Using and Losing Energy

Using and Losing Energy

I’m tired. I’m looking at all the stuff that needs doing, and I’m thinking I just don’t have the energy for this right now. Which would be fine if is was just a day or two, but it’s been weeks!

A hundred years ago I used to play an arcade game with my then boyfriend and his best friend. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was kind of a Dungeons and Dragons style game, and I always used to pick the wizard.

When the wizard ran out of energy and I needed to put more coins in the machine, it would say, “Wizard needs food badly,” and if you didn’t put money in, the wizard would keel over and die.

And I’d end up bored and restless wandering about the arcade for ever while I waited for them to finish the game.

And even though that boyfriend is history, when I’m feeling tired and run down I’ll still say, “Wizard needs food badly,” and DB (who has no idea of the history) will look at me like I’m nuts.

He’s probably right.

Though he might also ask if I’m due my hamster juice. (Which is what we call the performance enhancing drug that substitutes for my kidneys to trigger the production of red blood cells).

And I probably am.

The Spoon Theory of Energy

I recently became aware of Christine Miserandino’s spoon theory.

She was trying to explain to a friend what it felt like to have Lupus, and in a burst of inspiration, gathered up a bunch of spoons and handed them to her friend, explaining this is the amount of energy you have to spend for a day.

There were 12 spoons, and as they talked through the friend’s typical day, Christine took the spoons away.

Just getting out of bed cost the first spoon, showering another, and getting dressed a third. Before she’d got to work she’d lost another three. And by the end of the day, she was left with one spoon, and having soup for dinner (at 7pm) cost her that.

Then Christine gave her one back, because you always need a reserve.

It’s a nice theory, and I like it a lot, but, for me, it doesn’t really account for the ebb and flow of my life.

There’s a lot wrong with me, but I don’t have Lupus, so I can’t say whether it accounts for that.

The Energy Penny Theory

Becca Syme developed her thoery of energy pennies before she’d heard of spoon theory.

In Becca’s theory, you’re not working with a set amount of energy each day, you’re earning and spending energy pennies as you go.

You get pennies when you sleep and eat, and spend them as you do things. Some activities, like reading or exercising, both cost and accrue pennies depending how intensive the activity is.

Mind you, depending on what you’re eating and how well you’re sleeping, you might accrue more or less energy pennies too.

In part, this is related to her plate theory.

When you say you have a lot on your plate, do you ever ask how big the plate is?

Is it a dinner plate, a bread plate, or something in between.

When your energy pennies are low, you have to downsize your plate too.

The Body Battery

My activity tracker now helps me track my energy use with its “body battery.” It allegedly, “makes the combined influences of physical activity, stress, rest and the restorative power of sleep visible.”

I’m checking it every day (obviously). And while it’s not always useful, it’s given me some interesting data about how well I sleep when I eat big, late or salty meals (not well). And how much better I sleep (and accrue energy) when the reverse.

It’s not quite so useful when it comes to “resting” because just like Piorot, my “little grey cells” can use a lot more energy than my body.

And funnily enough, my battery is often low.

How Does All This Energy BS Help?

No one could deny I’ve had a rough couple of months, what with the mastectomy and all.

And I’m tired.

And I was low on hamster juice.

But taking my hamster juice injections also costs me energy for a week or so because my body needs it to produce the red blood cells that I need.

And while I can achieve a lot when I am seemingly exhausted, I still need to rest.

Hard as it is to remember, I am only mortal.

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

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