For those of you in the US, happy almost 4th of July! Since many people are spending time with loved ones this week, while maybe still juggling work, I thought today’s topic was juuuust right.

In our recent Soul Awakening survey, Courtney asked the following question;

“How can I find time and space to be the most present and authentic with my family, even when I’m stressed and tired?”

Anyone else struggled with this?!  (I certainly have!)

I wrote an article for the Huffington Post on this topic, you can read it here.

It’s really difficult to be present and authentic with your family when you’re stressed out and exhausted.

I recommend an oxygen mask and a hall pass.

Oxygen mask.

The first step is to take care of yourself. There is some serious wisdom in the airplane safety announcement; “In case of emergency, please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”

You must take care of yourself to have the energy to connect with others. Click To Tweet

Soul Stewardess.

We could all use a Soul Stewardess (or Steward!) in our life reminding us; “In case of exhaustion, please take care of your own soul before attempting to connect deeply with anyone else’s.”

Want to be more present for others? Try finding the time and space to be present for you. Take a bath, get a massage, make yourself and your needs a priority.

You’ll be amazed at how much energy you have for your family once you’ve filled up your own tank first.

Maybe you need more sleep, more exercise, to eat better or carve out time for a dear friend or an activity that brings you joy.

No time?

Even a five minute walk around the block when you first get home can help clear your mind before you connect with your loved ones.

Intentional transition.

Another trick is to do something to intentionally transition from your stressful day to time with your family.

A quick walk outside, listening to music that’s uplifting right before you walk in the door, or even lighting a candle when you get home are all ways to honor that you’ve left one space behind and are entering a new space that’s dedicated to family.

The power of ritual.

One of my clients had a ritual where he would wash his hands when he first got home and imagine he was washing away all the stress of the day. That really worked for him.

Come up with a habit or ritual you can do each day to transition from the hectic pace of your job to the more quiet presence you want to cultivate with your family.

Jobs will always be demanding.

News flash: Outside requests and obligations are not going away. Ever.

You need to take a stand for what matters to you.

You are in charge of your life, your time and your priorities. It may not always feel that way but it’s true.

If someone in your family got really sick or injured, you’d take a break from work to be with them. The world wouldn’t end. Everyone would be ok.

Start by asking yourself this question;

“Hmmm, what do I need to relax and rejuvenate myself today? What’s one thing that will give me energy?”

Take action by carving out time to do at least one thing for yourself today. Even if it’s just a five or ten-minute activity, do it!

Afterward, notice if you have more energy for the people that matter most to you.

Hall pass.

Even if you take great care of yourself, there will be times when you’re just plain ol’ tired and it’s difficult to be present for your family. Some days, even though I’ve taken care of myself, I still don’t have much energy for my kids. And that’s ok.

Sometimes, the answer is just to be more compassionate with yourself and give yourself a hall pass.

Maybe you need a hall pass to be cranky and tired and watch trashy tv all by yourself.

Give yourself permission to be where you’re at.

When you’re stressed and tired, and then you beat yourself up about how you’re too stressed and tired to be present for your family…it just compounds the problem!

One thing that helps me is to do a mindset shift to reframe my exhaustion (especially if it comes from my kids). I wrote all about how to do that in this Huffington Post article.  

Quick excerpt:

Like an athlete who comes off the field with mud, blood and grass stains all over her arms, legs and clothes, we, too, are coming off the field of life every day. We work, whether in the home or outside of the home, we want to make a difference, we have good intentions, we love with our whole hearts and we put it all out there. We leave everything on the field of life.

And this is something to be proud of.

What if we felt a deep sense of satisfaction from our fatigue, rather than viewing it as yet another sign of our inherent inadequacy?

So, the next time you’re stressed and tired, start by asking; “Hmmm, what do I need to feel better?” Do a transition ritual to leave your daily stress behind, and give yourself a hall pass and permission to just be exhausted.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let us know – do you struggle to have the energy for your loved ones after a stressful day?

What helps you be more present and authentic for your family when you’re stressed and tired? Leave a comment below, I really would love to hear from you.

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