As someone living with a chronic illness/health condition I bet you struggle with fatigue. Whether it be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or as a side effect of your medical condition. It’s a pain in the bum, right? Some days you feel you can conquer the world, other days you can barely get out of bed. Trying to explain this to your family and friends is so hard, believe me, I know. Often I don’t want to actually admit that I can’t do everything regular people can. Othertimes I just feel like they should ‘get it’ and find myself frustrated when they don’t. Of course, my story is a little different.
This is where Spoon Theory comes in, to help us. Now, you may me asking yourself what is spoon theory? And you wouldn’t be alone. So, in this article, I’m going to answer that question and explain things from my point of view. There are lot’s of resources out there (and I’ll be sure to share some), but I wanted to explain what it is from my point of view. Perhaps you can relate? Maybe it will help you better understand your friend who has a chronic illness or health condition like cancer. Either way, this article is designed to help you feel more educated on the topic of spoon theory.
What is Spoon Theory?
Wikipedia answers that as: “The spoon theory is a disability metaphor and neologism used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness.”
Spoon theory is something that was the creation of blogger Christine Miserando, and you can read her post all about how she explains spoon theory here. It is an excellent method to show people who don’t suffer from a chronic illness that leaves you totally exhausted by just completing simple tasks, what it’s really like. She originally used spoon theory when discussing her day with a friend, and why she wasn’t always able to say ‘yes’ to things. When I first read about spoon theory I suddenly felt understood, and like there was immediately a way to explain how I felt. It made total sense and I loved that I wasn’t alone in how I felt. Hopefully, you will feel the same, too.
How Does it Work?
Spoon theory is all about managing your energy. You start the day with a certain number of spoons. People without health issues have a limitless number of spoons every day. It’s not like that for us. Every task you need to complete during your day will take up some of your spoons. Some days, you may wake up with fewer spoons than you usually have. Perhaps you used too many the day before. Or maybe you just had a bad night’s sleep. The number of spoons each task needs can change daily, dependent on how you feel. Some days getting dressed may take one spoon, and on another, it could take three. I know I have woken up and used a great deal of energy just getting up, dressed, and ready for the day.
At some point during the day, your spoons will run out. So, often you have to make choices about what to complete, and what not to. For example, it comes to the end of the day and you have two spoons left. You need to eat and take a shower before dinner. Cooking and eating will take both spoons up. So, do you do that and forgo the shower? Or, do you order a takeaway and be able to shower as well. Sometimes, I have to go without the shower and cooking. Luckily my husband is a great cook, so he helps out a lot. We also have a list of favourite takeaways, too.
What is a Spoonie?
A Spoonie is a term we use to describe ourselves. It’s an easy way to explain who we are, and to connect with other Spoonies, too. In fact, you are welcome to come and join our community of Chronic Entrepreneurs on Facebook and surround yourself with fellow spoonies looking to make an income from home and online. Personally, I have found it very beneficial to find others who ‘get it’. This is part of the reason I enjoyed the Direct Sales industry quite so much. There are many, many spoonies who choose Direct Sales as a business opportunity. It means I have a support system of women who cheer me on, but who also get it when I need a time out. And I do the same for them. It’s pretty awesome, actually. It is exactly what I am encouraging and building within our Facebook group, too.
Managing Your Spoons
Managing your spoons is something anyone with a chronic illness will struggle with. Some days it comes easily, and other days you’ve used them all up by lunchtime. It can take time and a bit of practice to establish a ‘normal’ or baseline for you. I recommend some trial and error, and lot’s of open communication with whoever you live with and are with you most of the time. That way, they are aware of what’s going on and that you’re working out the best way to make some changes.
I hope this has helped to answer the question ‘What is Spoon Theory’ for you. I would love to know if it’s something you’ve heard of before and use regularly, or if it is a totally new concept to you. Please comment below, or come and join the discussion in our private Facebook group of fellow Chronic Entrepreneurs. Spoon theory explains very well why working from home, running your own business as an entrepreneur is such a great option for us. We get to set our own hours and work when we know we can. Entrepreneurship also means that we can make assessments about our business tasks based on spoons. Altogether, it can lead to a much better work-life balance, which is something we are all longing for.
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