A new moving season is coming, and talk of new orders has already begun.
Thoughts start racing: “Where are we going next? When will we have our orders? What schools will I put the kids in next year? How in the world are we going to find a place to live?” These are just the beginning of stressful thoughts that will consume a military family while they await orders.
Stress and anxiety can creep up slowly or hit like a tidal wave. Either way, there are ways to mentally prepare yourself for your next move. Before you get worked up, try these tips to help reduce your anxiety and get your entire family prepared.
1. Go old school. Sit down at the dinner table or in the living room and have an old-fashioned family meeting. Ditch the cellphones, iPads and other distractions, and discuss your next move as a family.
Everyone can talk about what excites them about the move, and about what they’ll miss when they leave. Write down two or three questions and let each person answer so they feel involved in the discussion.
At first, you or your kids may have a negative outlook about the move, but by sitting down and discussing it, everyone can begin processing the information.
2. Include your kids in the decision-making process. Give your kids some reasonable choices when it comes to the move and let them decide After you’ve narrowed your school choices to the top two or three, for instance, talk to them about the differences and let them help make the choice.
You can also discuss the pros and cons of each house, and let them help decide which to choose. By allowing them a say in the process, they get a sense of ownership and control that will brighten their outlook on the move.
3. Go local. Start looking up fun facts about your new town, or find fun things to do there. Got a list? Let each family member write down the top three things they want to do once they arrive — it’ll help them look forward to the adventure.
4. Get social. Hop on social media and start asking questions about your upcoming move. There are many Facebook groups for each base; you can start reducing your stress by asking questions to those who already live there.
The military is a small community, and you will be surprised that a friend of a friend may live in your new town. Start new friendships online, and relieve anxiety by hearing from those that have already made the move before you.
5. Take a deep breath. Hit the gym, take a yoga class or find a quiet place to meditate so you can calm your mind. Added stress can cause weight gain, insomnia and increased blood pressure, plus it will reduce your immune system — it’s important to stop and relax.
Take each day at a time, accept that you can’t control everything, and maintain a positive attitude about your upcoming move.
Cameron Allison, a Navy spouse, founded MilitaryTownAdvisor.com after a tough PCS move. The site includes moving guides, neighborhood reviews, Realtor recommendations and other resources. Tweet her @MilTownAdvisor or follow her on Facebook.