It’s been a month since we talked about the struggles we might face in trying to write while dealing with a pandemic. So I figure it’s time for a check in to see how everyone is doing. *smile*
Even if we think we’re handling everything just fine, the world has forced us to make adjustments. So now might also be a time when we all can relate to “spoon theory.” Let’s take a look…
You Know the World Is Stressed When…
Yesterday, I came across a video from the kids TV show Sesame Street, home of the ever cheerful Elmo muppet, that underlined just how much we are all stressed right now. Sesame Street created a PSA for parents, starring Elmo’s dad, that reminds us that however we’re dealing with current events, we’re doing great.
Really, we are! These are unprecedented times, and the usual “rules” we judge ourselves by need to be thrown out the window.
How We Handle Stress Is Up to Us
When I say that how we handle stress is up to us, I don’t mean to imply there’s a guilt trip involved. There’s not “one right way” to handle stress, where if we’re doing it “wrong,” we have only ourselves to blame.
Nope, that’s not it at all.
Is coronanxiety making us all have to count our “spoons”? Click To TweetInstead, however we deal with this stress or survive this craziness is the right choice for us. Are we spending all our time bingeing TV? Scrolling social media? Or whatever?
Or are we burying ourselves in our work? Focusing all our attention on our family? Or whatever?
Okay, that’s obviously what we need to do to maintain our sanity and/or energy right now. There’s no wrong answer. Whatever we choose to do to get by is up to us, so we shouldn’t feel bad about our choices.
Coronavirus and Spoon Theory
Those of us who suffer from chronic health issues might be familiar with the spoon theory by Christine Miserandino. The spoon theory is the idea that people with chronic health issues don’t have unlimited energy during a day to do normal tasks.
If spoons = physical/mental/emotional energy, some people have a far more limited number of spoons each day than others. So they can’t do everything they want to do—even if they don’t “look” sick.
The other side of the story is that “spoonies” need to plan ahead and think about what they have the spoons for before embarking on an activity. They might have the energy to make dinner or take a shower, but not both.
Much of their life is spent thinking about all the mini-steps that go into a task so they can measure whether they have enough spoons to complete the job. Coronavirus and the anxiety it causes might be affecting us all in a similar way. The simplest tasks are harder and more complicated now.
We’re All Juggling Spoons Now
If we haven’t heard of spoon theory before, now might be a good time to learn the concept. Not only are we all more stressed, but we’re all having to think more about how to accomplish normal tasks.
A trip to the grocery store is no longer just a simple stop on our way home from work. Now we might have to:
- plan meals we can make, even if we’ve never cooked before
- create a list so we’re minimizing the number of times we have to go to the store
- compare notes with neighbors for which stores near us have the items we need and which are sold out
- double check the store’s hours (as many have cut back their hours) and think about visiting during their less busy times
- arrange childcare for all the kids at home who shouldn’t (or aren’t allowed to) come with us
- check in with elderly/vulnerable neighbors, to see if they need us to pick up anything for them
- bring wipes for the cart and a mask to wear
- pay attention to others in the aisles to maintain distance
- make sure we’re not touching our faces or shelves/counters or anything unnecessarily
- wash our hands (and wipe down doorknobs, etc.) when we get home
- and so on…
In other words, just as “spoonies” find everyday activities more difficult than others do, even “simple” things take more effort for all of us now. It’s no wonder if we all start relating more to the spoon theory of how much we can accomplish each day.
So much has changed in just the last month and a half that we might have been too overwhelmed to consider it before, but take a minute and think about how all of the world’s chaos has affected our day-to-day lives. Now is a good time to remind ourselves why we might be struggling—and then give ourselves a break. *smile*
Even Introverts Are Struggling
I’m an introvert, through and through. In the Myers-Briggs test, I typically score between 75-85% on the introvert scale.
But like many other introverts, I’ve discovered that being required to limit interaction is a different matter from choosing to limit interaction. You know the situation is bad when even introverts are complaining on social media, “Enough!” *grin*
I miss going to restaurants and the movies. I miss seeing others. I miss having the choice.
I can’t imagine how extroverts are struggling right now. If it weren’t for my awesome readers here, with their great ideas for blog posts, I don’t think I’d be able to write at all.
How Have I Been Dealing with the Stress?
Anyone who doesn’t look too closely might think I’ve been doing well during this stressful time. After all, I’ve still managed to crank out my usual two blog posts a week. Many posts in the past month have even been extra long and detailed, going into various grammar and writing craft issues:
- formatting dialogue (part one and two)
- when to italicize character internalization
- what verb tense to use in our story
- what verb tense to use for earlier events in our story
- how to find and fix passive voice
But for those who look closer, the last three posts revealed a bit more about how I’ve been doing. If you’ve read those posts, you might have noticed a theme in many of my sentence examples:
- “I need some chocolate to get me through this day. Stat.”
- She had eaten all the snacks in the house already.
- She had been struggling with a constant sense of hunger ever since the pandemic increased her stress level.
- In a fit of pandemic anxiety, she ate all the snacks in the cupboard.
- She was always snacking in the afternoon.
Nah. Just coincidence, right? *cough* Or not… *grin*
So tell me, how have you been doing? Have you been struggling, and if so, in what way? Have you had any successes, and if so, do you want to share them here? Do you think the spoon theory applies to many more people in a broad way now? Do you have any insights to share?Pin It