Mental Health Mondays: The Spoon Theory.

 

Mental HealthIt’s Monday!!! ¬† Mondays are typically one of the hardest days of the week. You should be relaxed from a weekend of fun, but often, weekends are too short and Mondays have bigger demands. This is my reminder to you to take care of your mental health.

 

The Spoon Theory, is a way of describing how much energy you have to live your life. Those with chronic illnesses and mental illnesses often have less energy. You start out with a certain amount of spoons, say 12. Each time you do something (Wake up, cook, eat, get dressed, do your hair, etc) you lose a spoon. In a typical morning, a person might Wake up, take a shower, get dressed, cook, eat, and do their hair before even leaving for work. To a lot of people, this is just normal life. To someone with a chronic illness or mental disorder, this could be half your energy gone in a flash.

In my typical day, I’m noticing a few things:

1. Breaking up a task is easier than getting it all done at once.

When I do 5 loads of dishes in a day, I get more accomplished than when I do 2 loads that are twice as large. I know some people are built to “do it and get it done”. I am not. When I pretend to be someone I’m not, it hurts me in the long run.

2. You can’t schedule everything.

This one is way more complicated than it sounds. First off, life happens. Somedays, you don’t get everything done. Somedays you have to start off with the last half of yesterdays to do list because the first half took longer than expected. Sometimes, you get halfway through the to do list, and you collapse on the couch, feeling like you can’t go any further. When tomorrow’s “To Do List” is as large as today’s and you end up adding half of today’s list to tomorrow, well, you see where this is going, right??? Sometimes you just have to decide what the most important things are, and let the rest go.

3. If you prioritize your “To Do List” you’ll feel better about what you accomplish.

If we look at the example above, getting ready for a day out can zap half your energy. This means we must be careful how we spend the rest of the day. One way to do this, is to plan your day the night before. If you are going somewhere and need to expend all that energy, then what can you do to conserve energy for the rest of the day. If you don’t need to go anywhere, or you find you can skip a step or 2 in the normal process, do it. There is absolutely no shame in cleaning house in your PJ’s or eating a microwave breakfast that only takes a minute to heat and eat. Once we have the basics of the day figured out, prioritize that list. If you could only get 5 things done that day, what is MOST important. If you knock these out of the way, you can at least feel good about yourself for getting that much done.

4. Remember, tomorrow is another day.

One of the things you should never forget is that tomorrow is another day. While it is never ideal to continuously move your To Do’s to the next day, it is fully acceptable. Just make sure each night you plan and prioritize so you get the most important things accomplished. Be gentle with yourself about what you can handle. ¬†Give yourself permission to move the items to tomorrow, so you spend less energy worrying and can rest better giving you more energy for the next day.

Living with a chronic illness is not fun. These are some steps you can take to be the most productive version of yourself.

How do you handle lack of energy???

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