Rest. The dictionary defines it as a cessation of work. The Bible says that God will go with us and give us rest (Exodus 33:14), and that if we bring our weariness to Jesus, he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Clearly, rest can mean a lot of different things. And it's an important concept for seniors living in or moving into assisted living communities to consider. Because, despite what others might think or what you might fear, rest does not mean stopping altogether.
Read on to find out more about what rest can mean and how you can enjoy this important concept while living a vibrant, active life in a senior living community.
One of the first things that comes to mind when considering rest is physical in nature. This is, perhaps, the first type of rest we learn, even as young children. We might run around the yard, delighting in play, but eventually we run out of breath or energy and need to stop for a moment. At night, we close our eyes and slip into sleep for even deeper rest.
These facts remain true as we age (although maybe we do less running around the yard and more running about town). Even seniors who invite the respite of retirement into their lives by moving into an assisted living community are still active in many ways. You might walk the halls or grounds, join up with others in group exercise or simply enjoy an active day of socializing and participating in hobbies.
No matter who you are — or how old — physical rest still plays an important role in your life. Eventually you must step away from the activity and sit for a while in a comfortable chair. Eventually, each day, you must retire to bed and get what sleep you can.
Some benefits of physical rest include:
It helps your body recover from activity, which makes for healthier bones, muscles and organs
It gives you a chance to reflect on what you experienced
It lets you re-energize for the next activity or day
Our physical bodies aren't the only thing that need rest, though. Emotional rest can also be important. Human emotions naturally wax and wane, rising and falling like waves. It's unhealthy to live your entire life in the trough, but it's equally unhealthy to ride the top of the wave without ever coming down.
In short: we can't feel tremendously happy (or sad), terribly frightened (or completely secure), hopping mad (or perfectly calm) 24 hours a day. We're not designed for that type of consistency, and some of those emotions you wouldn't want to hold long-term anyway.
Resting emotionally can involve:
Letting go of things that you can't change
Taking time for yourself
Forgiving others and seeking forgiveness
Oddly, many people find that resting emotionally is easiest when they're engaging in physical exercise, so yoga or chair yoga may be a good option for seniors seeking emotional rest. Prayer is also a common way to seek this type of rest.
Mental rest is as important as emotional and physical rest. You certainly can't shut your brain completely off, but you can rest your mind by taking time to do things that are soothing and not especially challenging. Removing some of the burden from your cognitive functions for a little while each day can help you relax and allows your brain to work quietly on issues that you might not even realize are festering.
Some tips for resting mentally include:
Listening to relaxing music while sitting in a comfortable chair or lying in bed
Enjoying a warm bath
Reading something that you enjoy but doesn't require intense concentration, such as a light-hearted story
Watching movies or television in the same vein, such as fun comedies
Walking or sitting outside
Sometimes, it's not that you need rest in general. You might simply need a break from a specific activity, environment or person. This type of rest is about removing yourself from a situation so you can get better perspective on it or recover from something that tends to sap your energy.
If you find yourself feeling stressed or snipping at someone, think about whether you need this type of rest. Try to find a polite but firm way to excuse yourself so you can get it.
Some examples of specific rest might include:
Needing a break from a certain person who you enjoy being around but requires a lot of concentration or energy
Stepping back from a hobby or other activity because you're no longer enjoying it and might need a break from it
Simply retiring to your assisted living apartment for some quiet time because the noise of the common area is getting to you
The Bible is pretty clear that rest can be spiritual. But did you know that all the types of rest above can be spiritual? Whether you're feeling physically tired or just so stressed with a situation that you can't stomach it any longer, remember to turn to prayer and Scripture study to find rest and rejuvenation.