Give yourself permission to rest: 7 ways to quiet your thoughts

Published on Feb 13, 2021

Woman giving herself permission to rest and do some journalling

It was late in the evening. My upper back was aching, and I was stress eating another cracker with cream cheese. My eyes were tired—from wearing my contact lenses too long I told myself, but the truth was, I had been staring into a screen for more than 12 hours. I just need to check my email, just have to see if my daughter handed in all her homework, ahhh I forgot to answer a message on WhatsApp, a colleague wanted some business advise and oh yes there was that bill to pay and, and, and…

Sounds familiar?

Are you someone who is constantly stressing about not doing enough? Thinking there’s always more you need to do? Feeling anxious because there is never an end to your to-do list?

You force yourself to keep going, even if your intuition tells you that what you are doing is not good for you, ignoring all the physical signals that you need rest.

You are not alone.

In the book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, which I’m currently reading, they call it “Human Giver Syndrome.”

If you are like me and have grown up to believe that hard work is what it takes to be successful, no wonder we push ourselves over our limits.

That belief almost ruined my health 14 years ago while on duty 24/7 for a big international news agency.

After experiencing corporate burnout, I made radical changes to my life. I started studying again, and eventually created my own business.

But as with all deep-rooted beliefs, they don’t just disappear.

When a client I worked with told me a couple of weeks ago that she punishes herself when she is being lazy, I felt grateful that I had learned my lesson and was gentler with myself.

And then a few days later I caught myself doing exactly the same! There it was, that sneaky old belief whispering:

If you just worked a bit harder you would be in a different stage of your business. Look at such and such person, they stay up and work late at night and still manage to do their job well, be a good wife and mum AND get up before the kids to meditate!

At the beginning of the second lockdown, I felt like a melting candle. It didn’t matter that I was resting on the weekends, I was still tired.

I fell into the productivity trap again. For a couple of weeks, I was in go-go-go mode and my focus was only external.

I paused and reflected and stopped living as if I was on fire. I stuck a Post-it note on my computer: DARE TO REST.

I used to think exhaustion only belonged in the corporate world. Not many people talk about the risk of burning out as an entrepreneur and as a parent. And I don’t hear it coming up much among all the advice the wellness industry offers us.

What about the idea that we’re also suffering from wellness burnout? Start a morning routine, meditate every day, practice yoga, eat healthy…and, and, and…

Can you resonate?

I mean, it doesn’t matter how many green smoothies you drink and how many affirmations you tell yourself, if you still believe that you are only worthy of rest if you have been really, really productive, it won’t help!

“You don’t need to earn your rest.” – Danielle la Porte

Take a moment to let that sink in: You don’t need to earn your rest.

I know you’re thinking, yes, yes it all sounds good in theory, but I still need to get my work done. I can rest on the weekends or when I’m on holiday. Or when I retire.

But what if there is another way?

What if you can have success without burning out?

Imagine a world where resting is as valued as productivity.

Imagine a world where we celebrate our failures as much as our successes.

That’s the world I want to live in!

I’m on a mission to help you see yourself as worthy independently of your productivity.

What if rest IS being productive?

What if slowing down will lead you to a fuller life?

What if being who you are and doing what you do is enough?

What if we all stopped proving to ourselves how much we can do and gave ourselves permission to choose what brings us joy and ease?

Let’s start to nourish our nervous system and erase that bullshit idea that doing nothing means being lazy, shall we?

As I know you want some practical tips on how to do this, here are some things that helped me in the past:

  • Focus on the thoughts you truly believe. Whenever you hear yourself thinking: it’s a waste of time laying on the sofa or just taking a walk, pause and ask yourself: Is that really true? What is it I really need right now?
  • Include rest in your plans. If you are a planner and like to fill your calendar with activities, make sure you also plan time for rest (not only on weekends and holidays).
  • Dare to say NO to people or activities that don’t lift you up. Notice if your energy drops depending on who you were with or what you did.
  • Cancel social media on your phone. Let your eyes rest from screens in the evenings. Let yourself get a break from knowing what everyone else is up to.
  • Do an activity every week where you work with your hands. If you have kids, draw with them, play with Lego. Play an instrument. Cook a special meal.
  • Find a relaxation exercise that quiets the chatter in your head. Choose a meditation on Insight Timer (try out Taylor Sommerville!) or some relaxing music to end your day with.
  • Start journaling. When our minds are busy thinking all day and we have difficulty stopping, it’s really helpful to write down our thoughts. It doesn’t have to become a novel, just write down what’s in your head. A good way to start is using my tracking journal ‘Time To Thrive’. Download it here.

I hope some of these ideas will help you feel a little bit more rested. But maybe they’re like the green smoothies and affirmations. They might not be enough. Sometimes you need to identify the underlying reason why you don’t allow yourself to rest, first.

There are times in your life when you need to find a companion who will help you figure out and confront the barriers that stand between you and your well-being.

Coaching and Therapy both changed my life.

If you are struggling with exhaustion and find it difficult to give yourself permission to rest, let’s work together. Check out different ways I can help you:

“Katarina gave me a lot of new insights into why I was thinking and feeling as I was. I really enjoyed her coaching exercises, which helped me change some of the destructive thoughts I was having. After the coaching sessions I became clearer in my communication and I learned to listen to myself again. I moved out of a toxic relationship, my son started in a new, great school and I started a new job where I feel much happier and valued! Katarina is the best cheerleader you could possibly hope for! But she’s not only that—she guides and supports in a warm and loving way, all the while keeping you accountable to yourself… Thank you, Katarina”! – Lorna

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!



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I’m Katarina

Welcome to my blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to achieve fulfillment without burning out.


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  1. Samjhana

    “ I paused and reflected and stopped living as if I was on fire.“
    It’s so true that we run around as if in flames ? it’s so unhealthy in every way.
    I use my menstrual cycle as a clock to ensure I settle into deep rest every month. It sets me up well for the month ahead.
    Loved the tips, thank you ?

  2. Carol Usher

    This sounds so familiar and its so wonderful and refreshing to give yourself permission to rest. Thank you.

Learn how to break free from overthinking to feel healthy, happy and confident – the easy waywith my free guided journal.

Learn how to break free from overthinking to feel healthy, happy and confident – the easy way – with my free guided journal.