How to describe Chronic Illness using Spoon Theory

Spoon Theory? Have you ever heard of it?

I hadn’t until my 20 something daughter texts me to say she was going to take a nap so she can conserve her spoons.

My son and I both replied “spoons? lol”

Later she texts back to tell us to look up Spoon Theory. If you have a chronic illness, auto-immune illness, autism, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and MORE understanding the spoon theory can help others understand your illness and the effect it can have on your life that others take for granted. For instance, not able to make it through the day with the energy that you have, something people that don’t have a chronic illness rarely have a problem with. They have an abundance of energy and don’t think about conserving their energy to get things done throughout the day.

The person that came up with this theory has Lupus. Her friend wanted to know even though she had been to doctors appts. and drove her around for errands. She was shocked that her friend didn’t understand how she felt every day. They were at a restaurant and she just grabbed spoons and gave them to her. She said now let’s talk about your day. She started to take her spoons away after each activity. Her friend was disappointed. Her friend wanted to keep the spoons but she said NO! I didn’t have a choice with my health and now you don’t have a choice with your spoons!

If you want to read about it more you can read it here

Let’s say you have a thyroid condition with depression and anxiety (like me). You are given 12 spoons a day to spend on each activity that you do throughout your day.

You wake up and get out of bed could cost you 1 spoon.

Taking a shower: washing your body and hair, putting on lotion after the shower, AND getting dressed could cost you 2-3 spoons. I usually skip blow drying my hair and makeup. It will take away more spoons.

Now you are down to 10 spoons. Next is eating breakfast and taking your medicine.

That’s another 2 spoons.

My cat needs to be played with as well. And fed. I have to take him outside as well. He visits his (our) neighbors. I follow him around the back yards. I’m hoping everyone has their curtains closed and not see us so I don’t have to talk to them. That takes energy from me as well. Not that I don’t love talking to my neighbors, it’s just on certain days that I didn’t sleep well it’s tiring to stand there and talk. That could cost me 3 spoons!

Now I am down to 5 spoons and it’s not even noon yet! This is when you start planning your day out for the rest of the 5 spoons. Do I have a frozen meal for dinner that I can put in the oven before my hubby gets home from work? What about laundry? Folding and putting the laundry away. What other chores that I have to do or can I put off for the next day?

Now you are down to 8 spoons. Luckily for me, I work from my home office and I can sit and meditate and gain back some energy. In the article, her friend gets down to her last spoon. They discuss making dinner and crashing, or order take out which you don’t have the energy to drive to go get it? Her friend says to make soup and call it a day. She is then left with zero spoons. None. Zilch.

Some days may be better than other days. It also depends if you sleep well the night before. Some days if you want to clean the house you may have to “borrow” spoons from tomorrow. You may know that tomorrow you will be wiped out if you clean the house. Taking care of yourself, and your spoons are essential. Figuring out how much energy you have for a day can help you have a better and productive day. It can help you visually to know what tasks will take more energy. It can help you plan your day out. If you have a doctor’s appt that day, you know that you won’t have enough spoons to do laundry and cleaning that day. It may help reduce the anxiety in your life, or It could help you to tell your significant other that “hey, tomorrow is a really busy day, and I know I will not be up to making dinner, can you help me out?” It may reduce arguments as well if you can plan your day out in advance.

I am proud of my daughter!! She realizes that taking care of yourself is a priority if you want to have a good day. This exercise may help you with anxiety, frustration, anger, or any other feeling you or somebody in your life may have. It can help visually explain to others how you are feeling and why you don’t have energy throughout the day.

Do you think this could help you in your life? Would it bring the stress level down knowing you won’t have to do everything in a day? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear if it can help you.

A New Year, A New You?

I was just looking at my email and I noticed that the theme from the senders is 2020 sucks, and we need to get to 2021 so we can have a better life!

Yes, 2020 has been hard! People have lost jobs, can’t afford their bills & groceries, and some have even lost loved ones. It’s not fair! It sucks! I agree but if we stay in this mindset we will not have a fantastic 2021!

