Instead of starting your day with a limited number of spoons, you have the ability to self-charge throughout the day to boost activity and improve mood.
Christine Miserandino's spoon theory has become popular with people with chronic pain. It assumes people with chronic pain have only so much emotional and physical energy each day to do the things they want to do.
You start each day with a finite number of spoons. Each spoon represents a unit of energy. As you use up your energy, you take away a spoon. When your spoons are all used up, you're done for the day.
While it's a helpful concept to help explain to friends and family who don’t experience chronic pain what it’s like to live with pain, the spoon theory is commonly being used by chronic pain patients to plan their days so they don't over-extend themselves.
The problem with the theory: there isn't a way to add more spoons (energy) or to make each spoon last longer than expected.
Therefore, it can be self-limiting - focusing on what we can’t do instead of the things we can and leading us to avoid activities that could make us feel worse but may very well help us in terms of giving us more energy and improving mood. For instance, we may choose to save spoons by not joining our friends for lunch or going on a much-needed walk.
Who wants to wake each day knowing you're limited to what you can do? I tend to see things more positive.
We have more control over our pain, energy, and mood than we think.
Another idea: Think of your day like a battery system in a car
If you don't use a car or if you leave on a car's lights or radio without the engine running, the car battery will eventually run out of energy. But if you drive the car, the alternator will recharge the battery as you drive.
Just like a car's battery system, we can add more energy to our days by doing things like:
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Chronic Pain Champions is an information resource/blog/support group to help chronic pain patients, their families, and friends, as well as healthcare professionals. Learn more about this site and the author.
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