As summer draws to an end, most of us who followed a set of PCS orders to a new duty station have arrived, found a place to live and unpacked our household goods.
The whirlwind rush of cross-country or transcontinental travel has dissipated. You’ve identified the best route to the commissary, clinic and a decent take-out place. And now that the shock and excitement of all things new has begun to wear off, the reality of our current situation begins to set in.
Maybe your new on-base housing is sub-par to your previous location.
Maybe the weather is always cold or gray and rainy.
Maybe the neighbors are standoffish and the only options for extracurricular activities for the kids is the one thing they aren’t interested in.
And to top it all off, the friends you left behind keep posting updates from your favorite old hang-outs. Or worse yet, maybe your milspouse bestie has PCSed to some tropical wonderland and her Instagram account is overflowing with pictures of sunsets, beaches and fruity umbrella drinks.
Suddenly, everywhere you look things are wrong and you’d give anything to pack everything back up and go somewhere, anywhere else.
There’s no doubt, you’ve got it.
You’ve got PCS remorse and you’ve got it bad.
Chin up chickadee. While your apprehension and dissatisfaction with a less-than-stellar duty station is normal, you can overcome that negative outlook. All it takes is a little adjustment in perspective.
Look for Something Good to Focus on
No matter how bad something is, there is always a silver lining. And if that little voice in your head tells you things are bad, it can color how you see everything around you. Even the good.
Make a point to find something good, something you like about your new location.. Even if it’s just the fact that the water pressure in the shower is out of this world, seeing one good thing can be a stepping stone to others.
Remember that Social Media isn’t Always the Whole Truth
Yes, those amazing tropical sunsets are enviable, but try to keep in mind that most people only tend to share the best and most positive aspects of their lives. So while the beach is pretty, the horrendous traffic, dinosaur-sized mosquitoes, and $8 gallon of milk offer balance for all of that dreamy scenery.
Get Mad, Get Sad and Then Get Over It
Change is hard, especially when it’s abrupt or doesn’t live up to expectations.
It’s OK to get mad or to be a little blue. Those are normal and natural emotions that must be expressed in order to be resolved. Give yourself some time to grief and adjust, but then focus on making the most of what you’ve got.
While things might not be great, they can almost always be worse. Decide to change your perspective and then work to make it happen.
Sometimes finding things to look forward to can help. Maybe it’s taking a long bath every Friday night. Maybe it’s pizza for dinner on Sundays or a nightly jog up to a pretty vantage point. Whatever it is, let yourself enjoy it.
Forget everything else and live in that moment. Joy can brighten your outlook and help to make everything else look a little less glum.
Make a Plan for Distraction
If simply going about your daily routine isn’t enough to shake off those negative feelings, make deliberate plans to engage in an activity that will distract you.
A new exercise routine, planting a garden, taking up a new hobby, volunteering or even going back to school can help you find something to devote your energy to. Focus your energy on learning and growing despite your surroundings. You’ll be amazed at how much it helps to make even the bleakest of days look better.