One of the hardest things people with chronic or complex illnesses learn is how to work within their abilities.
When we have a good day or there is a long backlog of needs, so we push our boundaries. We then end up exhausted, and back at square one.
This is one of my most difficult challenges on a daily basis. I feel fairly well, so I go to my job, then to the store and keep running until I cannot move. Guess what happens by dinner time? I end up needing help or just asking someone else to make it.
A very good friend told me about the spoon theory.
You have 12 spoons in a day, each representing the energy it takes to do a task.
Example: For me, (each person has different levels of energy assigned to tasks), one spoon can be getting out of bed. On a good day, one spoon can be getting out of bed and getting dressed. You can see where this is going. By the time I get off work, I might have one or two spoons left for the day.
Lately, I have been forgetting to keep track of spoons. This has led to exhaustion and my body becoming overly stressed. I have decided after having a hectic two weeks to get back to self-care and work within my abilities. This means counting my spoons and communicating with my family about how things are going.
When caring for yourself, be honest about what hurts, what works and what you need to be healthy or healing. Communicate to those around you about these things and set up a system to succeed. It will make you happier and when you are happy, it is contagious!
Just because we live in a fast paced world does not mean that you have to overexert yourself. Be mindful of your own limits. Even small seemingly innocuous things such as electronics and smart phones can be draining. Maybe you need to turn them off to conserve your spoons. Explore and learn your own boundaries to keep yourself healthy. Be mindful of both your physical and mental states as you navigate your life. If something is taking too many spoons, budget your energy accordingly. By recognizing our new boundaries, we can live each day to the fullest without over exertion.