Rest and relaxation do not equate to laziness

NIAGARA, Wis. — In the past couple of weeks, I have encountered several people with whom I used to work. Whether out to dinner, at the grocery store or at my nail salon — no matter the activity — they all shared one common change to their appearance. Each was essentially the same person who I remembered, but what was different? Then it struck me — the physical change in each face bespoke a total absence of stress and a person completely relaxed into their newfound life. Life after the daily stress of work. Life without meetings, without office politics, without deadlines, without difficult decisions. Smiles and laughs came easier, and conversation flowed.

Remember the legend of the frog and the kettle of water? According to urban myth, if a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water, it will instantly leap out. But if it is immersed in a pot filled with pleasantly warm water that is gradually heated, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death. Obviously, frogs cannot live in boiling water, period, but the frog exposed to a harmful environment over time could withstand an adverse habitat that was actually slowly killing him.

And so it can be with work. All jobs are demanding to some degree and have some stress involved. If we are fortunate, we eventually find the right work environment in which we can feel challenged to do our best and know we are making a difference without burning out before we can retire. I recently read a review, written by Susan Spencer for CBS News, that discussed the importance of being lazy. It also served as a review of a book written by Celeste Headlee titled, “Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving.”

Headlee wrote the book after her own experiences as an overworked, burned-out single mother who kept pushing herself to do more and be more. She got sick, quit her most demanding job, and took a two-week cross-country train trip with no wi-fi. After her experience, she determined that idleness and leisure time are necessary for optimum health and well-being. She also realized that doing nothing is difficult because we may be accused of the dreaded sin of laziness (gasp!). As Headlee states, “If someone is lazy, they’re not earning their place in society; they’re a bum.” Yikes, none of us wants to be labeled that!

Spencer addresses this phenomenon in her article for CBS News after interviewing Professor Lonnie Golden, an economics professor at Penn State-Abington. Productivity is the real priority in America. As Golden put it, “Laziness gets a bum rap from both religion and capitalism. The big payoffs in the United States are making ourselves available for promotion, or building our own business from scratch. There’s no reward for being lazy.” If you doubt this, think of the following mantras that many of us have heard since we were children: “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”; “The early bird gets the worm”; and “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Spencer cites an interesting Wall Street Journal survey in her article that illustrates our fixation on being productive. According to this survey on the importance of values (ranking them as “very” or “somewhat” important), Americans value hard work (94%) over just about everything else, including self-fulfillment (91%), marriage (70%), patriotism (73%), religion (60%) and tolerance for others (90%). Even in retirement, most retirees have found it difficult to do nothing. That’s not to say that being active is a bad thing. But there is a huge difference in both degree and motivation between being active and being driven. We can be happily busy with activities we enjoy and find fulfilling. But if we fill our schedules with tasks because we feel we must do them and they are keeping us from doing what we had hoped to do in life, then we need to examine our priorities and make some healthy changes.

The answer to the question of work or play is not an either/or proposition. It is rather a decision to work toward a balance of work and relaxation giving them each due respect. At this point in our discussion, we would do well to remember another old adage from our childhood, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” As it turns out, it makes him a sick boy as well. In her book, Headlee points out that some of the most productive and renowned people in history worked a limited number of hours per day.

People like Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin had a focused daily work time of four hours. The remainder of their day was spent dining, sitting in the garden, or enjoying time with friends. To our 21st century eyes, they were being lazy. But to them, they were simply living their lives.

When I first began my retirement, it was definitely an adjustment. Working had been my priority for so many years that I did not know what to do with myself. At least I’d had my book club, which gave me something else to think about for eight months out of the year. I found that I could immerse myself in a book, and it served to take my mind away from the projects at work. Truth be told, it really saved my health. The main point is that we do not have to wait until retirement to begin living our lives away from our work environments. And this means more than an annual vacation. It means finding ways to redirect our thoughts away from our jobs and toward the rest of our lives while we are still going into work every day.

An article in the Very Well Mind newsletter talks about instituting daily rituals to help enrich our lives. It turns out that there is an important difference between a habit and a ritual. Granted, both involve repeated actions. But the key difference lies in the level of awareness and intent behind each action. Habits involve very little thought and are the result of repetition. They are the brain’s way of conserving energy by allowing us to take these actions without expending much “brain power” at all. A ritual is an action taken with great intention and mindfulness. We choose to perform them because they have meaning and value to us.

