6 Ways for Military Spouses to Feel Settled After a PCS
by Rebecca Alwine - August 17th, 2022
After moving to a new duty station, community and home, military spouses want to unpack and get settled as soon as possible. But don't just focus on your post-PCS job hunt and getting the kids in school. Feeling at home after a PCS move means you need to focus on yourself too!
I love moving to a new place because it gives me the opportunity to start fresh, to reinvent myself. From new resolutions to new hobbies, here are some ways you can feel settled sooner the next time military service requires you to pack up and move to a new location.
6 things military spouses should do after each PCS move:
1. Commit to your health when you PCS
A healthy body makes for a healthy, happy mind. The endorphins released during exercise often make you feel better. Check out the gym on your new installation, or try one in town that has a free trial membership. See if your area has a workout group with folks who share common interests, or a local running group. You want to meet people and exercise at a level you are comfortable with. Bonus: you just might make some great new friends!
Eating well can also increase your energy and happiness. Take the opportunity to find the local farmers markets in the area and try our some produce that's popular in that area. There are so many ways your life will be improved with a serving or two of vegetables and some intentional exercise!
2. Make your military home a happy place
A new house is a blank canvas, full of potential and white walls just waiting for your personal touch. As you set up each room, try to personalize the space for the way your family members will use it. I always love this part. I get to hang up the curtains I made two duty stations ago to match my children’s bedding! Artwork, removable wallpaper, and yes--sometimes even paint--add the colors that make our house into a happy, comfortable home.
Many of us grumble about the painting or the cafeteria-style floors in base housing, but each time I walk into a military house I’m amazed at how unique we can each make them. Personality shines through each home, and it’s so much fun to see the different ways people decorate.
3. Connect with your new community after a PCS move
One of the biggest mistake military members and spouses can make is staying inside the gates of base. There is a big world out there! It’s full of interesting people, activities, and organizations. Reaching out to the local community can have huge benefits and may land you some cool opportunities!
A few options include sports (for kids and adults), community choirs or bands, and volunteer organizations like the animal shelter. Don't forget community theater, school parents, and political activism groups. If you have a preferred place of worship, you'll connect with non-military families and gain great perspective. Each town has something unique to offer. Who knows, a new club or activity may become your go-to outing for date night!
4. Volunteer somewhere new after a PCS
Volunteering is one of the best way to change and positively impact your life. There are so many reasons to volunteer, and all of them are great. Volunteering can help you fill the gaps in your resume, meet people with similar interests, have fun, and feel like you are making a difference. Find new ways to volunteer at your installation’s family services center, or off-base at places like the library or chamber of commerce. There is also a website called volunteermatch.com which helps people find organizations to volunteer with either locally or virtually. Get out there and find some ways to give back to your community, while becoming involved in it.
5. Make a career change
Stuck in a career field you are not really happy with? A PCS move is the perfect opportunity to try a new job or career. That might even mean going back to school to learn a new trade. For the military spouse, a move might mean a fresh perspective on the field they want to work in. For the service member, it might be a chance to attend a different college or trade school in the evenings to gain a new skill in preparation for life after the military.
6. Discover a new hobby when you move
A new duty station might mean new opportunities to follow a long-desired passion or to discover something new. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn to play the guitar, take up painting, horseback riding, or tennis. For me, it was writing. Writing is therapeutic, even if no one ever reads it.
Does your new area have a community college that offers classes in knitting, cooking, or sign language? Does it have an active adult soccer league? Is there an art studio where you can try painting or pottery? Find out what is available on base or outside of the gates and discover a new passion!
Each new duty station is a new chapter of our military lives. Of course you want to make the most of it, but its hard knowing where to start. Don’t get caught up in the “what if’s” or the “way it was before.” Make this new adventure, this new place, the best place yet. It all starts with you.
Need help locating a neighborhood, realtor, lender or other service in your new area? Check out PCSgrades and find reviews you can trust on the things that matter the most to you during and after a move; reviews by and for military families!