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  • Writer's pictureSarah Pence

PCS Tips: Settling In

Hooray! You've survived the move! Now what? The day your HHG shipment arrives is an exciting, but oftentimes stressful experience. Once you've got everything off the truck, you've gone over your checklist (you know, the one where you check off each and every item/box by its coordinating sticker color and number), and you've set aside any items that are damaged, you're left with a house full of boxes and chaos. It can be so overwhelming and naturally, you're just excited to get it done and be settled. However, for a lot of people, this is the stage that can be crippling. You're tired, you're the new people (again), and you just want to be finished.

Here are 4 tips to settling in that can help you get the work done while still maintaining your sanity, getting some rest, and keeping the kids entertained.

1.) Take it one box at a time. I know, I're probably reading this and thinking "But Sarah, THERE ARE SO MANY." It's okay, friend. Baby steps. Start with the essentials: the kid's bedrooms, your bedroom, and the kitchen. If you've got a guest room, as most of us do because we are often far from family and friends and LOVE to have visitors, distribute the rest of the non-essential boxes between there and the garage. Why? Because they have a door you can close and are not in your current workspace. Once you've got the essential rooms unpacked, you can take out one box at a time. Then, close the door immediately. Walk away. Focus. Say it with me: "One box at a time".

2.) Set a reasonable deadline for unpacking. This is not a race. Communicate with your partner, delegate duties, and set the timeline together. Your spouse is your battle buddy, here. Let them help. Get on the same page. If your kids are old enough to help - let them! It can often be a fun project for them and give them a sense of independence. With our last move, I gave my then 2-year-old a box of her clothing and she spent a solid hour putting them into her dresser (full disclosure: it was a complete disaster and I had to do it all over, but it kept her busy and happy so I'm calling it a win!).

3.) Get Connected. When you arrive at a new duty station you have to get re-established. Since PCS season is typically during the summer months when school is out, sports aren't happening, and a lot of people are on vacation, it can be a little challenging to meet the neighbors. However, that doesn't mean you can't get connected. Check out your local visitors center, restaurants, parks, pools, libraries, churches, gyms, and shopping centers. And don't forget social media! It's a great way to "plug in" to your new city. Check out Facebook pages for your new duty station, local events, and things you may enjoy like a book club!

4.) Get Outside. I cannot stress this enough. Staying cooped up in your house will eventually start to wear you down. You don't have to go far - even taking a moment to sit outside on your porch is helpful. You need fresh air, vitamin D, and a mental break! It's a great way to get acclimated to your new environment (when we moved to Georgia the number of allergens was intoxicating and repeated small doses of exposure was the best thing we did for ourselves and our sinuses!). It's also a wonderful way to meet the neighbors. So, take a breather, share a snack break with the kids on the front steps, and wave to your neighbors. It might be how you find your new best friend, an amazing church, or simply just a friendly face to give you comfort in the whirlwind of military life.

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