Seven Ways to Relieve PCS Stress


Moving is stressful. There is no doubt about that. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or debilitating. With some thought, multiple backup plans, and a good attitude, this next PCS could be your smoothest yet. Before you hit the breaking point, check out these tips for moving stress relief.

  1. Plan – Planning your route in advance is an important step, if only to decide you don’t need to plan much. A general idea of the route is enough for some families, while others plan every stop and hotel in advance. Things to consider are high-traffic areas, weather, areas with no or little cell phone coverage, and (let me pick on Texas here) places where you can’t find gas for hours. You’ll want to make sure that your eight or ten hour driving day puts you in a place where there are actual hotels, with vacancies, that accept pets. The old adage, “a failure to plan is a plan to fail,” has never been more fitting than when talking about a PCS move.

  2. Emergency Red Cross App – This application is a must-have for anyone, really, but especially while moving. The free app allows you to set up areas where you or your family lives. The best part? You could set it up for the area where you are moving and the big places on the way. For those concerned about natural disasters, this is key. Worried about ice in Texas? Hurricanes in Georgia? Tornadoes in Kansas? This app alerts you and would help you to alter your travel plans, or stop early for the night if needed.

  3. PCSGrades – The best way to relieve stress while PCSing is to know what you are getting into when you actual GET to your new duty station. Even the worst case scenario is doable when you know about it in advance. So, head on over to PCSGrades and check out what other military families are thinking and sharing about your next duty station. Read opinions on whether to live on the installation, or not, and if not… what neighborhoods in town might be your best option. See who had good experiences with local REALTORS® and which ones to avoid. You can even submit a review of the moving company that (hopefully) got all of your belongings to your new home in one piece! All these reviews are written BY military families specifically FOR military families and the site is 100% free for military members, veterans and their spouses. Talk about a huge stress reliever!

  4. Get a Hashtag – We all love social media and while we are moving we are going to post pictures anyway, so we might as well make it fun. Get a snazzy hashtag and let the world follow your trip. Pictures of food, scenery, even your crazy spouse and kids in the car will be fun for your family and friends… and will create online memories you may want later on (Hello, “On this Day" by Facebook, we are talking about you!) You can also use the hashtags #PCSmove and #PCSseason to follow how other military families are dealing with their PCS journey on Twitter and Instagram!

  5. USO – If you or any of your family members are flying to your next destination, the USO can be a huge help. Each and every time I travel through Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, I go to the USO. Sometimes I just grab a quick snack for the next flight. Once, with the kids, we had a great breakfast and they were spoiled by the “USO Grandma” working there. I travelled once on business and spent my layover catching up on work while watching a movie. The USO is the best way to alleviate stress while PCSing via air.

  6. Playgrounds – Anyone who has ever been around children while on a road trip or, well, anywhere kids are being contained in a vehicle… knows they need to burn off energy. Our friends at Play Across America provide a great resource to help you find favorite playgrounds all across the US. They recently launched their iPhone app, which will make road trips even easier. Playgrounds are featured in groups depending on the interstate, as well as the top playgrounds for the year.

  7. Know Your Benefits – Without a doubt someone will get hurt or become ill while you are somewhere in between Tricare regions. Hopefully it’s nothing more serious than an ear infection or sprained ankle, but do you know what you can do without paying out of pocket? As of May, all active duty dependent family members can use Urgent Care without a referral, twice. This might be the perfect time to use this benefit. No one has time for Emergency Rooms unless it’s an emergency, so this solution can help. Make sure you check with Tricare for any other specifics regarding your medical coverage as you travel.

Nothing will eliminate all of the stress from a move. Nothing. But, a little planning and some comic relief can make it less stressful and more fun. 

What other ways do you recommend for relieving stress related to a PCS move?