What Kind of “Exhausted” are You?

unrecognizable person sleeping under blanket
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

When I wrote the post about having a more nuanced and sophisticated language around explaining the process of skilling up self control, I stumbled across another related topic: a better explanation about the 7 kinds of rest humans need. We have lots of terms to explain the result of not having enough of the right kinds of rest. “Exhausted” is worse than “a little worn out.” “Knackered” is a favorite of mine, probably because I watch a lot of British television. I’d take “weary” over “bone-tired”, and “crispy” over “burnt out”.

It wasn’t until I read this article on the 7 types of rest we need that I realized I wasn’t getting my full daily allowance of each type of rest. You can read the article yourself, I won’t rehash all of the types as they are pretty self explanatory. I realized I was short on mental rest and emotional rest. Humans need time to mentally process information as well as a break from handling others’ emotions. We are still in that COVID social distancing uncertainty, and there is still political uncertainty in the US (we are days from the inauguration). Many around me are emotionally brittle (as am I sometimes) and just emotionally worn out. Paradoxically, the best way for me to be my best self so that I can enable others is for me to take a break from emotional caregiving of others. This isn’t a contradiction of our first Agile Best Self principle, it is creating conditions where I can be resilient.

Agile Best Self Principle #7: Investing the time in yourself is the primary measure of progress.

I didn’t even realize that creative rest was a form of rest! With my 1:1 co-active coach, we spent a significant amount of time just exploring the situations I brought to our conversations. As a recovering hard driving, execution driven person, creative rest is probably one type of rest I’m lacking. Creative rest takes time and the ability to let your mind wander. As a connector, I thrive when I take time for creative rest, and I need to make more space for it.

In a similar manner, I know I need sensory rest, but didn’t understand the full need for it, or that there is a name for it. When my son goes back to his dad’s house for a week, the first thing I do is put the living room and kitchen back in order and just sit on the couch. And sit. And breathe. And sit some more. Drinking in the silence has become a bit of a ritual. Invariably, the dogs start barking, the phone pings or a package arrives, but at least I had a small moment of silence and a chance to re-set.

Even as a connector and a catalyst, I need some social rest. I’m guessing that introverts keyed in on the need for social rest early in their lives. It took a pandemic to teach me that I need to take a break from people – when I don’t interact face to face with people! Yes, an odd turn of events. I discover the need for social rest when I’m socially isolating. I didn’t say it made sense, only that it happened. Part of the discovery came from the realization that I could be on a Zoom meetup every single day if I wanted to be. I had to learn to intentionally pace myself because so many online connections are available. For more on that, read my Zoom In or Zoom Out post.

Lastly there is spiritual rest. The Agile Best Self work I’m doing helps with the feeling of connectedness and meaning, and gives me that spiritual connection.

Making space for spiritual rest: “more broadly refers to how humans draw meaning from their lives, and how they connect to each other and the world around them. When you don’t give yourself time to experience that meaningfulness and connection, you start to feel spiritual exhaustion.”


Hopefully having “better words” to describe what kind of rest you need and where you need to make space for more physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, creative, sensory and social rest will help you build better habits. It is all about being intentionally energizing, so I leave you with our principle 10:

Agile Best Self Principle #10: Simplicity – focusing on what energizes your best self — is paramount.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by MichaeleBestSelf

Connector, Catalyst.

Leave a Reply