Spoons: they used to just be a utensil I used to shovel my mom’s delicious soup into my mouth. Now they’ve become a system for measuring energy while sick!
If you’ve been sick with an Auto or Neuro Immune illness for awhile you may have read The Spoon Theory. While at a diner with a healthy friend one day, Christine Miserandinoused the spoons at the table to explain what energy means when you’re sick. If healthy people start the day with 1000 spoons & a sick person might have 100, do we make ourselves dinner for 50 spoons or take the long overdue shower?
Here are some tips I’ve found to help save every spoon you possibly can. Because even if you are a highly functioning patient, every spoonful of energy we save can be put towards something we actually enjoy doing!
MEDICATION: The Dollar Store sells weekly pill containers for $1 (get 6 or 8 of them) Filling 6 containers once, is actually easier than dragging everything out every week.
VEGGIES: Buy a mandoline (not the instrument!) If you eat or cook with a lot of veggies you know chopping them can bring you to tears (& not from the onions!) When I realized a $20 madoline cut chopping down to a quarter of the time, I wished I could buy one for every chronically ill patient I know! Get a very basic version that only has 1 width (the fancy attachments are a pain to clean & never get used anyway). Buying one with a blade guard is key! Mandolin-ing your own finger is not fun (not that I know that from experience… nah, not at all).
COOKING: If you are going to cook, make a double batch. It’s easier to make a larger batch of soup than to start over making a whole new batch. Freeze the rest in small servings so you can easily pull them out on the really bad nights. Do this with any leftovers & you’ll love yourself later!
-Use liquid soap (lathering a bar of soap was torture for me at my sickest)
-Shampoo plus Conditioner in One saves an entire step (a huge plus if you haven’t shaved your head as was suggested in last week’s blog!)
-If standing is a battle, a shower chair is a huge help. If you have a bathtub and you struggle to get in & out, consider a transfer chair. It saves the energy of climbing in & out!
-Buy an Electric Razor (you can use it sitting down hours before the actual shower or if you are too ill to shower at all). It will make your showers a lot shorter too which is always helpful!
-Electric anything is helpful but an electric toothbrush is a lifesaver! If it’s too expensive consider the Oral-B Pulsar for $7. It vibrates enough to be helpful.
NIGHT & DAY: The worse we feel the more spoons it takes to do something. If night is your best time of day, after dinner or before bed, set everything out for breakfast tomorrow (ex: bowl, spoon, cereal, even wash the apple or fill the coffee pot). It feels like a pain but you will love yourself in the morning (or afternoon, whenever you wake up!)
CLEANING: Never leave a room without something in your hands (ex: a dirty glass, laundry, even something like a dog toy that isn’t where you keep it). Taking one small thing with you every time adds up fast and is a lot easier than trying to do anything all at once.
-Send mail to the same few places a lot? Print the addresses on label paper. Keep them next to your stamps & you’ll never have to write out the address again!
-If you send Birthday or Holiday cards consider signing, addressing & stamping several cards at once rather than 1 at a time. You already have the pen, stamps & address book in front of you, sign enough for the next few months. This saves a lot of effort! (Clip the cards to your fridge w a chip clip so you don’t forget to put them in the mail!)
HOBBIES: If you enjoy crafting but are often too tired to get up to get the supplies you surely forgot, consider making a craft tote! Put all the crafting basics (scissors, ruler, glue, etc) in a tote (one with lots of pockets helps) & keep it where you do your crafts. (If you are too tired to even fill a tote, just set it out & every time you use something drop it in the tote when you’re done & in no time you’ll have everything you need!)
BONUS TIP: (my favorite!)
Maybe this sounds familiar to you: you decide to finally clean out that closet that’s been driving you nuts. You drag everything out, put it in piles, hit that wall of exhaustion & dump everything back in the closet a few hours later (really only having made the closet worse!) Sound familiar? A lot of energy can go into searching for things or trying to organize our life.
Try my “1 a day” method! Every single day, simply get rid of one thing!
1) Have a box for things you’d like to donate, a bag for trash (if you want to see the progress you are making, if not just trash it) & a box for selling things if you are up to that.
2) Every day find 1 thing in the house to get rid of. Don’t think about it! Just grab something every day; old pens that don’t work, a shirt you’ve never worn or cd’s you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to. Don’t make it a chore just grab something quickly. Forget to do a day or were too sick? That’s okay, the next day get rid of 2 things! You will be amazed how quickly 1 thing a day adds up.
3) And when there is nothing else you want to get rid of, then you can start moving 1 thing around every day, to slowly get organized! This has been the best thing I’ve ever started & 1 year later, the progress has been amazing (without losing any spoons!)
What are your best tips for saving spoons? We’d love to hear them!