Navigate Stress During a PCS

This week’s cartoon features Air Force spouse and military cartoonist Julie Negron, creator of

Navigate stress during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS)!

While we like to think of summer as long lazy days filled with outdoor fun and beach vacations, the summer season can also be filled with worry about school transfers, moving expenses, and leasing requirements. More than 20,000 Navy service members and families will face the sometimes traumatic trials of a PCS this summer.  Whether you are moving as a single Sailor, or with a family, stress can easily mount as the to-do lists get longer and the days gets shorter.

We expect our routines to be interrupted during a move but, no matter how well prepared you are, Murphy’s Law will move in while you are trying to move out.  Even if your home is organized and running like a well-oiled machine prepare yourself for the unexpected. And when you finally get there, it still may take a few weeks or even a few months for you to get all the boxes unpacked and settle into the routines of a new duty station.

Navigating PCS Stress Tips

– If you find yourself PCSing without your spouse, be sure to ask for help from family and friends. They can help you research new areas, and help educate you about the clothing you may need or any differences in taxes and utility costs.

– Remember to triple check your pack-out date with the Personal Property Office. Plans change and you want as much notice as possible. Don’t wait for someone to call you.

– Not everything will be perfect, so focus on the important things.

– The move is hard on everyone, even those left behind. Talk about it.

– Movers have a tough job and time is of the essence. If you can, feed them lunch (sandwiches and drinks are easy and inexpensive). The investment may pay dividends later.

– Once you get yours orders, start preparing for your move immediately. Not only will getting rid of unwanted items save you time when it comes to unpacking, it will help to ensure you stay under your weight limit.

– Don’t forget your pets. Be sure to get a copy of their shot records prior to traveling. If you have to board your dog or cat, you’ll need to show they’ve been vaccinated.

– Sign up for the Smooth Move class at your local Fleet & Family Support Center (FFSC). In addition to the course materials, you can learn from some of the ‘pros’. Just one tip can make a big difference in your pocketbook or outlook.

– Take time for fun. If you can, plan a mini-vacation or sightseeing trip on the way to your next duty station.

Stress is a natural part of life. It can push us to higher levels of performance, but too much can hurt us. Whether you are excited about your next home or dreading the move, there are ways to reduce the unavoidable stress.

Sometimes it’s hard to adjust. If after a few months you find you are isolating yourself, finding it hard to establish new routines, feeling irritable or can’t sleep then it’s time to talk to someone you trust. Learn about the stress continuum. It will help you recognize the symptoms of stress and what you can do to help yourself or family member. Taking action early is the key to getting back on track and staying in the Green Zone.

What are your thoughts on navigating PCS stress? What is your experience? If you like this post, press the retweet or share button at the top of this page.

For more information on PCSing please visit:

One response to “Navigate Stress During a PCS

  1. Pingback: The Stress of Waiting for PCS Orders |

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