It’s the life of a military spouse. Your spouse receives orders and you are tasked with everything from orchestrating movers to finding a new home. Suddenly, your health goes into the toilet.
Not this time! Here are three ways to handle a PCS like a pro from a wellness perspective.
EMBRACE “MORE THAN NOTHING FITNESS”
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends you get one hundred fifty minutes of cardiovascular activity each week. They also clarify that this activity can happen in a single duration or in multiple sessions throughout the day. So, as you move your life from one duty station to the next, rather than your exercise being a thirty-minute session, it may look more like fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen at night, or ten minutes in the morning, ten mid-day, and ten in the evening.
This is okay! In fact, you’ll get similar fitness benefits. Don’t ever think a short amount of time isn’t enough. Something is more than nothing. If you added up the number of ten-minute sessions you skipped, how many hours would you have?
NOURISH YOUR BODY
As a health professional, my recommendation is that if you are at a healthy weight, don’t track every morsel you put into your mouth. It leads to unnecessary stress, which can lead to weight gain. That said, PCS season is a time to track your food. Why? To put it simply, it will help you stay on track.
You can use a free app like MyFitnessPal to track your macronutrients or caloric intake for the day. Whether you are in a position to buy groceries or hitting a drive-thru, this app will allow you to enter your intake and balance it with expenditure using a connected movement device like Apple Watch or FitBit. Need to lose weight? The paid version is enough to keep most people accountable. We are more likely to utilize programs we pay for.
I also like Weight Watchers Blue for the same reason: it doesn’t eliminate foods, so you can stick to the plan as you’re on the road, waiting for household goods, or fully transitioned to your new post.
LEARN TO COPE WITH STRESS
It is stressful to move. Even if you’ve done it a dozen times, it’s still stressful. You need a coping technique you can do anywhere and at any time. Here are some ideas you can use:
Prayer or meditation
You’ll notice exercise isn’t on this list and that’s by design. Yes, movement is great. That said, you’ll want something else you can do without needing to plan timelines or environments. Everything on the list above can be done anywhere and at any time.
WRITE OUT YOUR PCS WELLNESS PLAN
Research shows we are more successful when we write things down. I challenge you to write down what you are committing to in the areas of nutrition, fitness, and coping with stress.
As an example, mine might say: I intend to record all of my food in MyFitnessPal, exercise for thirty minutes a day cumulatively in two or three sessions, and do morning thoughts each day in a journal.
Have orders? Don’t table your health and wellness goals. Remember to embrace “more than nothing fitness,” nourish your body, and find the coping mechanisms that work for you, and you’ll handle your PCS like a pro!
Suzy Goodwin has been a military spouse for 12 years and is the host of the award winning Run Lift Mom podcast. A former corporate wellness professional, she now spends her days caring for four kids under the age of six (including triplets!), training for marathons, and wondering if she’ll ever get fast enough to reclaim her Guinness World Record.