Managing energy and expectations
- Do you struggle saying No?
- Are you constantly burnt-out at the end of the week?
- Do you get annoyed with yourself when your to-do list just keeps growing?
Managing your own expectations of yourself can be a good place to start addressing some of these problems. If you set the bar too high, you’ll never feel like you’ve achieved anything. Setting it too low will feel like you’re coasting, and it won’t sit right- because it’s not realistic.
Spoon theory is a great visual way of thinking about what’s realistic. At this point you might be thinking how can a spoon help?! Read on!
Say your energy quota is made up of 10 spoons (units of energy) on any given day and that’s all your allowed until you wake up the next day, lets look at how that might work out over the course of 1 day:
- Work- 5 spoons worth of energy
- Chores inc. cooking/ eating- 3 spoons
Only two activities have been listed and already your down to 2 spoons left- how are you going to use them?
-Will you give them up to support others even though you’re running on empty?
-Will you force more cleaning or chores knowing it will put you in deficit that you can’t claim back?
Or will you choose to have some self-care time, to use the spoons sparingly or have a rethink about how many spoons you need to devote to each task to free up some energy for yourself?
This is a really simple example, but it makes a powerful point. If one task takes up so much energy then it’s important to re-evaluate how much resource is actually needed and how best to use the energy that is left. Not every day will be a 10 spoons-kind of day; you may wake up ill one day and only have 1 or 2 spoons so only the basics are needed that day, other days you may feel on top of the world and have 15 spoons for the day ahead. The additional point here is to start listening to your body and about what it can give on any given day; check-in with yourself and think hard about what’s necessary and what can wait until you do have some additional energy.
Spoons may not work for you- some people prefer a phone battery analogy, a pie chart or make it fun using your favourite animals or characters. I like penguins so my consideration would be – how many penguins can I spare today?! It makes the exercise fun and accessible so please choose what suits you.
It’s likely in doing this exercise you’ll need to learn to start saying no and this is where boundaries come in- read more HERE.
Using these two strategies will allow for more realistic expectations of yourself to start to emerge and a better relationship with your body, mind and self-esteem will develop.
Assess your spoons (or penguins) today!