Why You Should Embrace Mindful Movement During Your PCS

by | May 11, 2022 | Articles, Blog, Body, Mind, PCS / Moving

mindful military PCS tips exercise equipment on yoga mat and woman journaling in notebook outside

PCSing can be so hard and so stressful. So many things get added to your to-do list that finding time to exercise is challenging at best. Add into that staying well emotionally and mentally and it can feel like a big basket of overwhelm. We are currently in the unpacking stage of our ninth move, another OCONUS move (eight of ours have been OCONUS), and we finally feel like we have useful tools in our toolbox to stay both mentally and physically well.

Mindful military PCS Tips woman meditating on yoga mat

While we were stationed in Virginia, I was able to complete a long-term goal of becoming a certified yoga teacher. This helped reframe exercise and movement for me. I found this amazing yoga mat from Manduka that folds up, isn’t heavy, and easily fits either flat in a suitcase or folded up in my carry-on bag. I take that mat with me on every trip we take but especially make sure to always have it when we are moving. This little mat gives us all a space to do some yoga or stretching plus it allows me to exercise with my favorite at home workout group Sweat like a Mother (SLAM). After we had our daughter, I started working out with SLAM in Washington, D.C. I’m so thankful they have a virtual option now. The sessions last ten weeks with a three-week break in between. I leave a set of weights at my mom’s house as well as my in-laws and send an eight-pound set in our unaccompanied baggage. This way it’s easier for me to have weights for the SLAM workouts.

We also like to use workout apps and videos. Peloton is a favorite for me and my husband Brian. What I really like about Peloton is they have such a wide variety of options. They have running, walking, yoga, and body weight exercises of varying lengths to choose from. Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventures is my daughter Harper’s favorite. There are so many free options available now that it makes moving our bodies through a PCS much easier.

mindful PCS tips workout apps hiking apps

One of the easiest ways we have found to get over jet lag is to get outside. Getting outside also helps boost your mood and mental wellbeing. So, we also always pack our running/tennis shoes. We use those shoes to walk around and explore our new home. We can use them to go on runs, walks, and light hikes. We use All Trails to find good places to hike.

I try to make my movement feel mindful. What I mean by mindful movement is movement that is just as good for my body as it is for my mental and emotional wellbeing and with a certain purpose. For me, moving my body through a PCS helps me relieve stress, get rid of pent-up anxiety, and allows me to process all the thoughts in my brain. Sometimes however, I need to add in additional tools to help with my mental and emotional wellbeing. When exercise alone isn’t enough, I try to add in some quiet alone time, some self-reiki, a few minutes with a meditation app, some journaling, or reading a book. I know the quiet alone time can be hard to come by during a big move, especially if the whole family is sharing a hotel room. Brian and I try to give each other a little time completely alone at least once a week after arriving at a new place. That can look different for everyone. For me it usually looks like walking or driving to Starbucks and getting a chai latte or a sit-down reading lunch.

mindful military PCS tips woman sitting at table reading journal

I have found many free apps to help sneak in time for meditation. Peloton has some great meditations. I also like Insight Timer, Headspace, and Simple Habit. We all pack at least one book and/or our Kindles in our carry-on bags. I carry a small notebook in my carry-on bag and Harper brings one in hers as well. We also carry pens and colored pencils. She uses hers to draw and color. I use mine for journaling. I used to get overwhelmed with the idea of journaling. Now my journaling consists of writing down words or phrases that pop into my head. Sometimes that looks like feeling words and other times it ends up as a list of things to accomplish the next day. There is no right or wrong way to journal and for me getting those thoughts, in list form, out of my head has tremendously helped with my wellbeing.

I try to find a little time each day for some mindful movement during a PCS. It can be so easy to let the day slip away with your to-do lists that you forget to care for yourself. And losing myself to a good book at the end of a stressful PCS day can really help my emotional and mental state. For me PCS time includes the clean out stage, the pack out, the living without your stuff, the travel, the hotel living, the finding somewhere new to live, and the move in stage.

How do you find mindful movement through a PCS? What other ways do you take care of yourself during a PCS? I would love to hear your tips, tricks, and tools!

mindful military PCS tips woman mediating on yoga mat


Elizabeth Bosse

Elizabeth Bosse is a yoga teacher, reiki master and teacher, and writer. As the creator of the blog WellnessWildernessWithElizabeth she is building a program to take wellness on the move.

As a military spouse of fifteen years and mother of a young daughter, Elizabeth has had a lot of practice maintaining wellness through changing circumstances, developing her philosophy through nine moves (eight of which were overseas), two deployments, and one evacuation. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Alabama and experience in hospice.  In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys running, swimming, reading, practicing and teaching yoga, and traveling.


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