In All, Military Life

A MilSpouse’s Tips for Managing PCS Stress

What’s more stressful than a PCS?

A PCS while your spouse is deployed!

Just a bit of military humor to put it all in perspective, but PCSing is no joke. Its stress-laden when you’re happy to leave and downright miserable when all you want to do is stay. Each family has their own ways of coping, but after many PCS experiences, these are my tips to you.

1. Embrace the stress. Let it be a motivator to get all the necessary prep tasks done, like sorting stuff. Take the fret and channel it into organizing the best yard sale ever and watch the cash roll in.

You can only regulate so much, so do you what you can, like research schools and neighborhoods, and let the rest roll off your back. Weather, delayed moving trucks, and last minute orders are way out of your control.

2. Re-think travel.

Does the WHOLE family have to drive across the country? Maybe dad drives and mom and kids fly. I’ve used auto shippers and flown with my toddler, while my husband drove. So. Much. Easier. And well worth the money!

Or, use Amtrak and everyone wins with a train trip, especially if it’s a route with auto transport.


3. Build in vacation time.

See the Grand Canyon, tour the Statue of Liberty. A car trip across the U.S. is a time-honored family tradition, so do it! Unless of course, it stresses you out.

4. Add surprises.

They can be little or big, they all make the trip a lot more fun. A special car ride movie or toy is exciting for kids. Splurge a little for room service one night.

Buy a cake and celebrate your family’s first night in the new house. Anything out of the norm will become memorable.

5. Ask for help.

Any grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends available to travel or babysit? It’s hard for military families to ask for help, I get that. We like to gut it out on our own, but a PCS is really a good time to ask for a little assistance.

After the first one, each PCS gets better, because your family will establish a moving routine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that every trip has new unknowns. Don’t stress. It all works out, just before it’s time to move again!

For more tips on military life from Milspos who’ve been there, check out our blogs.

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