The key to having time to do them is to turn the more mindless activities into more meaningful rituals. These do not take more time — just more awareness. They refer to the meaningful practices embedded within our daily schedules. While routines are made up of habits or tasks performed out of necessity, rituals within these routines are performed with intention and awareness, often for their value or personal significance. For example, a routine might include getting ready for work each morning, but a ritual within this routine could be spending a few minutes sipping coffee while watching the sunrise, providing a sense of calm and readiness for the day ahead. Rituals can transform mundane routines into rich, fulfilling experiences that contribute to overall wellbeing.

Whether you have already retired and are adjusting to it or are still working, give yourself permission to enjoy and appreciate each new day you have been given on this earth. There is more to life than work. Find ways to build little islands of respite into each day; times during which you can reconnect with the world around you and with the people who mean the most to you. Give yourself permission to … be a little lazy.



Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community



The facility welcomes anyone who would like to entertain residents. Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Resident self-activities, 10 a.m.; strong tower church, 1 p.m.

Monday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; rosary, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; card club, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; nails, 10 a.m.; music — YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; cooking club, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; art, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; noodle hockey, 10 a.m.; music — YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; crafts, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; room visits, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; Golden K bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Resident choice — have fun with the weekend packet.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls


Sunday: Room visits, 8:30 a.m.; puzzle time, 9:30 a.m.; chair exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Just friends, 9:30 a.m.; garden club, 9:45 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; Father’s Day party with Larry, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Senior days at camp, 9:30 a.m.; “Animal Kingdom,” 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; Christ United, 2 p.m.; current events, 2:30 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; happy hour with music, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; yard games in the pavilion, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler/Wii fun, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 10:45 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; classic movie, 6 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare



Sunday: File and style, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; flip-o, 1 p.m.

Monday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; exercise, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Bob Larson, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; resident council, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; fun in the sun, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; father’s craft, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; who’s that? 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Golden K bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; what’s Flag Day? 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Flag Day crafting, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Devotional, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; “Jeopardy,” 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.


Families are allowed to attend activities and are encouraged to join in.

Sunday: Coffee and chit chat, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; prize bingo, 1:45 p.m.; church service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; garden planting, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; hedbanz game, 10 a.m.; resident council, 1 p.m.; courtyard campfire, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; Protestant service, 10 a.m.; yard Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; evening prayer, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary, 9 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9:30 a.m.; mugs and muffins, 10 a.m.; ice cream outing, 1 p.m.; creative art, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Men’s breakfast, 7 a.m.; flag events, 10 a.m.; C & R happy hour with Ray and Mindy, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Uno, 10 a.m.; courtyard games — corn hole, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy/Sunday scripture, 3 p.m.

Northshore Healthcare

Florence, Wis.


Sunday: Independent activities

Monday: Tea party on the patio, 10 a.m.; group puzzle, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Resident council, 10 a.m.; manicure, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Exercise/beach ball kick, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; brain teaser, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion, 10 a.m.; movie, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Independent activities

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain


Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; trivia and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility



Sunday: Morning visits and reality orientation; bunco, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:15 a.m.; church services, 1:30 p.m.; ice cream social, 2:30 p.m.; coloring pages

Monday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; pondering prompts, 11 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; Uno, 4 p.m.; movie in the sitting room, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; uplifting S.G. with Coria, 10:30 a.m.; hangman, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; card game — trash, 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; what’s in the bag? 11 a.m.; crafty Wednesday – paper roses, 2 p.m.; cranium crunch, 4 p.m.; giraffe primer

Thursday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; cooking with activities, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon toss, 4 p.m.; shopping outing

Friday: Morning visits and reality orientation; Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; who-what-where, 11 a.m.; happy hour with Jon Sampson, 2 p.m.; patio book club, 4 p.m.; off to the races, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Morning visits and reality orientation; noodle ball, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; activity packets


Alpha-Mastodon Center


The center at 415 Main St. is open four days a week, serving soup and sandwich meal from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays, fish fries from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and dinner from 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Amasa Center


Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Vegetable pizza, low-fat cottage cheese, pineapple tidbits, ranch pasta salad with cheese.

Wednesday: Cheeseburger, baked fries, baked beans.

Thursday: Pancakes with bacon, baked oatmeal, hash browns, pears, yogurt.

Breen Center



Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Liver and onions, roasted garlic potatoes, asparagus, biscuit.

Tuesday: Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli bake, dinner roll, pudding.

Wednesday: Hearty beef stew, pickled beets, garlic cheese biscuit, Jell-O cup.

