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spoon theory

 
steward
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Here's a picture showing what takes away spoons, and what gives spoons (for some of us).

Yaasss.

stress-versus-plants.jpg
[Thumbnail for stress-versus-plants.jpg]
all kinds of stress and then...plants / plant joy!
 
pollinator
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I've heard of spoon theory before, and forgotten about it. This is very timely for me as I've been kicking myself for not getting enough done when I should have realized that it's not inherent laziness but spoon inventory issues.

Went through something similar last year and I called it burnout, but spoon deficit strikes me as far more tangible. I've got a disabled husband and special needs kids, as well as my own issues (we were all healthy initially). Moderate-to-severe stress and exhaustion are such familiar parts of my routine that it's hard to imagine life without them. My life sucks spoons at this point, and I needed a reminder about replenishing the supply.

Never quantified it before but I'd say depending on the day I've got 10-20 spoons, and on bad days the basics take up all the spoons. My reserve is non-existent. I'm sure I have some emergency spoons somewhere, but I can't access them. I managed to coast through the summer but now I'm getting annoyed with myself over this spoon shortage. I really do want to finish that book, but my mind goes blank every time I go to write more. I want to paint the kitchen, but just the thought of all the hours of scrubbing, sanding, and priming makes me tired. So I've got to get myself some more spoons, and I'm going to start by making a list of known spoon generators.

Thank you, permies. Reading this thread has helped a lot. :)
 
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While I really like the spoon theory, my personal preference is to use two gaming signifiers: mana and hit points. Mana I use for mental/emotional energy, while hit points is physical energy and ability.

Some days I have plenty of mana, but my hit points are low, so I dedicate myself to things that don't take much physical effort. Other days my hit points are high but my mana is low, so I do physical work that doesn't require me to think too much.

I'f I'm lucky, both are high. On bad days, both mana and hit points are wayyyy low.
 
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Going back to the original lupus-explaining spoon theory, I propose an extension of the metaphor:

Where positive things that build you up and give you joy cannot increase the number of spoons I reckon they help to maintain your Cutlery Drawer.  By this I mean that while there may be no spoons gained from positive stuff, you are less likely to experience spoons mysteriously slipping away without you consciously spending them.  Showering will still take spoons, prepping dinner will take spoons, but by having some cutlery drawer maintenance in our day we are less likely to be wondering where the other spoons went four hours before bedtime.

- so glad threads are perennial here.


 
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I like the mana and hit points concept.

Being from Alaska, I was aware of seasonal depressive disorder long before I realized how much it was effecting me.   I never noticed myself getting down, what I noticed was the big, dumb grin on my face around March.  Recently I realized that even though I am now in southern indiana, it still effects me.
Since I want to stay around family, it is unlikely that I will ever move close enough to the tropics to remove this challenge.  I need to find solutions.  My current big discovery was walking a couple of miles in the middle of the day when weather allows (lunch, breaks at work).  It didn't help overnight, but after a week or two I again feel like God's his heaven, the lark's on the wing, and my enthusiasm for life is coming back strong.
My wife has some pretty bad energy and muscle cramp and pain issues.  Because if that she has resisted walking or spending much time outside (in fairness, summers here are way to hot and humid for comfort, winters are cold and when it's  warm enough, rainy.  Now, though we are in spring.   We're trying to get a house ready to sell, so she dragged her butt outside and started working in the yard.  After a couple of weeks, her aches and pains are dramatically reduced and her energy is probably increased 5 fold.
When we feel bad we want to lay around and watch the idiot box (tv) or get on the other idiot box (the internet or games) when sometimes what we need to do is something shaved monkeys are designed for, get out in the bright sunshine, some nature, and move!  It is a pretty good spoon producer, although not always showing immediate results.
 
gardener
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My thistles are finally reduced to fairly easy control with a shovel. = + ~∞/2 spoons!

I worked about half a pasture today, the pasture being about ¾ acre. From seemingly impossible to about about 35 minutes work. Spoon! (Unwarranted Tick reference: +1 spoon)

 
steward & bricolagier
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Pasture or swamp?  :D
Good use of messy weather!
I have been pulling stuff too. Need to use the mud to execute a bunch of Bermuda grass.
Nice work, good planning, my compliments!
 
T Melville
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They grew in the pasture. My wife says that she's seen cut off ones go ahead and mature the blooms and go to seed. So I threw 'em in the pond, just in case. I don't think they'll mature in there, but I'd be very surprised if the seeds grow in there.
 
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Thanks for updating this thread so I could find it! I've used the spoon theory for years now for my introvertness, my executive dysfunction, and for my hypotension (low blood pressure). When I feel low on spoons I try to remember that I need to hydrate and eat (usually something salty) for hypotension, be by myself for the introvertedness, or go and do something for the dysfunction. Today, seeing this, I reminded myself that even though it's hot (something that really makes me lethargic and feeds my executive dysfunction), I need to clean since that will give me spoons from feeling accomplished at overcoming the executive dysfunction.  And it worked! Now I just need to vacuum, get groceries, and go pick up the dehydrator I found on Facebook Marketplace. That will take spoons, but also hopefully put some in the drawer for tomorrow. (I find that spoons gained from accomplishing tasks tend to be future spoons - they don't come immediately but the next day I can look back and grab the spoons from the past)
 
gardener
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This thread needs to be bumped. It is full of brilliant thoughts.

A month ago I ran out of my spoon reserve. At that time I didn't know about the existance of spoons. One day, while deep diving here in Permies, moving from thread to a similar thread one after another - like a mindless zombie - I somehow ran into this post.


 
author and steward
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I have a different type of health thing going on right now, but I am finding that an understanding of spoon theory helps me navigate this.
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PIP Magazine - Issue 19: Ideas and Inspiration for a Positive Future
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
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