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Tips to Manage PCS Stress

A PCS brings change, change, and more change.  Not only will you have a new job, but you’ll be getting used to a new house and new people as well.  Some individuals may thrive when experiencing change and are excited by the potential for new opportunities, while others may feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the unknown.  Stress isn’t something we experience only with negative events, but positive events too.  If you have ever been promoted, brought home a newborn, or planned a wedding, you have experienced this!  Whether you’re feeling good or bad about moving, it is common to experience some level of stress during a PCS.  Here are some tips to manage PCS stress:

  1. Focus on what you can control.  You can’t control your spot on the housing wait list or whether all of your belongings make it to your new duty station.  Focusing on issues outside of your control takes an emotional toll.  Divert your attention and energy to things you can control.  
  2. Plan ahead.  If uncertainty makes you nervous, do some research. Explore your new city, either online or in person. Look up things that interest you - restaurants, housing markets, schools, parks. There are often Facebook groups and pages associated with certain neighborhoods or communities. Join or like these pages and get to know those in your area. Check out your new duty station at MilitaryINSTALLATIONS. For more information about how you can plan ahead, check out the PCS Action Point on the Marine For Life Cycle.
  3. Take care of yourself.  Moving is a lot of work!  It is important that you take time for self-care.  Work out, eat healthy and nutritious meals, and get plenty of sleep.  How you feel physically will impact your emotional state.  
  4. Ask for help.  Everyone needs help sometimes.  If you are feeling overwhelmed and need to talk, reach out to your support system.  Venting and hearing some encouraging words can help.

If stress is not managed appropriately, it can impact your health, your relationships, and your job.  If you are feeling stressed and it is negatively impacting your life, there are resources to help you.  Coping with Work and Family Stress is a stress management class that teaches skills to help you deal with life.  Contact your local Family Advocacy Program for more information.  Additionally, help is available through your local Community Counseling Program and the DSTRESS Line at (877) 476-7734. 

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