Spoons, Forks, and Why It’s Okay to Take a Rest Day… or Week.

Many of you are familiar with the Spoon Theory. Essentially it explains the reduced amount of mental and physical energy available for activities of living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Each task is assigned a number of spoons and once you have no spoons left, you are done for the day. You can read more about it HERE.

Alternatively, there is the Fork Theory. Similar to the Spoon Theory, the Fork Theory is based on the expression “Stick a fork in me, I’m done!” and explains that there are a limited number of stressors aka forks that a person can tolerate before they are done. You can read more about it HERE.

Well… let me just start this out by saying that due to both physical and mental health issues, I have a very limited selection of spoons and an unusual amount of forks to begin with on a good day. The way the world seems to be falling apart around us more and more each day is certainly not helping things.

I did so well last week with going to the gym every day, getting all my chores done, gaming, starting huge tasks, and even socializing a few times. It was fantastic! But then came the inevitable fallout. For whatever reason, I never see this coming. I think, “Wow! I had such a great week! Surely I can keep this up forever.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

This week, I rediscovered my biggest personal demon – the One Thing A Day Monster. You see, I had used up all my spoons last week and didn’t realize how many forks I had already. I gave myself Sunday to rest and play Overwatch as the Anniversary Event was coming to an end and I really needed to just have a no-brain day to recover from last week. I thought that was enough.

The One Thing A Day Monster had other plans. Well… really, I had plans. And these plans were going to throw a huge wrench into my perfectly thought out routine that worked amazingly last week. Monday I had made early morning plans with a friend. I figured I’d just go to the gym afterward, but my air conditioner broke so I had to take the car to the garage to get that fixed as I knew I had plans on Thursday to take a bunch of returns to the mall and nobody wants to drive for 40 minutes on the highway in 90 degree weather without air conditioning. So I was like okay, Monday is shot, because we can only do One Thing A Day! And that thing was to get the AC fixed. But the rest of the week is fine, right? WRONG!

Tuesday I actually DID get back on track and went to the gym in the morning and had a great workout! I got through everything I wanted to, got some chores and errands done, took the kiddo to equine therapy in the evening and it was a marvelous day!

Turns out, that’s actually a problem. You see… Wednesday I again had early morning plans with a friend. I woke up in so much pain from Tuesday’s workout, chores, and errands, that I had to use both oral and topical pain relief. I knew that the next day I had to drive 40 mins one way to a place I was not familiar with (in a city I am also not familiar with) to deal with returning items to 3 separate stores (lots of socializing with strangers + potential anxiety inducing situations) and this meant that I could not go to the gym on Wednesday because it would make me hurt, therefore taking away the spoons I needed to get through Thursday. So the One Thing A Day I could do was visit with my friend. I couldn’t even consider “wasting” energy on anything else because Thursday’s One Thing was HUGE!

Not surprisingly – not going to the gym Wednesday threw off my entire day’s schedule/routine. I knew why I wasn’t going, but I was hard on myself about it and that turned into a Netflix binge. Totally unproductive day.

Thursday I did the huge One Thing which included the driving (and getting lost for a minute because the GPS misdirected me) and the returning about a million items to three different stores and everything actually turned out great. There were no issues with the returns, everyone was nice, Starbucks was open, and Void and I actually had a really great day! But that was the only thing I could do that day because I simply had no spoons and too many forks.

So now it’s Friday. I am in pain and emotionally overloaded because of yesterday’s peopleing escapades and totally annoyed with myself. I didn’t track calories this week, I barely exercised, I didn’t keep up with the chores, and my entire week is already gone.

But this is okay. You can’t have a great day every day and sometimes you just need to rest. Even if it’s for an entire week. And actually, those returns have been piling up in my room for months waiting for stores to re-open and I’m actually very proud of myself for getting them all done and taken care of. My room has a lot more clear space now and it’s not constantly nagging at the back of my mind to get done. Plus I have like $900 back on my credit cards. So I suppose this week was somewhat productive after all.

Here’s hoping I can get back on track next week.

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