Have you heard sick people talking about 'spoons' and wonder what they were referring to? The term 'spoons'  was coined by Christine Miserandino in 2003 in her concept The Spoon Theory, during which she uses spoons to explain the fatigue caused by her illness. She used twelve spoons as a visual aid for units of energy and asked her friend to describe a typical day, during which she took a spoon away for every activity that used up a unit of energy. She explained that she has to look after her spoons to avoid running out by the end of the day and that while it is possible to exceed your limit and borrow spoons from tomorrow, that it will mean that tomorrow might be a real struggle if you can't start off with the usual 12 spoons.

Many people with serious illnesses do not get good quality rest and sleep so are often unable to replenish their spoons, desitre desperately needing to as exhaustion sets in.

The premise is that people with disabilities, serious illnesses and cancer fatigue must carefully plan their daily activities to conserve their spoons, while most healthy people without an illness or disability don't have to worry about running out and don't feel the impact of spending spoons for day-to-day necessities such as washing, getting dressed, doing some housework  that they don't realise the amount of energy expended by chronically ill or disabled people just to get through the day.

To read her full explanation of The Spoon Theory, please click here.

Spoon Theory