30 Minutes on Mondays: Getting Serious Self-Care With My Happy Planner During COVID-19 Lockdown

30 minutes on Mondays is when I get some serious self-care with my Happy Planner (HP). If you’re not familiar with HP, here’s the gist: a beautiful, customizable planner in which you use stickers (or not, but probably) to decorate your months and weeks and outline whatever you feel like outlining – work, home, projects, blogging, self-care, etc. 

Weekly Happy Planner spread, before the pen
“Before the pen” and also before the lockdown

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I have several happy planners: one straight from the company (Me and My Big Ideas, aka MAMBI) that I use for weekly planning, and then a few that I’ve created myself: recipes, groceries and meal planning, and a journal. Since I started, happy planning has been something that has brought me joy (and friendship! I’ve met some wonderful folks through sharing HP on Instagram!) but moving into week 2 of COVID-19 lockdown, this is what my planner spread looked like:

Weekly Happy Planner spread everything rescheduled
“After the pen” and also after the lockdown… all those stickers of positivity weren’t helping!

I showed my husband (I do this every week… like a kid bringing home art from school, lol) and immediately teared up. Of all the times to go into lockdown, March/April were when I/we had the most travel plans we’ve had in a long time: a girls trip to Mexico for me, a weekend up home where I’d get to see both of my parents (and go to the Troy Maple Festival), seeing Kinky Boots with my husband, a trip to WV to visit the Fiestaware Factory, and the annual gala for a domestic violence shelter that I love giving back to. 

PLEASE NOTE: I realize that these things are not the things many people were subjected to grieving. I realize my good fortune in that myself and my family haven’t gotten sick, and my privilege that I’m able to do any of these things to begin with, but that doesn’t change my emotional response to them, and that response is totally valid. 

I was also grieving that I’d taken something I usually enjoy and smattered my sad feelings all over it. I always leave my HP open to the current week but I wanted to close it because I was mad at myself for being “whiny” in my weekly planner. Silly in hindsight, but again, my emotional responses are valid. 

After a good smush-into-husbands-shoulder-and-sob-on-him sesh, he said, 

Tyler: Why don’t we come up with some things to put into your planner that are good?
Me: Like what? Everything really is cancelled… 
Tyler: Like things that might otherwise feel regular or mundane… you want to bake more, maybe put that in your planner? And we’re going to watch all of the Marvel movies in chronological order… maybe put those in your planner? Date nights and baking?
Me: *more crying*

Gosh he’s great. 

The following Monday I got out my planning supplies, jotted down a few things that I could turn into “happy events” and got to work. Thirty minutes later… 

30 minutes on Mondays and so glad I'm still using my happy planner during the COVID-19 lockdown
“After the pen” with a much happier vibe… so glad I am still using my Happy Planner during the COVID-19 lockdown

I felt so good.

Again, though – there is nothing wrong with feeling sad, grieving people and things you’re missing, being angry, frustrated, scared, worried… things that are traditionally “bad”, “not good”, or “negative”. These feelings are no less important and valid than “happy” emotions and deserve to be recognized.

Anywhooooo… I had come up with all sorts of ideas for things I wouldn’t normally add to my weekly plans but now could focus on… I could include our weekly meals, because why not? Oh and maybe every weekend I’ll have a new baking adventure – perfect use for the stand mixer stickers I got for my dear friend Maryann:

How freaking adorable are these?!

What had started down a path of “something else to give up during lockdown” quickly became “something to happily do during lockdown”. I’ve always loved my HP, but in the last six weeks (gah, how has it been six weeks already) I’ve really come to love my 30 (okay, sometimes 45….) minutes on Mondays in which I spend some time with myself, being creative, and making my week just a bit more joyful using my HP. 

Are you a planner? Do you Happy Plan, BuJo, Erin Condren, or CleverFox? Have you stuck with it or temporarily sat it aside during the COVID-19 lockdown? I’d love to know your thoughts on planning/planners, so leave ‘em in the comments so we can discuss!

This post contains Affiliate links and I may make a small amount of money if you decide to purchase from my links. Read my full disclosure and privacy policy here. -Deb 

Kicking Off Intentional Living

Good morning, friends!

I haven’t been awake that long; we managed to stay up well past the Duncannon Sled Drop and watch a few more episodes of Stargate: SG-1 (I’m obsessed, to say the least) before I tucked myself into Tyler’s shoulder and said “I’m going to fall asleep now” (it was 2 A.M.!).

Disclaimer: this post contains Affiliate links and I may make a small amount of money if you decide to purchase from my links. Read my full disclosure and privacy policy here.

This is the first year in at least my adult life (and definitely my late teenage years) that I’m not setting a weight-loss goal. I did write down some other goals, but none of them are S.M.A.R.T. goals (something I would never have done in the past, either… unmeasureable goals?! WAT) and I feel SO good about it. I might not even have written down goals for 2020, but I decided that in general I want to write more (for myself, being a content writer for a living means I write plenty) so I picked up the 52 Lists Project that my mom got my Christmas last year:

The 52 Lists Projects is a year of weekly journaling inspiration by Moorea Seal.

The first journal prompt? You guessed it: your goals for the year. You can actually start this journal at any time of year, as it’s broken down into seasons. I’m definitely a fan of starting in the New Year, but feel a little silly knowing I waited for no reason (*shrug*). I’ve decided that I’m not going to look ahead at the prompts; I’ll wait and see what each week brings with my Sunday-morning coffee.

Another one of my goals is to cultivate a gratitude-based existence; I have SO much to be grateful for everyday, but it is SO easy to get overwhelmed by the negative and neglect the positive. I ordered the Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal from Pretty Simple Books and started using it this morning. It has daily spaces for writing what you’re grateful for, and each week is accompanied by inspirational quotes (plus there is beautiful word art, and if you’re like me, you’ll probably end up coloring in this journal, too):

The Good Days Start with Gratitude Journal is filled with spaces to use daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Did you set any goals for 2020? What are they? I’d love to know and help encourage you! Leave a comment here or message me on IG to connect 🙂