easy. It’s because we leave behind everything we’ve been building to make a home and have to start from scratch. But, it doesn’t have to take months to establish a new home, routine, and new relationships. This time around, don’t allow the permanent change of station (PCS) to steal your joy. Speeding up the settling-in phase will give you a happier post-PCS family. Here are five things you can do to make a quick adjustment after a PCS, shed those new-place anxieties, and make your family’s transition smooth and simple.
Be a Goal Slayer
You’ve just survived week two in the hotel, and your confined toddler’s antics are at an all-time high. Tepid lobby coffee is your only real friend now. The minivan glides to a stop outside your new home and a heavy sigh of relief escapes. You made it. Now, it’s probably wise to take a day off if you’re feeling spent. But, as much as you may like to languish endlessly among the tall stacks of boxes taking up your space, you should start the unpacking, organizing, and planning ASAP.
Here’s why: Digging in right away and staying focused on your goals is the only real way to shed the PCS stress. As long as you stay engaged you won’t feel frustrated, and, as you know, mom’s frustration — or lack thereof — sets the tone for the family.
Shed the Cardboard
The next key to bringing comfort to your new home is to eliminate as many boxes as you can from your living spaces. Start in the kitchen and bathrooms, then make your way into the living room and bedrooms. These are the places where you spend most of your time. Boxes are a constant reminder that you “just got here” and “still have so much work to do.” These stressful and negative thoughts can be avoided simply by alleviating their presence! Local Facebook buy/sell/trade groups are great places to post your free, empty boxes and they’re an easy way to rid yourself of them.
Let’s face it. You probably didn’t carefully rake through your belongings before the packers arrived. (Unless you are one of those brave do-it-yourself (DITY/PPM) movers, of course.) In that case, post-PCS is a great time to declutter! As you unpack, everything that doesn’t have an obvious place or usefulness could (and arguably should) be donated, sold, or disposed of.
A lot of evidence suggests that less “stuff” in a home makes it feel more peaceful and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. Therefore, purging things offers an effective method of bringing your family through a quick adjustment after PCS. Haven’t used it in a year? Maybe you can donate it to a local homeless shelter. A quick Google or Facebook search will reveal the charities in your area or check this list of organizations nationwide that accept donations of household goods.
Meet the Neighbors
Now that your home is starting to shape up, it’s time to meet the neighbors. Don’t be shy. Most likely, the neighbors have been excited to meet you since your 65-foot truck was blocking their driveway. Above all, making friends is the best way to make a quick adjustment after PCS. Exchange phone numbers so that you can find out which day the trash truck comes; then, if you’ve hit it off, perhaps you’ll even give them that blank spot on your kids’ emergency contact list.
Find Your Tribe
After greeting these immediate neighbors, venture out to some different club, group, and organization meetings where you’ll find like-minded people. Do you have a wicked green thumb? Join a local gardening club. Do you want to meet up with fellow moms of little ones? Try a MOPS (Moms Of Preschoolers) meeting. Have a particular spiritual calling? Participate at your favorite place of worship. Maybe your installation’s family support center could use an extra volunteer. Your new community presents innumerable opportunities to get involved. Remember, you don’t have to choose just one!
Live Like a Local
And just like that, your new home, schedule, and friendships are starting to take form! It’s time to start living like a local. Fill in any blank calendar squares with lots of awesome extracurriculars. Moving can certainly be demanding, so set aside some time to make fun memories with your family. Create a bucket list of activities, events, and destinations you are excited to check out; then start crossing them off! The best part: many of them are free. Others may offer a military discount. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Library events — Think storytime and seasonal events.
- Farmers markets
- Parks — Snag your free America the Beautiful pass from the National Park Service.
- Nature preserves
- Outdoor festivals
- Amusement and water parks
- Special-interest classes
- Local sporting events
Follow these steps to make a quick adjustment after PCS — the faster the better. After all, you’ll be doing it again in two to four years!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out 5 Easy Meals for PCS Season!
Photo Credits: Shayna Mabee