How I Deal with My Lack of Spoons

8:50 PM chronicmigraineellie 3 Comments

I've had some of the best weeks of my summer in the last 3 weeks. I finished an amazing internship, visited friends, made spontaneous plans, and even was a tourist in my own city with friends. I was surprised by the amount of energy I had, and decided to try and use it as much as I could. Yet, as spoonies with a limited amount of spoons, how do we know when to stop? I know that there's been days that I've totally overdone it and have paid the price the next day. Here's a couple of my tips to make sure that you're getting the most out of your activities but also taking care of your health.

1. Plan out your day ahead of time
If you know that certain activities tire you out, try and cut the amount of activities you do. For example, driving tires me out. Instead of trying to drive all around my city and do things all over, I planned a couple days of activities that were all centered around the same area, allowing me to go do fun things, but not totally sap all of my energy.

2.  It's okay to say no.
I know that when I'm with friends, I won't always voice how tired I'm feeling, fearing that I was going to ruin the day or the plans that we had set out. Here's a small bit of my wisdom- it's okay to say that you need to rest. Your friends/family/significant other will understand why you need to take a break. I know, it's easier said than done. It never feels good to have to cancel or cut plans short, but honestly, it's better to keep yourself healthy and take the time to recharge so that you CAN do more activities the next day. It's all about balance.

3. Contingency plans are life-savers.
So here's a real-life situation that I've had; I'm out with friends in Santa Monica, we're doing a beach day after going to a museum. I'd already been feeling exhausted due to the heat and all of the walking, and wasn't sure how much longer I would last. So, after spending some time at the beach and grabbing dinner, I opted to take an uber home and recharge while my friends enjoyed the walk from Santa Monica to Venice. Having multiple options, like public transportation or mapping out all of the what-ifs, allows you to actually enjoy yourself even if you're a bit worried about your energy or health. I know that when I'm out, I am always worried about getting a migraine and not being able to get home or even be functional. Making plans with multiple options allows me to go out and do fun things without having to worry about making split second decisions. I know that if I am with friends and I don't feel well or can't handle an environment, I have already planned a couple options of how to get home  or somewhere comfortable safely.

Furthermore, sharing your contingency plan with your family and friends makes it easier for them to react and help you when you get sick. I have trouble talking and making sentences when I get migraines, so trying to make plans is extremely frustrating and difficult. However, if I've gone through the plans with them before, they can easily help me do what I need to do, whether it's taking my meds or finding a taxi or uber to get home.

4. Be Prepared
I never go anywhere without my rescue meds. Ever. If I go to the gas station down the street, you know that I'm going to have my meds with me. You never know where or when you're going to get a migraine, so why not be prepared? My friends joke that I'm a grandma, because I also have 3 million things in my purse. Need a bandaid? Need lipstick? I've got 5 different shades. I also carry Aleve and tylenol with me at all times. As a reminder, never give anyone your prescription drugs because those are only for YOU. Furthermore, always have earplugs or noise cancelling headphones. ALWAYS. For years I couldn't see movies in theaters because they were too loud and I would trigger from them. Now, I always have earplugs, and it's allowed me to go to concerts, movies and any other activity that I want because I don't need to be worried about not being able to handle the sound. I never know when I'm going to be affected, so I over-prepare, and this has saved me so many times and allowed me to continue to have fun.

5. Have Fun!
Not having enough spoons sucks. Not being able to get out of bed is a terrible feeling. Try and do small things when you can, even if it's having a friend over to watch a movie, or going out to lunch. You are the only one who knows how many spoons you have and how activities affect you. Do things that make you happy, because even if it's a small activity, you can feel happy and feel like you have fun, even if you need to spend some time to recharge.

Find what works for you and stick with it. You are the only one who knows how your body is feeling. Even though it feels shameful and embarrassing, it's okay to say no. In fact, I know that when I say no, I usually end up feeling better and am able to reschedule and be fully present then. There's nothing fun about feeling like a zombie when you're at a museum!

What do you do to deal with your lack of spoons? Comment below and let me know what works for you!

As always, have an amazing, migraine-free week!


  1. I don't even think you need to be a "spoonie" to know this is great advice!
    Love your blog and can't wait till the next one!

    1. Thank you so much! Next one should be posted in about a week :)