Look After Your Spoons

As mentioned in my previous posts, I am currently moving house and I was doing well. Until yesterday, when I used up all my spoons and more. 

The spoon theory is a metaphor those with a disability, chronic illness and/or autoimmune disease, for example, use to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and tasks. 67797_10209343858420587_5759416048004981043_n

The idea of the spoon theory is that many people with a disability or chronic illness must carefully plan their daily activities to use their spoons wisely, while most people with better health or who do not have a disability, do not need to worry about running out of them. Spoons are a unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout the day. If you imagine that each activity requires a certain number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person rests, then if you run out of spoons, you have no choice but to rest until your spoons are replenished. I myself imagine having ten spoons each day, and tasks just as showering or bathing require two spoons, and walking for half an hour (usually home from work) require six. I have to work out what activities I can afford to do each day, so as not to run out of spoons (energy) and be left exhausted.

As other people without a disability or chronic illness do not feel the impact of spending spoons for mundane tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, they may not realise the amount of energy used by those who do need to plan their energy usage just to get through the day. They do not tend to have a limited amount of energy, as most daily tasks could never get close to exhausting them, unlike those with hypothyroidism, for example.

Even those who have their hypothyroidism well treated, like myself, tend to be more at risk of over exhausting and expecting too much of ourselves, compared to other people.

Well, with moving house, I did well for a few days and I was really surprised by it. Then yesterday, day five, I crashed and had to go back bed by 11am. I was in debt in spoons. On each day before, I’d been borrowing spoons to get me through all the many tasks involved in moving house, from the next day, leaving me with none for Tuesday, and most of today. So I’ve slept again today after not getting an awful lot done. Just showering tired me out, and after having lunch I had to nap as I couldn’t keep my eyes open. My muscles were aching and I felt like rubbish. For me, I suspect my adrenal fatigue is playing a big part, too.

After a nap, though, I felt a lot better, and I woke up and unpacked some more kitchen stuff.

We’re getting there. The house is feeling like a home, now.

I’m lucky I have such an understanding partner who will run me a bath and tell me when to rest, but this has been a reminder to look after my spoons, and spend them more wisely, planning how I’m going to use my energy for each day, rather than go full steam ahead and crash after a few too many days of pushing myself.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but more reading and references can also be found at:


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