Protect Your Mental Health During PCS Season
You have finally settled in and developed some sense of routine in your life. Now, it’s time to move again. You sigh long and hard because you are not ready to start over again. You are also not ready to have all of your family’s belongings sitting somewhere on a truck, hoping that they all make their way to you safely somehow. Your thoughts start racing toward everything that you have to do and what could go wrong. You are ready for the move to be over before it even starts and you have the headache to prove it! The following 3 steps can help to make PCSing easier on your mental health:
Be compassionate with yourself. Showing yourself compassion is not the same as having self-pity. Self-pity is being totally immersed in yourself and forgetting that other spouses are facing the same challenges as you are. Being compassionate with yourself means that you are acknowledging what you are doing is tough and overwhelming and that you are going to be understanding and kind to yourself. Any change can be difficult and PCSing calls for major changes to your normal routine. It is normal to feel anxiety, stress, and sadness. Sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed we feel isolated and that we are the only ones struggling to make it through. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself during this time and talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. If you need extra support it is not far away, no matter where you are in the world. Online support systems, like the Military Spouse Advocacy Network, are just a fingertip away.
Be Positive. Remember that moving is temporary. Soon, all the chaos will settle, and you can once again fall into a somewhat normal routine. Instead of thinking negatively about the move, start to think of the challenges as opportunities. This will help to start finding solutions to issues and thinking of ways to grow in your present circumstance. Thinking positive will also help to boost your motivation and your mood. When you are thinking negatively it can create stress in your body. Negative emotions can turn the body’s balance upside down by deplete chemicals needed for happiness and make us more prone to becoming sick.
Engage in planned self-care. Although PCSing will have you busy, it is important to plan time for self-care every day. Self-care is necessary to keep a positive relationship with yourself and to keep you motivated and focused. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many things you can do to practice self-care that are absolutely free such as, talking to individuals who give you support and encouragement, going for a walk in nature, eating well, exercising regularly, reading a good book, taking a warm bath and listening to music. Sometimes, when we more to do than there are hours in the day, we tend to make up the difference by sleeping less. Sleep is vital to optimal functioning and should be included in your daily self-care ritual. Being sleep deprived makes it difficult to control your emotions and to think of creative solutions to challenges that may arise. Allow yourself downtown before going to bed so that you can wind down from the day and calm any thoughts that might be racing through your head.