Who Are My Emergency Contacts??
Each time you move as a military spouse there’s the inevitable dread of being alone in your new community. The feeling of isolation can come out of nowhere, this happened to me recently when enrolling my kids into their new school and I had to fill out a contact card. And it hit me, who the heck do I put as an emergency contact?!
Moving to a new duty station is HARD. For obvious reasons such as dealing with packing, movers, flights/road trips, etc, etc… However, what stood out to me after our two most recent PCS’s is that the hardest thing is the loneliness. The lack of community around you. While some military families may be lucky to have family or friends near them, most of the time you are moving to an area where you know NO ONE.
Getting Through The First Few Months After PCS
I will dedicate another post to advice around making new friends, however, I wanted to dedicate this post to first, acknowledging the behind the scenes struggles of PCS’ing for spouses, and include tips on what has helped me during this period:
1. Set up FaceTime/Skype dates with friends/family
If you have friends or family that are now distanced, it can be easy to fall out of touch. Setting up regular days/times to video chat or talk on the phone can be helpful in mitigating loneliness and help you maintain connections outside of your spouse. One fun thing my hometown friends and I started was a weekly Skype book club!
2. Keep yourself busy with 1 outing/task/adventure daily
This tip may be more targeted for stay at home moms/spouses. Even if you don’t have a companion yet to do these things with (oh how I miss even just going to the grocery store with a friend!), I suggest giving yourself something daily to do to get out of the house. This could be going to buy plants for your home, getting a book from your library, or taking your toddler to the park.
3. Join all the social media pages/groups for your new duty station & town
Just about every duty station has a Facebook ”spouses page”. I suggest joining these pages just before or after PCS’ing. They can be great for newcomer info. I also suggest joining your new duty stations official pages, the support squadron specifically can have a lot of info about activities. Outside of that I search for my new counties/towns government pages, rec center pages, library, etc. Again, these pages have great info about things going on in the area. There may also be specific pages curated to your interests/hobbies in your area. I’ve seen volleyball groups, hiking pages, etc. While you don’t have to start engaging right away, it makes me feel a little more comfortable getting a sense of the community I am in and what it offers.
4. Throw yourself into a project!
This section may be more dependent on budget and capabilities, but I found that keeping myself busy the first couple months with decorating my new home has kept my mind busy. Even more it’s something that brings me joy! You could work on creating a garden in your backyard, making a new headboard (search Tik Tok for the coolest ideas), thrift shopping for unique decor, etc. Having a project can keep you distracted and focused on something other then feeling lonely, and can also be a lot of fun and satisfying when you finish!