Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
I love a list. I love to organise. And as an advocate of the saying ‘tidy house, tidy mind’, I love the idea of any tool that can help improve my wellbeing by encouraging me to get my life in order.
The Positive Planner is a traditional journal meets DIY Therapist. For me, writing things down encourages action; I am motivated by putting pen to paper and creating a plan. I’m the kind of person who’ll add something I’ve already done to a to-do list, just so I get the satisfaction of crossing it out.
The Planner’s everyday organisational ‘extras’ are what initially drew me in. Meal planners, shopping lists, monthly diary and my top three to-dos today, are very me. However, not only is the planner designed to be a one-stop-shop for organising yourself, most importantly, it offers sections dedicated to improving your mental health. There’s space to scribble down your daily reflections, a weekly mood tracker and mindfulness activities.
The Positive Planner is a 12-week journal dedicated to self-care, the practice of gratitude and encouragement of daily positivity. These key elements of the planner are actually the ones I hadn’t previously thought too much about. However, as a busy, working, mum of two, I know doing things for me comes way down the list. Add to that the pressures of the recent Pandemic and the new normal we’re having to adapt to, lockdown life and it’s aftermath is a lot to get your head around. As if on cue, I was introduced to The Positive Planner and on reading that it ‘helps you to cope with life’s challenges and offers support through tough times’, I decided now was as good a time as any, to give this daily companion a whirl.
The journal sees you completing a new page every day. From the start I could see coming up with a daily ‘mantra’ and ‘note to self’ being somewhat of a challenge. I had read that the planner isn’t meant to be another thing on your to-do list and the advice to stick to the parts that feel right for you and help you the most, was definitely useful. Not completing each page in full was at first a little difficult. Neat Freak. Control Freak. I didn’t think half-completed pages would sit well with me. However, I soon discovered focusing on just a few sections rather than them all, was providing useful. ‘Today’s Self-Care Moment’ helped me schedule in the little things that otherwise would have been left overlooked. In just a week, I’d shaved my legs, read four chapters of my book and made myself three breakfast worth’s of Overnight Oats. Hoorah for small wins!
Breaking my usually huge to do list down into a daily ‘My Top Three To Dos’ immediately made my goals more achievable. ‘Today’s Positive Intentions’ encouraged me in just one one day, to research a healthy vegetarian dish we could try for tea, pick up the phone and call a friend I hadn’t spoken to for a while and clear out my bra drawer and donate the resulting unwanted underwear to the Smalls for All charity.
Finding the time and energy at the end of the day (when the kids have successfully completed their own checklist of things they need to do before settling down for the night) to ‘sum up today’ doesn’t happen often. Defining ‘my general mood’ is also difficult. I may be a Writer by trade, but coming up with much more than ‘good’, ‘okay’ or occasionally ‘empowered’, feels like too much effort. I do try hard with my daily ‘Three Things I Did Well’ and ‘Gratitude Moment’ as they highlight I’m achieving more than I previously believed; it’s kind of like giving myself a pat on the back. And I like it. Full marks to The Positive Planner on enhancing positivity. The journal’s bright yellow cover is uplifting in itself. I think I’d have to agree with the premise that it helps you find the good in every day.
Alongside the daily activities, the planner features a number of activities. As much as it has been created to help you realise you deserve self nourishment and care, for me, the cooking and cleaning still take precedent over taking the time to sit down and think about how I present myself to others or stand at a window and imagine my worries floating away inside a balloon. However, having said that, I did enjoy filling a page with things I love and the illustrations were perfect for a spot of mindful colouring in when my daughters got out their pencils.
Ali and Finn are the duo behind The Positive Planner. Their aim is to empower as many people as possible to make their mental health a priority. And they’re doing this by creating exciting, inspirational and informative planners, designed to support this journey. They say, “We both know from our personal experiences how lonely and scary it can feel during periods of low mental health. It can feel impossible to help yourself and hard to find the words to ask for support. This is why we created our original product The Positive Planner.”
What’s more, the creators have a continuing commitment to the environment. All the packaging is biodegradable and sourced in the UK and they use uncoated FSC paper, supporting responsible forest management.
The company is also an accredited ‘Living Wage’ employer, committed to paying the real living wage to every staff member.
At £24 (currently reduced to £20), The Positive Planner is a sound, even life-affirming investment. My only concern is it’s a 12-week investment. If you find this format works for you, you’ll need to reinvest four times to cover just one year. I’d suggest an initial purchase and see where it takes you.
The Positive Planner makes a perfect gift for anyone who needs a little nudge to see more positivity in their life. As a stationery lover, I’d have been more than happy to be gifted with this unique book. It’s also perfect for anyone who likes to be organised (as well as those who need a little help in this department) and also gives focus to those wanting to improve their general wellbeing. It’s a super thoughtful present for someone you care about. And that includes yourself.
RRP: £24.00 (currently £20.00)
This product is available to buy from The Positive Planners website here.