The Stress of Waiting for PCS Orders

Moving a household can be one of the most stressful experiences service members and their families can face. Uncertainty about new neighbors, schools and work can be stressful enough, but not knowing when ‘official orders’ will arrive can only make the transition harder. We’ve posted tips on how to Navigate Stress during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) but the shorter window between the arrival of orders and reporting dates can only make an already stressful time, worse.  The Navy’s 2010 Behavioral Health Quick Poll tells us that ‘unpredictability’ is a major contributor to Sailor’s stress levels. We can’t control when the orders come through, but we can try to lessen our negative reactions by focusing on what we can control. For example, not knowing exactly when the movers are coming can be extremely stressful, but packing up ‘out of season’ clothing can provide a good start.  Reach out to others to find out how they’ve managed short notice moves and ask for help.  In the meantime try to take care of yourself and your family by understanding stressors and how best to prepare for what can be an extraordinarily stressful time.

Know that stress is normal. It can challenge us to perform our best, but too much stress can be harmful. Take time to participate in activities that can move you back into the green zone of the stress continuum.

Remember when it comes to the stress of PCS season, you are not alone – so reach out for help. More than 20,000 Navy service members and their families will face the same adventure this summer.

What activities do you enjoy to help navigate the stress of a PCS?

For more information on PCSing please visit:
Fleet and Family Support Center’s Relocation Assistance Program

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