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. :)
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.
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.
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.