Getting Past a Bad PCS

Let’s face it. Moving isn’t easy and judging by some of the recent posts on the Lost During My PCS Facebook page, it can be downright heartbreaking. So how do you pick yourself up after a nightmare move? How do you put on a smile when your new neighbors come by to welcome you to the neighborhood and all you can think about is your Grandmother’s antique tea service that was either damaged or lost?

As the song says – You. Let. It. Go.

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. But truly in the grand scheme of things, it’s done and hopefully a month or year….ok, maybe a decade from now, you can laugh about it or at least not burst into tears.

First things first.

Repeat after me. “It’s only material things, and I will get through this.” Then file an official claim, file a complaint with your coordinator, and leave a brutally honest review with our friends at PCSgrades so the complaint lives forever.


Get your mind off the unpacked boxes and all the damage and take a good look at your new duty station. Some people actually enjoy living here. Seek those people out. They are in your new neighborhood, at your kid’s school, at your new church or your child’s Boy Scout Troop. Find people who can make lemonade out of the sourest lemons. A positive attitude can be contagious and you need to get rid of all your dark thoughts from your recent PCS.


Find what makes your new duty station-city-neighborhood special. There has to be something you’ve never seen or experienced. Something your family will enjoy. Find it. If you are stationed at Southern Command in Miami, spend time at the beach. If you are out in Colorado Springs, enjoy the scenic hiking trails. Brand new to Fort Wainwright? Check out the snow activities. Doing a tour at the Pentagon? Sign up for a White House Tour or sit in on a Supreme Court case. Take advantage of whatever makes your new station unique.


If you live on-post/base, get off. Plan some outings out in town or a day trip before the kids head back to school. Exploring and learning new things are good ways to adjust to a new environment. Distancing yourself from the stress of a rough PCS will do wonders for you and your family.

If you live out in town, join the neighborhood pool. Sign the kids up for activities that they love, that they did at their last location such as a soccer or swim team or scouts.

Certainly, some moves are harder than others, and some duty stations are nothing to get excited about. But making a concerted effort to think positive and give your new “home” the benefit of the doubt will go a long way in getting past the horror of a bad PCS, allowing your family to truly bloom where they are planted.

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