Rest and Regenerate

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:


Rest is mandatory for all animals to renew their energy and vitality including those living helicopters: hummingbirds.  I spotted this little guy hovering near a bush outside my window. Then, much to my surprise, he landed on a branch. I had never seen a hummingbird before that wasn’t humming.  I stopped what I was doing and just hung out with him.  Mr. H. stayed there for about ten minutes, resting, regenerating, and allowing his heart rate to slow down before continuing his frenetic activities.  Such a smart bird.

Hummingbirds’ wings flutter 80 times per second and their hearts can beat as much as 1,263 times per minute or as little as 50 times per minute when conserving energy.  Compare that to the human heart which beats as low as 60 and as high as 200 times per minute depending on age and activity level.

Do you remember to rest and regenerate?  We must learn to pace ourselves—land on a branch—and allow plenty of downtime in order to be able to function well when we are active. Rest and especially sleep have an unexplained yet proven impact on our health and productivity.  A very rare hereditary disease called fatal familial insomnia manifests itself in midlife to its victims and eventually renders them unable to sleep.  At that stage, death comes within months.  We cannot live without sleep.

Have you noticed that when you are not rested, your responses become dull and sloppy?  We make many more errors and bad decisions when not rested. It’s tempting to overdo. There are so many interesting and compelling projects and activities.  Sometimes, it seems there is never enough time to do everything we want to do. However, over-scheduling and cramming in too much becomes counterproductive.

Catching some ZzzsRemember to do your resting in a location conducive to that end.  Choosing a roomful of people, noise, and stimulation does not yield good quality relaxation to most.  If out and about, try to find a quiet, isolated place.  If one is not available, you might decamp to your car.  No car?  Try a stall in the bathroom.  It’s a one-holer, people are banging on the door, and you’ve run out of options?  Then find any seat and use the earplugs and eye mask you always carry with you in your purse, pocket, backpack, wherever. (You do carry them, right, along with a granola bar for quick energy when needed?)  If all else fails, take a tip from this gal catching some z’s on a commuter train instead of grabbing her cell phone to read her emails, navigate the Net, or play mindless computer games.  Make it work for you!

Remember to schedule plenty of rest time into your life. It takes discipline but is an art that you must master.  Then, the things that you do participate in will be so much more fruitful and rewarding.


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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

2 responses to “Rest and Regenerate

  1. Roger Trammell

    I’ve become a serious napper since my retirement. Being able to sleep whenever I want to is a blessing.

  2. I’m envious of serious nappers. It rarely works for me; I wake up so groggy, and then can’t sleep at night. My resting is quiet time alone with something to read.

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