How Many Spoons Do You Have in Your Drawer?

If someone had asked me before I knew what it meant, I would look at them and ask why? However, today during one of my peer support training courses, I discovered this theory and was fascinated by how it was being used.

How many times can you recount having fatigue, or low energy after a day at work? Do you find yourself, making excuses for why you can’t do something, cancelling plans last-minute, or just not interested in anything outside of your work?

We don’t even realize or take the time to understand how we are feeling because we are always too busy. We always put our clients first rather than ourselves, because our inherent nature is to pause our own life in favour of giving everything we have to others we don’t even really know. For many of us, our energy levels and stamina don’t even come into question.

Sure, you might have the odd day where you don’t feel like cooking dinner or reading a storybook to your children, but what if you had to monitor your energy closely to try and make decisions, navigate a team or respond to those who need your attention? What if you worried that each hard choice could lead to someone thinking you were ‘just being lazy’? Or maybe even being crazy! This is where spoon theory comes in.

Spoon theory has been a popular metaphor for more than a decade among numerous communities. The theory uses spoons as a visual way to explain how much energy someone has throughout the day; we all start the day with the same number of spoons. Each action causes us to hand some spoons over in payment.

Most people can rest and recover, with a seemingly unlimited supply of spoons. However, others only have a set number to last them the whole day, and once your spoons are gone, they’re gone.

There are so many ways that we can acknowledge, support, validate and confirm someone’s mental health. The biggest problem our industry has is putting this into action. Companies big or small should be upskilling their employees on mental health just like they do with other training. The peer support course should be mandatory in Canada, as it sincerely requires you to be empathetic, listens and holds space for others.

Remember, the conversation is not about you all of the time, but about someone else’s feelings. It’s not what you say, it’s how it makes the other person feel.

Let’s start practicing what we are preaching, or start suggesting to our employers that they need to bring in training on mental health and well-being. My mother used to say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Mental health is costing more than the training available. Can we at least try and re-frame how we treat ourselves first and then help others with our success stories? It cost very little to try.

Author: Janice Cardinale has been named a Woman to Watch, a Top 100 Entrepreneur by Smart Meetings magazine and a powerful woman by Reiimagine in 2022. She is a heart-centric leader, visionary, mentor, and change maker. As an editor, facilitator, and speaker, she talks about mental health and is leading the newly formed EVENT MINDS matter, a community for event professionals, building brave spaces to amplify the industry’s conversation on mental health.  She is the board chair for Seneca College’s event management and creative design program and has opened up her own charity under the name of “Giving Butterflies.”  Janice is passionate about global trends, human connection, and the future of events and people