Look, my hubby couldn’t get another job during the first recession after the company that he was working for went public and sold their company. We went 9 months before he finally another job in a different state. We had to ask his parents for money so we could move our household.

After being in the new state he got laid off again! Luckily I was working then.

I quickly learned that being positive can have an impact on your life. You can still think positive thoughts, raise your vibration, and change your mindset to think and see the positive in your life.

One thing this year you can do is to is not make New Year’s resolutions that you know that can’t be fulfilled. To start any goal is to change your mindset. Write down what it is that you want to change. Write down your WHY. If you write down your WHY and explore it, you will have a better experience and will be able to achieve your goal.

Write down your specific goal. Writing out I want to lose weight is not a specific goal. How much weight do you want to lose? How will you lose it? How much exercise will you be able to do each day or the week?

After my brain surgery, I wanted to start to work out again. My first goal was to gain muscle strength that I had lost. I also needed to get my strength up to last half a day. It would have been unrealistic of me to say I wanted to stay awake all day long. I knew I needed my nap in the middle of the day.  I was lucky that I found someone that I still follow to this day that was offering Pilates workouts free for 5 days. I tried to do a little of her exercises each day. Some of the moves hurt my head and I knew I couldn’t do those exercises.

At least 2 times a week I tried to walk around the block. I started by just going down the street and coming back home until I could go further and further each week. Before I knew it I was walking out of our neighborhood and down the street. At first, it was really slow. I had to stop a lot and stretch my back but I finally made my goal a couple of months after my surgery.

Being realistic in my goals was the key to success. I did the same with my meditation and positive affirmation practice. I wrote out my schedule for the morning. I wrote down when would be a good time to sit and meditate and read my positive affirmations. . I included how long I would spend online when I would have my green juice & smoothie, my coffee (decaf), and exercise. I gave myself 15 mins. a day for exercise in the beginning, just to get my body moving.  I also scheduled my laundry day so my husband could bring the clothes downstairs to the garage where the laundry room is. I had to be careful of falling down the stairs so I had to ask my husband for help. . (We have since bought a ranch-style home so I don’t have to worry about stairs anymore.) In the afternoon it was more of things like bills, cleaning the kitchen and preparing & cooking dinner.

Finally have a positive mindset. See yourself achieving your goals. If you want to lose weight, see yourself stronger & at your goal weight. If you want to get that dream job, see yourself at the place you want to work nailing that interview! Add feeling behind your visions. Without happy, positive feelings it will not work. You need to have confidence that you will achieve your goals.

I like Napoleon Hill’s quote, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve.”

I will be on vacation for a bit….

Hi All,

At a time of vaccinations are increasing we are actually going to go see our son!! We haven’t seen him for 2 years!

This Past Mother’s Day which in the USA was on May 9, 2021, I was not depressed because I haven’t been able to travel to see either one of my kids. My birthday is May 13 and I always fly to NYC to spend it with my daughter for about 4 days. Now she is married and I don’t know if we will continue the tradition.

But this year my hubby suggested flying to see our son in Colorado! We want to get away from the heat and humidity that we have here in South Florida. It will be wonderful to have cold weather (!) and to be able to wear sweaters! We can’t wait!! I will post pictures when I get back.

Also at the top of my blog on the main page is the link for my newsletter. Scroll down to the bottom and sign up. I have been getting a lot of comments asking about my newsletter. I will be talking more in-depth in the newsletters about the subjects of my blogging here.

I will be back online on May 20, 2021. Hope everyone has a terrific week and THANK YOU so much for reading and commenting on my blog!!! I so appreciate it!! You all are fantastic!!

What To Do When You Are Feeling Stuck?

