Military spouses know that PCS moves require a lot of planning and preparation to execute. Once you’ve accomplished the physical prep to move your household goods, coordinate movers, plan travel, and transfer records to update healthcare and get kids set up in a new school, there’s hardly a minute to think about life on the other side.
But once you’ve made it to your new duty station, it’s time to tackle the emotional part of the move and focus your energy on making it feel like home.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic genie waiting to grant you a wish, but there are a few steps to follow that can help expedite the process and help you feel settled in after your PCS move.
There’s nothing like boxes around the house to remind you that this isn’t the same place you’ve called home for the last three years.
If your schedule allows, push to put your belongings away quickly, remembering that you can make adjustments and tweak as needed in the coming weeks.
Plug into social media.
The online world is a double-edged sword, but when it comes to getting plugged in after a move and becoming familiar with your new community, it’s a win.
Neighborhood Facebook groups, local military spouse clubs, and community events can help you get acquainted with the culture of your new town.
While navigation apps make driving in your new location pretty foolproof, it doesn’t always help you learn them. After learning the route to a few favorite spots, try your next outing from memory.
You might be surprised to learn how good it feels to get places without assistance!
Resume your favorite activities.
If you’re a gym rat, get a membership down the road or check out the base fitness center and focus on making it part of your routine again.
The same applies to kids’ activities. Enroll them in classes to get plugged in or sign them up for swim lessons or organized sports.
Not only do these types of activities help your kids feel more settled, they’ll also give you and your crew something to do while expanding your community.
Plug into the military community.
Some military installations are more active than others, but most offer community events, along with newcomers’ orientations.
Try checking in with the housing office and the local USO and follow the base’s Facebook page to stay updated on local happenings.
Another great resource is the library, especially if you have younger children who benefit from storytime.
Put your skills to good use.
Working outside the home is a great way to create community and accountability.
And while you’re waiting to hear back on jobs, or if working isn’t an option right now, volunteering offers similar benefits to keep you busy, build community, and give you a sense of purpose.
Create a “new-to-town” bucket list.
Make a list of fun things to do off the installation, whether it’s touristy or an interest you’d like to try. Cross off one or two a week—include the kids as well!
Not only does it help you create memories near your new home, it gives you opportunities to get more familiar with the area.
Stick to familiarity.
The feeling of displacement often creeps up in the lulls of the day or when exhaustion sets in. With all the newness surrounding you, it can be helpful to unwind with a favorite show.
It’s amazing how an episode of Friends or The Office can offer a laugh and provide some comfort after a long day.
Remember that displacement is temporary as you work to make your new duty station feel like home.
Give yourself some grace and patience as you work to build community at your new duty station.
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