MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS, June 20, 2013) — Planning ahead can be one of the biggest stress relievers when it comes to a permanent change of station (PCS) move, Fleet and Family Service Center (FFSC) officials said June 20.
“For a lot of people [who move], the pre-departure can be both positive and negative,” said Diane Brown, Work and Family Life specialist, Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC). “You’re leaving what you’re familiar with, which can be very uncomfortable. But going on to something new can be exciting too, especially if it’s a location that you may have never been to. So it really depends on the person, on how up you are for change and how flexible you are.”
After a Sailor receives their orders, the first thing they should do is visit their local FFSC and meet with a Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) specialist, then attend a Smooth Move class or Moving Overseas workshop to learn the basics about a PCS move and how to start the process.
Applications like Plan my Move on the Military OneSource website at www.militaryonesource.com will organize a Sailor’s to do list prior to their move. It provides a three-month calendar of steps a Sailor needs to take to ensure a smooth move for themselves and their family.
Brown says sponsors can also help reduce a Sailor’s stress by finding answers ahead of time to any questions they have about their new location. Sailors who have not been assigned a sponsor can request one on the Military OneSource website with the Electronic Sponsorship Application and Training tool.
“Service members should ask their sponsor a lot of questions,” said Brown. “I think good questions that the incoming service member can ask the sponsor is your best bet to relieving stress.”
Other helpful websites include:
* Housing Early Application Tool (HEAT) – https://www.dko.mil/heat/apply> * Housing Service Center locator – www.cnic.navy.mil/HousingQuickReference> * Schedule your PCS move – www.smartwebmove.navsup.navy.mil
“Families definitely want to take a team approach to their PCS move, whether you divvy up whose going to do what each day, or what chores each person is responsible for prior to the move. The more information you share with your family, the smoother your move will be,” said Brown.
Don’t forget that moving can be especially stressful on children, said Brown.
“From a kid’s perspective, you’re leaving your house, your friends, you’re going to a new school…that’s hard, that’s really hard,” said Brown. “If you are struggling and are tense and stressed out, your children will notice that. The more positive you are, the more positive they’re going to be.
Brown suggests getting kids involved in learning about the new location and the new installation by doing research. Maybe even let them help pack and let them decide what items they may have outgrown and don’t want to bring with.
Preparation, communication and family involvement are key to a less stressful PCS move says Brown.
“Be aware that you and your spouse may handle things differently… and recognize differences in coping strategies,” said Brown. “Some people look at moving as a really fun experience and as something positive. Some people who may have made really good friends or are leaving family may dread moving. Listen to each other. Stay positive.”
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