What is the Spoon Theory?

‘I can’t meet today, I’ve run out of spoons’ is not the answer you would normally hear when someone cancels plans with you but after learning about The Spoon Theory, maybe you’ll understand.

In a blog published by Christine Miserandino in 2003, she tries to explain to her friend what her life was like with a chronic condition. The blog was titled ‘The Spoon Theory’ and has become well known among chronic condition sufferers who now refer to themselves as ‘Spoonies’.

What is spoon theory | Flarin
Most people don’t think twice before hopping in the shower, drying their hair and heading off to work. But for people with chronic conditions like arthritis it isn’t that easy. Some days things may be easier, other days they may struggle to even get out of bed.

For someone suffering with a chronic condition like arthritis, they might start the day off with 10 spoons. Which may sound great! But…it’s a cold morning, and they didn’t get enough sleep last night – they’ve woken up stiff and in pain. That’s going to cost them a spoon just to get out of bed, another two to make it through a shower, and two more to get breakfast. That’s five spoons down before you’ve even left the house.

But what exactly is The Spoon Theory?

The Spoon Theory describes the idea of having limited energy through the day as having a certain amount of ‘spoons’ whereby each activity you do uses up a spoon until you have none left to perform other tasks. In the blog ,to try and get her friend to understand her condition, Miserandino took away a spoon from her friend for every single task: showering, getting dressed with painful joints, standing on a train and when the spoons were gone, it meant there was barely energy to do anything else.

So, how can The Spoon Theory help you?

Sometimes it is hard to quantify to others how difficult it is to live with a chronic condition. That your fatigue isn’t just being tired. This theory allows you to explain it in a way that everyone can understand.

It can help you explain to people the difference between what you WANT to do, and what you CAN do. You WANT to go to dinner with friends, but all you have the energy for today is a shower.

Christine Miserandino does not endorse Flarin.

Flarin 200mg soft capsules & Flarin Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200 mg Soft Capsules. Contain ibuprofen. Relief from rheumatic or muscular pain, joint pain, back pain. Flarin 200mg soft capsules is also indicated for the pain of non-serious arthritic conditions. Always read the label.

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  1. https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/features/spoon-theory