Posted by: Beth | August 23, 2021

Careful with your spoons!

Big spoons
Little spoons

Solid spoons
Slotted spoons

Metal spoons
Plastic spoons

Clean spoons
Dirty spoons

Filled spoons
Empty spoons

We all have spoons.
We all need spoons.

Ah, but I have moved from the physical to the metaphorical.  I loved the Spoon Theory for energy the moment I heard it.  Basically, each person has a number of “spoons” available each day. Every activity requires a number of spoons.  When you run out of spoons, you’re done for the day, no matter how much day is left. Thankfully, this story was easy to track on the internet.  Christine Miserandino shared her story of living with a chronic illness that saps your energy. You can search her name and find numerous articles and videos.

Back to my story ….

Each of us has an amount of energy to use throughout any given day. Each of us has tasks to do every day. It’s easier to visualize spoons than energy, so I’ll get back to spoons. Some days, we can shower, get dressed and out the door and barely notice we’ve used a spoon.  Work at a paying job or care for children all day and you notice some spoons are missing.  Add in laundry, a community meeting, a favor for a friend, walking the dog, handling fifteen phone calls, and preparing meals, and most of your spoons may be used up for the day.  Hopefully, a decent night’s sleep and you’ll have a new drawerful of spoons for the next day.

Only ….. life isn’t always so smooth.

A large number of things can decrease the number of spoons you have available.  These same things can increase the number of spoons you need to complete a task. Double whammy.  It ain’t fair, but whoever told you life is fair lied.  So here is an incomplete list of things that can decrease your morning inventory of spoons and increase the number of spoons you need to do even simple things like get dressed, fix a cup of tea, load and run the clothes washer, or remember to have the oil changed in the car.  The visible or big things we think of, maybe not so much the invisible and “smaller” things.

loss of a pet
an important event coming up soon – graduation, wedding, moving, new job
change in schedule – school, job, vacation
death of a loved one
birth of a child
nagging, non-specific physical pain
mental stress
weather events – drought, flood, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, flood, blizzard, sandstorm, wildfire
political events
news in general
decisions by loved ones that land them in jail
change of seasons – temperatures, pollen, etc.
interruption of supplies getting to stores
loss of a utility for a while – water, electricity, phone and internet service
chronic physical illness
conflict with family or friends

And a list of things to, hopefully, increase the inventory and decrease the number needed for a task.  Some cost money; some don’t.  Be mindful of your budget, but remember your self-care is important, too.

quiet, preferably in nature
walk barefoot in the grass or on the sand or in a creek
a cup of tea or coffee or plain water
slow, deep breathing
restful sleep (which can be difficult to get, I know)
time with a friend, in person or on the phone
remembering pleasant things
music you enjoy
round of golf
a stroll or a run
any physical activity that doesn’t further harm your body
time with Jesus and The Word
healthy foods
an unhealthy treat – as long as it doesn’t cause more troubles
regular check-ups with your health care team
disconnect from the electronic world for a while
do something for someone else – people like pleasant mail and chatty phone calls

Sometimes there is little to be done about the number of spoons we have in a day.  Grief and health problems are notorious about changing the number of spoons we need for a task – from day to day and even within a day.  Accepting that is a major key to learning to be careful with your spoons.  Just because you have 162 one day does not mean you will have that many the next; you may only have 57. There may be days you have only a dozen.  Those days are really hard.  May you be blessed with a friend who will share some spoons on your rough days.  Remember to share yours when you can.


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