4 Tips for Settling in on the Flip Side of a PCS

Wed, Oct 09, 2019 @ 08:10 AM MILLIE Military Life, PCS Moves


By Kellie Artis for MILLIE

The flurry of activity, anticipation, and preparation of a PCS has peaked and the excitement is starting to subside. Now, you’re in a new living room with bare walls and floors. Maybe you’ve got stacks of boxes looming over you or you’re patiently (ha!) waiting on all of your possessions to arrive.

It’s an awkward time filled with endless tasks and emotional highs and lows. There’s a very real post-PCS slump to get over, but don’t worry... here are some time-tested tips to help get you settled in and re-established!

4 Tips for Settling In on the Flip Side of a PCS

4 Tips for Settling in on the Flip Side of a PCS

1) Take it One Box at a Time

This probably goes without saying, but the sooner you have some order back in your physical space, the sooner you can focus on all the external stuff. Start with the essential rooms: kids' rooms, your bedroom, and the kitchen. The playroom, guest room, and garage can wait. If you have a tendency to get overwhelmed, repeat after me: “One box at a time.”

If you have space you can close off (like a guest room), preferably one with a DOOR you can close, use that as overflow space. If you have thirty minutes to spare, grab a box and dig in. Staring at all you have yet to accomplish can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. You’ll eventually get to all of them, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once.

2) Set a Reasonable Unpacking Deadline

My husband and I used to fight a lot about the expectation of when the house would be unpacked and set up. He seemed to think it could happen by the time the movers pulled out of the driveway, and I take more of a... laissez-faire approach. When I finally got to the bottom of why on earth he thought we could set up at the speed he set, turns out he based it on his training.

Apparently, when deploying, teams stand up their living space in mere hours or, at most, a day. Granted, we’re talking plywood bedrooms and Conexes, not cozy, contemporary farmhouse inspired spaces, but still -- they were settled. Actually taking time to understand the mindset behind his mental deadline helped me compromise on the timeline, a little. Before you start unpacking, communicate with each other, delegate duties, and set a deadline together for setting up your home!

3) Get Plugged In

It’s up to you to start re-establishing your pattern of life at your new duty station, so get out there and start exploring! A lot of us move during the summer months, so meeting neighbors and/or other kids can be tricky. People are vacationing, sports haven’t really resumed yet, and classroom friends are yet to be discovered.

Summer is a great time to staycation in your new home! Treat your new home as a tourist destination. Your local Convention and Visitors’ Center will likely have an abundance of recommendations for outings, restaurants, and events. Go to concerts, find a movie-in-the-park, explore local pools, or even check out the micro-brewery scene.

Most businesses these days have a Facebook page, and the “Events” tab is going to be your new go-to for what’s going on. Don’t forget to connect with the local versions of groups you were a part of at your last duty station (think stroller fitness groups or book clubs!). Churches, gyms, and professional networking groups are also great ways to get re-established and plugged in!

4) Get Outside

This may seem like oversimplified advice, but I’ll stand behind it as one of my top gems. Get outside the four walls of your home. Whether that’s out and about in the community or simply seated on your stoop, you have to spend time outdoors in your new space. Staying cooped up in your home will eventually wear you down.

First off, you need the Vitamin D. Second, your body needs to acclimate to your new climate (and allergens). Lastly, it’s a great way to meet your neighbors. I once decided to take a break from the piles of glassware and packing paper on my kitchen counter to enjoy a popsicle with my kids on the porch. That popsicle turned into sharing the box with neighborhood kids, which brought out our inflatable jump-house, which then turned into an impromptu evening bonfire with four soon-to-be neighborhood BFFs. Sometimes a popsicle is just a sweet treat, but sometimes it’s a gateway to community.

MILLIE is an online community and digital marketplace that connects members of the military and their families with specialized knowledge and trusted resource providers to remove the stress and anxiety of PCS’ing. Check out MILLIE’s Installation and Neighborhood Guides, our network of Veteran and military spouse Realtors, and Scout, our on-demand task service composed of military spouses.

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