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Relocation Tip of the Week - Take Charge of Your Move

Source: Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) Weekly eNewsletter

Here are a few things to remember when you sit down to tell your immediate family members that everyone will be moving to a new location. Use this checklist to help with the initial planning.

Take charge of your move. Being fully prepared for a move is the best way to reduce relocation stress. As soon as you have orders, get a notebook/palm pilot or other small planning device, call it your "moving book" and start planning. Assess your financial situation, determine what you'll need, make inventories, establish a timetable, get information on the new location, and set aside some time to deal with your feelings. You can accomplish all of these tasks using the tools in Plan My Move.

Everybody plans. Let children be involved in the planning process for the new home so they will feel less helpless about the move.

Talk it out. Sit down as a family and discuss your feelings about the move. Allow and encourage everyone to express their honest feelings, good and bad.

Exercise tender loving care. Stress can negatively affect the body and the mind and make you more vulnerable to illness. Families need to give themselves a little extra "tender, loving care" at moving time by eating the right foods and getting enough sleep.

Give yourself a break. Each family member will handle stress differently. Don't ignore signals of stress (depression, anger, fatigue), but don't dwell on them either. Just be aware, be patient, and be willing to look for help if it is needed.

Say your goodbyes. It's important to deal with good-byes and express feelings of sadness so you can move on emotionally as well as physically.

Keep familiar patterns. As much as possible, try to stick to the old routine such as mealtimes and bedtimes. Familiarity provides security.

Explore the new environment. Get up, get out, and get involved; the best medicine for loneliness is people and the best way to overcome the feeling of being uprooted is to put down roots in the new location.

Accentuate the positive. Make a list of things you're looking forward to about the new location, and a list of good memories from the old. Take time to have some fun. Laughter can heal a lot of hurt.

Keep an eye on the kids. Since moving can be traumatic for kids, staying in touch with new teachers is very important. Help your kids find ways to meet new friends but don't push. Even though most kids do adjust, it's essential for parents to watch for possible danger signals such as a child spending too much time alone, loss of interest in favorite things, loss of energy or appetite, or other behavior pattern changes.

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Be optimistic but stay flexible. Things rarely turn out just the way we imagine them in our worst or our best expectations. An open mind and a determination to make your move a positive experience is your best insurance that you'll adjust well wherever you go. Change can mean opportunity if you reach out and take hold of it.

Don't go it alone. Moving isn't easy and although you'll probably manage it well, there may be a time when you'll need some special support and assistance. You can find that support through your family center relocation counselor, your minister or rabbi, your neighbors, or the social services in your community.


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