Thursday: Shepherd’s pie, buttered corn, biscuit, pudding cup.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Elizabeth Peryam

Assistant Cooks: Debbie Bigalski and Shannon Stapleton


The center is now open on Mondays and is serving meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea, or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with a phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Ground beef goulash, dinner roll.

Tuesday: Grilled brats, baked beans, tater tots.

Wednesday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes, gravy; 50-50 raffle.

Home-delivered meals (prepared by DICSA independent from above menu) —

Monday: Lemon chicken and rice, steamed Brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: Cheesy tuna casserole, steamed carrots, croissant.

Wednesday: Pork carnitas, Spanish rice, fiesta corn salad, Jell-O.

Thursday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast, fruit cobbler.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency


Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Lemon chicken and rice, steamed Brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: Cheesy tuna casserole, steamed carrots, croissant.

Wednesday: Pork carnitas, Spanish rice, fiesta corn salad, Jell-O.

Thursday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast, fruit cobbler.

Friday: Spinach salad with chicken and cheese, fruit salad, biscuit.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain


Schedule for the week is:

Monday: Les Artistes art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards — Pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.; Happy Quilters, noon to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m.; cards cost 25 cent, with 10 games played.

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday: Cards — Smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center


Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Turkey burger with bacon, roasted potatoes, broccoli with cheese.

Tuesday: Hot beef sandwich, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, fruit crumble.

Wednesday: Tater tot casserole, California blend vegetables, biscuit, Jell-O with fruit.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Lemon chicken and rice, steamed Brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: Cheesy tuna casserole, steamed carrots, croissant.

Wednesday: Pork carnitas, Spanish rice, fiesta corn salad, Jell-O.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: French toast sticks, breakfast sausage, hash brown patty, fruit, orange juice.

Tuesday: Pork chop suey, rice, Oriental vegetables, fruit.

Wednesday: Baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, candied carrots, fruit, rainbow sherbet.

Thursday: Father’s Day Meal — Barbecue country ribs, German potato salad, confetti bean salad, strawberry shortcake.

Friday: Brats and sauerkraut, pasta salad with vegetables, baked beans, watermelon.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall


RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Open Monday through Thursday, serving at 11:30 a.m.

Reservations for a meal onsite need to be made 48 hours in advance by calling the above number.

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu. Now open, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters


Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals On Wheels program is available for those who are homebound.

Monday: Mushroom Swiss burger, hamburger bun, potato wedges, carrots, fruit cocktail.

Tuesday: Chop suey over rice, Oriental vegetables, Oriental coleslaw, Mandarin oranges.

Wednesday: Barbecue ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, Key Largo vegetables, whole wheat bread, strawberry delight.

Thursday: Chicken Alfredo, mixed vegetables, side salad, warm peaches.

Friday: Sloppy Joe, hamburger bun, hashbrowns, corn, fruit cup.

Iron River Center


Dine-in meal served at 11 a.m. Salad bar is available, as are carryout meals. No night meals are being served at this time. Menu for the week —

Monday: Smothered chicken, buttered noodles, California blend vegetables.

Tuesday: Sloppy Joe with a bun, baked macaroni and cheese, sweet potato fries.

Wednesday: Pork and cabbage bake, carrots, garlic and cheese biscuit.

Thursday: Blackened fish, au gratin potatoes, cauliflower, pudding.

All meals are served with choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Niagara Senior Center/Café


Dinner is served at noon Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $11 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Tuesday: Early Serve — Cheesy egg bake, hash browns, breakfast sausage, fresh banana, fruit muffin.

Wednesday: Father’s Day Dinner — Barbecue pork, oven-baked potatoes, baked beans, carrots, wheat bread, brownie.

Thursday: Baked fish, baby red potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, rye bread.

The center will have bingo on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook: Brian Gutkowski


Dine-in eating begins at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up. Menu for the week —

Monday: Homemade chili, corn, cornbread.

Tuesday: Cranberry chicken wrap, sweet potato fries, vegetables.

Wednesday: Meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetable

Thursday: Beef chop suey, Oriental vegetables, rice.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Birthdays and bingo on Thursday.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101, noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center


Dine-in meals available. Salad bar opens at 11 a.m. and meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Philly cheese sandwich, baked fries, white cheddar macaroni and cheese.

Wednesday: Wet burrito, refried beans, Spanish rice, bread and butter.

Thursday: Cheese tortellini, green beans, garlic French bread.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Lemon chicken and rice, steamed Brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: Cheesy tuna casserole, steamed carrots, croissant.

Wednesday: Pork carnitas, Spanish rice, fiesta corn salad, Jell-O.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today