About “Spoon Theory,” and Conserving Your ENERGY!

Have you ever heard of “spoon theory”?

If you’re saying “Uh, no Morgan, what the HECK is that” — here’s a quick explanation:

Basically, there are only so many things you can do in a day. (I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, am I?)

Part of that is because of the time limitations, but part of it is because you can only give away and do so much before you’re exhausted.

So, you have to pick and choose what you spend your energy on, whether it’s your thoughts or actions that are consuming the energy. Negative thoughts are energy-sucks too, you get me??

OK, so what does any of this have to do with “spoon theory”??

Imagine you only have a certain amount of spoons you’re holding in your hands. Let’s say 30.

And every time you complete an action for the day, you “give away” one of the 30 spoons.

So you might use one on your morning workout, one on showering, one on cooking — but also one spoon is used on watching a soap, or getting pulled into a Facebook argument, or helping out an unappreciative coworker with their workload…

And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that second category of activities, but thinking about my energy like it was a real thing I’m “giving away”…that made me THINK. Our energy is a LIMITED resource, and we should really be a little more conscious where we use it!

So yeah, this “spoons” metaphor…where you start your day holding a certain amount of spoons, and every action of the day is one spoon less…really helps me picture the value of every action.

And to make sure I’m spending my time and energy on things that energize and excite me and others, and improve my life!!

But why “spoons,” you ask??

Well, the origin of spoon theory comes from a lady named Christine Miserando, who was out to dinner with a friend, and trying to explain to the friend what it’s like to have Lupus.

So Christine hands the friend all the spoons on the table and says, “Here. Now you have Lupus. Every action you do will cost you a ‘spoon’ and when you run out, that means you completely ran out of energy for the day.”

So I do want to clarify that “spoon theory” originated as a way for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to explain to others what the limitations are like. Those of us who don’t suffer from that should count our blessings for being able to HAVE so much more energy to begin with. And that’s yet another reason why we shouldn’t “waste our spoons,” waste our energy, on meaningless or negative actions…How would a person who has less energy feel about us doing that??

So then, what exactly am I asking you to DO to make the most of your daily energy limit?

First of all, I’m asking you to MAXIMIZE that limit, and there are so many little ways you can do that, like:

  • Getting a gentle wake up light alarm clock
  • Daily meditations and positive self-talk
  • A healthy, consistent diet
  • Planning out the next day(s), or at least parts of them, ahead of time, so you don’t always feel like you’re scrambling and playing catch-up and disorganized!!!

How many “spoons” do we lose each day, how much energy do we waste, because of a hectic day the day before…that leads to poor planning today…that will lead to more chaos tomorrow??

And then, second of all, I’m asking you (the same way I ask myself) to really be mindful of where your energy is being spent. Is it being spent towards the goals that mean the most to you? The people that mean the most?

If not, then where are all your spoons disappearing to? I guess the dishwasher does tend to make them disappear sometimes…;)