I am meditating with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfree this week. It’s a free meditation for the week. He has good insights into why we get stuck, or stagnant, in life? How do we help ourselves? One of the reasons why I wanted to be a life coach, and a mindfulness coach was to teach people to stay in the present moment. Being mindful has helped me with my anxiety, depression, and the feeling of “yuckiness”. You know when you feel like you are not good enough, you can’t say or do anything well enough. You just feel like you are stuck in the yuckiness of the feelings from the past.

“I am never stuck when I am in the PRESENT moment” was yesterday’s meditation.

Do you find you are always thinking about the past? Do you critique yourself for what you went thru? What someone had said? I know I had. I still trip up and find myself thinking about the past, but I know how to stop myself and bring myself into the Present moment.

How do you move past that?

-Become aware of your thoughts.
What are you thinking about? Are you being negative about yourself or the situation? Can you change your thinking to be more positive?

-Start to train your mind to think positively. It’s one of the reasons why I like positive affirmations so much. If you can find a few affirmations that you like, and it makes you feel good, say them when you find yourself thinking negative thoughts.

-Envision you’re at a train station and the train is coming but it’s not the train you want. Do you get on it anyway? Of course not.

Now think about that same train that is a negative thought. Let the train go by without jumping onto it. Let go of your thoughts, breathe, say your positive affirmation(s), and let the thought go. Just like letting the train go by. You’re letting the negative thought go by. Send Peace into your heart. Then send love into your heart. Breathe and focus on the good feelings you get when you practice sending Peace and Love into your heart.

Once you get used to the practice it gets easier. You have been thinking negative thoughts for so long that you have to practice thinking positive thoughts now. You are replacing one thought (negative) with another (positive).  

Once I started to practice this method I started noticing more things going on around me. I noticed I was not anxious as much. I noticed how beautiful the trees were. I started to notice people being nicer to me. Not that I wasn’t being nice, I was just in my head with my anxiety and negative thoughts.

You will notice that you are thinking positively about the future. You aren’t looking back as much. You may start to notice that you’re more creative. You may notice you are not so mad or angry as well. You may not react fast when someone cuts you off on the freeway.

The last thing I want to tell you is that you are doing a great job in life! It doesn’t matter what you had done in the past. If you are here and you are reading this then you are ready to make Peace with your past.

You are a terrific person! You are trying so hard. Sometimes you need help, and that is ok! Ask for help. Forgive yourself! Let Love and Peace into your heart.

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where I go into more depth about the topics I write about on my blog. If you need help with mindfulness ask me for help. I can work with you to bring Peace into your life.  

Email me at michelleedwardslifecoach@gmail.com

No More Drama!! Self-Discipline

Yesterday I went to get blood drawn for a procedure I have next Tuesday.  I was a walk-in. With COVID the times for appointments are all taken quickly. I had a call from the cardiology saying I had to get the blood drawn that day. I laughed thinking “yea right”. Of course, all of the appointments were taken. The soonest was March 17. Way past my procedure.

So I picked the smallest place that had wait time minimal for walk-ins. I was lucky to have them accept me. As I was waiting I saw on the screen that I had a 12-minute wait. Not too bad. I went back to scrolling Instagram. People came in and out. They had appts so they got called. No big deal, right?! Well, apparently it was for this gal. She jumps up and starts asking how many appts do they schedule for every 15 minutes, her time expired and now it’s back to 12 minutes again. So I looked up and noticed mine was back to 10 minutes. She is ranting and raving. She’ll just make an appt. she says, no big deal. BUT apparently, it was a BIG DEAL if she was shouting in front of us all. By the time she is done, she is shaking. She walks out by saying “thanks for NOT caring”. It was explained to her during her rant that she is a walk-in and appts get priority.

The funny thing is not even 5 minutes later I was called to the back to get my blood drawn!! I almost LOL!! I told the person “thank you so much for taking me! I know I don’t have an appt.” I was nice and cordial to her. AND in return, she was nice and cordial to me as well. As I was leaving I made sure to say Thank You to the people manning the front. They didn’t deserve the woman yelling at them.

The problem with this scenario is this:

Was she really angry because she saw her time reset and she has to sit there for whoever knows how long? She said she would make an appt, it was no big deal!

