This year has been like no other. We are being inundated with multiple crises simultaneously. Some of these are even life threatening. Our sense of normalcy went out the window over half a year ago, and we are still stumbling about as we try to balance everything without tripping. Let me be honest though, we all lose our balance and crash once in a while. That is okay. In fact, that is part of the package of being human.
If you haven’t heard about the spoon theory before, let me explain. The spoon theory was written by Christine Miserandino, and you can read her article here, but the basic idea is that every person has a set of spoons that they use as energy currency throughout the day to get things done. We all start out with the same amount of spoons at the beginning of our day. One spoon might be spent getting dressed, or eating a meal. It might take two spoons, or three to run an errand, depending on how much energy those tasks cost the individual. Spoons are also spent on more intangible tasks, such as the energy you use to build and maintain relationships within your family, friends, and colleagues. Each person is different, which means that I might need to spend four spoons to run an errand while it might take another person only two. We ran the same errand, but I used more spoons than the other person, and now have less to spend throughout the day.
Spoons are extra valuable right now, because if you’re like me, everything that I need to do seems to cost more energy than it did when this year started. I am happy if I can get through a day with all of the basics done for the household, and I changed out of my pajamas. I am ecstatic if I can get through food shopping without feeling major anxiety. We’re spending so much energy on the chaos outside of our homes that we barely have spoons left beyond surviving. And trust me, survival is of the utmost importance!
I am out of spoons. I had to find a fork to even write this article, but it is important to keep repeating this message. This year is not normal. We are ALL running out of spoons, and the dishwasher is just not fast enough lately to keep up. Maybe your mental dishwasher is broken and you’re finding yourself scrubbing those spoons by hand. But that is not on you. Don’t berate yourself for being unable to keep up with your normal schedule. Do not feel guilty that what you can offer now might not be as stellar as what you could before. Do not forget yourself when you think of compassion. Compassion for others is a beautiful thing, and is needed now more than ever, but if you don’t take care of yourself first, it is much more difficult to help someone else. Remember that you are enough as you are, and you are worth that compassion.
Take care of your spoons and use them wisely. We’re not through the storm yet, and we don’t know how long we will need to take cover. Read that book you’ve been meaning to crack open. Take a bath. Play silly games. Stay in your pajamas. Do for yourself whatever it is that allows you to recharge and wash your spoons. Most importantly, be kind and understanding to yourself in this moment. You deserve compassion from yourself.
My love to you all. Stay safe. Blessed be.