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Spouse Series: Minimizing Transition Stress

by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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It’s nearly spring and you know what that means. Permanent change of station (PCS) season is right around the corner. The more industrious among us have already started the arduous process of spring cleaning in a valiant effort to organize our lives and bypass future excess household shipment weight charges.


For some, however, the next move won’t just be to a new duty station. It will be to a brand new civilian life altogether and that can be a scary prospect for everyone in the family.


According to the 2015 Military Family Lifestyle Survey conducted by Blue Star Families, 28 percent surveyed described the overall transition process from active duty to veteran status as difficult or even very difficult. It’s no wonder, right?


A transition out of the military is rather like the ultimate PCS move, isn’t it? There are a million and one things to consider and to plan for. The biggest fear for many is living with all the unknowns.


• Where will you move to?
• Where will you work?
• Where will the kids go to school?
• Will you have continued healthcare coverage?
• What happens to your education benefits?
• Can you even afford to get out of the military?
• Have you planned well enough to move on professionally and personally?


So many questions. So many fears. So many unknowns.


The truth is that it takes great courage to make any kind of big life change and getting out of the military lifestyle when you are used to it is a whopper of one. You can, however, minimize transition stress, of the planned or even unplanned variety, by the following:


Forgo denial. You may not want to get out but you may not have a choice. The truth of the matter is that everyone ultimately transitions out of the military lifestyle sooner or later. If you are facing a transition, whether planned or not, accept it for what it is. Pretending it isn’t going to happen or you’ll get a last minute reprieve won’t help you or your family to best deal with reality.


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