OR was she angry about something else instead? And decided to yell at the people who were working the front.

Of course we will never know. I am just glad that she left because then I was called!

The words “thanks for not caring” are significant I believe. Is she getting blood drawn to see if she has an illness? I don’t believe it could have been routine. It might have been but by her behavior, I don’t think it was.

Drama! Anger, sadness, happiness. It’s what the person that is going thru the emotions is perceiving at the time. Did something set you off that you’re angry? Do you know why you are angry or sad? Is there a story behind it? Do you even know?!

When I was working at the Library in Maryland I had a person come into re-new a book. He seemed angry. As I was working full time I knew most of the people. The way he acted I knew he wasn’t angry with me but he kept “fighting” with me. I knew it was nothing to do with the situation. So I finally said gently “you seem angry has something happened?” OOH boy was that the right question to ask! Yes in fact right before coming into the library a cop had stopped him and ticketed him.  He realized how he was acting towards me and apologized. I told him there was no need to apologize. He then thanked me for listening to him.

That’s all he wanted. Is for someone to listen to him about his story and what happened to him. He acknowledged he was speeding and deserved the ticket. But that was an afterthought.

Growing up most of us are told don’t be angry, don’t be sad, don’t cry it’s not worth crying over. We keep getting these negative messages for our own feelings. So as an adult we hold in our anger or sadness. We internalize our feelings. But is that healthy?

Drama and self-discipline go hand in hand. Think before you act.

When you get angry about something that just hits so fast. Ask yourself why are you angry? What triggered the anger, or sadness? Sometimes it could have been somebody cutting you off on the freeway, or a co-worker innocently said something that triggered the anger. Are you really angry at that person, or is there something hidden deep inside you that made you angry?

It could have been a smell that brought you back to a memory that you don’t like. It could have been a word the co-worker said that your parent used while you were growing up.

Sometimes we need to think first before jumping up and yelling at someone. Ask yourself is it worth the anger, the embarrassment to yell at the innocent staff who are doing their job?

What is it that brings discomfort to you that leads you down memory lane?

I hate people yelling. I grew up with alcoholic parents that would scream and yell all night long. I would hide under my covers until I fell asleep. I am uncomfortable when anger becomes an issue. But I also know that it’s because of my upbringing. I get anxious as well. I am always telling myself that I am safe when I start to get anxious in a situation. I have to look around and tell myself I am safe!

What feelings are you bringing up that are triggers for you while growing up, or in another situation that happened to you that brought out unpleasant feelings?

Should we tamp down our feelings?

Yes, and no. Tamping down the feelings to figure out why you want to explode is good. Tamping them down to resist the feeling is wrong. We are given feelings for a reason. We are human. We should not have to apologize for our feelings unless we hurt someone. But we should be aware of our feelings. We shouldn’t go down the freeway getting mad at someone and then try to cut them off because they cut in front of us. If we are aware of our feelings then we can acknowledge that person made me angry for cutting me off. I always send LOVE their way. I try not to get angry-here in S Florida we get cut off daily so I would be perpetually angry all day long!

So to wrap up let’s remember to:

Become aware of the situation and your feelings.

Is  there a memory, or a situation, that made you so angry, or sad, that you have to lash out?

Don’t tamp down your feelings. Become aware of them, and let them go. Say I am aware I am very angry because it reminds me that nobody cares about me. Then say a prayer, visualize it and send it to the light of the Angels, and let it go.

Send a loving feeling to the person that you feel that has wronged you.

And of course, journal, meditate, and TAP on your situation!!!

Practice loving kindness to yourself and others. Make it a good day for yourself and others.

Let me know in the comments what you do when you get angry or sad. In what ways are you dealing with it?

Thoughtful Quote

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – Neale Donald Walsch

Once you stop being fearful of moving forward you learn to grow. You will want to take that new job, or do a new hobby. Don’t let fear keep you stuck in life.