If you live with one or more chronic illnesses, you’re probably familiar with the spoon theory already. If not, a quick introduction: in short, a person who’s chronically ill—be that physically or mentally—has a certain, limited number of “spoons” to accomplish tasks throughout a day. Getting out of bed may take one spoon, showering another. They must be careful with how they allocate their spoons, lest they run out with necessary to-dos still needing to be completed.

Naturally, this takes a mental toll, not to mention the added stresses of doctors’ appointments, symptom management, and generally dealing with chronic illness. To complicate things further, taking care of your mental health takes spoons too. Thankfully, there are some low-spoon self-care methods that can help you feel a bit better without too much added effort.

Focus On What Brings You Joy

When life gets to be too much, it can help to pay a little extra attention to the good moments. Your list of positive things will vary from someone else’s and your methods can, too. Some people might find that keeping a gratitude journal gives them the bit of optimism that they need, while others will look to the most inspirational parts of their life, like children or other family members, to help them to keep moving forward.

Give Yourself a Small Win

If larger tasks seem too overwhelming, something simple can give you the feeling of accomplishment you’re looking for. One easy way to do this is to keep a plant alive—it even has mental health benefits. A plant like an aralia fabian can be a great choice because it’s relatively low-maintenance. If you miss watering it because you haven’t got the spoons, it’s hardy enough to survive (just like you!). And, because companies like Lively Root will ship plants to you directly, you don’t even need to go to the store to get it.

Find Your Support

If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family who are understanding of your struggles, talking to them about what you’re going through can be a great source of relief. Communicate your limits and be open to letting them help you when they can. If you don’t have a real-life support system, then online groups can help you gain a similar sense of community. Consider joining Facebook groups or other platforms targeted at those living with chronic illness to find people who can relate to you on days with even the lowest of spoons.


CBD, or cannabidiol, products have shown promising signs of relieving both physical pain and mental distress. Using a product like CBD hemp flower won’t use a lot of spoons and the results can speak for themselves. If you’re new to CBD products, be sure to do some research in advance to find the style that’s best for you, and to purchase from a dependable brand such as Plain Jane to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product.

Take Care of Your Physical Space

This point is two-fold: it’s critical to take care of both your environment—your home, office, or another place in which you spend a lot of time—and your body. Decluttering or tidying your space can help your mental health and improve your productivity, among other benefits. Taking care of your body by eating well and staying active when possible will help you manage your symptoms and feel better in the process. But this doesn’t mean you need to go on a cleaning spree, start a diet, and join a gym. Start small by getting rid of some clothes you don’t wear, eating some extra veggies at dinner, or walking around the block when you have the spoons to spare.

If you’re low on spoons, you need some self-care more than anybody. Taking care of your mental health doesn’t need to be another insurmountable task—with a few simple tools and methods, you might even find yourself with some extra spoons as a result.