Are you emotionally available for your loved ones?

A few weeks ago, I was not emotionally available for my kids. I was not present in the moment. My mind was swarming with negative thoughts, unknown outcomes, and unnecessary anxieties.

Like many other nurse practitioners, work has become increasingly stressful. COVID-19 continues to surge on in the world and our patient numbers, as well as severity of diseases, has soared. There have also been disagreements among my coworkers, colleagues, and administrators that weigh heavily on my mind.

I recently had a day off and instead of enjoying some down time with my kids, I was emotionally, physically, and mentally distant. I felt numb as my mind raced with thoughts. I spent half of the day snapping at my kids and avoiding their requests all together. I kept checking my phone for updates from a coworker about the latest work drama.

I knew I was emotionally unavailable but wasn’t motivated to make a change. It took the 50th time of my son asking me to play with him before I knew I needed to switch my emotional availability status. I am a strong believer of work-life balance and never want my kids to feel like I am not available to respond to their needs. Here are a few things I did that day to make positive changes to my negative attitude.

1. I eliminated distractions. I put my phone away. I turned phone on silent, put it face down, and out of immediate reach on the counter. I made it difficult to check my phone for the most recent messages or updates. Sometimes we need to help ourselves out by eliminating the distractions.

2. I released my inner kid. We played a game. Sitting down and playing a card game with my kids immediately changed my perspective on life. Kids are so carefree and happy. Just spending time with them, laughing, and playing made me feel so much better. We should all revisit our inner kid from time to time. Besides, it’s much more fun than being a grumpy, old adult.

3. I let go of what I could not directly change. I am a firm believer in taking control and living a life you want. However, we have to remember there are some things we can not directly change. While we can change our attitude towards those negative circumstances, sometimes they are out of our control. It is not necessary to feel anxious about the future because stressing about the unknown does not benefit us in any way.

So what about you? Is your mind consumed with stress and tasks waiting for you at work? Are you emotionally available to those who need you most? Do you need to reach for your inner child to remember how to live freely? Do you need to let go of the things you cannot control? Take a moment to reflect on what is truly important to you, and live your life accordingly.

And remember Don’t waste the present worrying about the future!


Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, conquer burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at

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