“Rest is about being able to be present, to enjoy whatever you are doing as it’s happening. Staying in the now.”

This is how psychotherapist Ondine Smulders defines rest. She explains that when we are resting, we can enjoy the present moment without worrying for other things, allowing our minds to let go of everything else and focus on what is happening now.

Rest is the ability to still your mind, to give yourself a permission to forget about everything and everyone else, just for the moment. It is essential for our well-being to create moments when we allow our minds to rest of worrying and trying to solve problems.

In order to get a real rest, we need to remove any distractions, things like phones, TV or computers, anything that could fill in the gaps in our thoughts while leaving us even more tired and frustrated.

Investigate what works best for you. Try different ways to rest like going in the park to walk and look around; sitting in the garden reading a book or just listening to the birds singing; going away for the weekend or walking on the beach and gazing at the calm, blue ocean.

On the other hand, you may find yourself restless and unable to unwind even when you have the chance to enjoy a beautiful holiday. Your mind is still thinking about all the problems you left behind at work or at home. Especially for women, so much of our life is mixed up with those around us. We have the tendency to manage the problems and stresses of other people, especially of our children and spouses. But what can we do about this? How can we learn to unwind and rest?

The key is to set boundaries and focus on what you can control.

Many women have this understanding that if you care for someone (a child or a spouse), then you are responsible for their well-being, too. Very often this understanding is mixed up with the idea that we have responsibility to make them happy. However, if the other person decides to be unhappy or miserable, no matter what you do, it is up to them.  You can still care for them, but their mood and their attitude, is their responsibility and you do not have control over it. Focus on what you can control and that is your own mental state and attitude. When you take responsibility for your well-being and accept your limitations, you will find it much easier to unwind and rest.

Embrace imperfection

Another barrier to experiencing rest might be perfectionism. You may have booked the perfect holiday in a five-star hotel with a room facing the ocean and still may find something that is not to your taste, something to complain about. It is important to realise that nothing is perfect in life. You need to take a decision to let go of finding flaws or blaming yourself and start finding the positive, even in the most unpleasant situation. This small attitude adjustment will help you enjoy life even more.

Intent and release the outcome

Often when we are driven toward a particular goal, we can pursue it at an expense of everything. When people do something they love, they do it wholeheartedly and there is a natural outflow of energy. They do whatever it takes to reach that goal. But often, somewhere along the way, they may become obsessed with achieving the goal or chasing a dream and may come to a state of burnout.

“When people are wholehearted, they become more aligned with their soul”, says Dina Glauberman, author of Into the woods and out again. “They know what they want, they care about it and they’ll do whatever they have to in order to get there. But they release the outcome. They tell themselves, If I don’t get there, If I don’t achieve this, I’ll still be OK.”

To avoid burnout, the right attitude toward achieving our goals should be to intend and release the outcome.

And finally, find what brings you joy.

Without joy in life, we have no energy and motivation. It is about finding joy even in the smallest things in life. This is what we lose when we are constantly rushing through life. We need to create beautiful moments in our daily routines. Things like setting beautifully the coffee table, buying a new pot of plants for the garden, baking a cake or playing a music while doing some housework. It may seem small, but it definitely makes a change and makes life more beautiful and joyful.