Regaining Control of My Life with The Happy Planner

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by Leah Leilani |

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Most people with a chronic illness inevitably learn to expect the unexpected with their health. No matter how meticulously I attempt to plan around my body’s needs, mitochondrial myopathy sometimes has a different agenda. I lose control over my body and feel as though I must bend to the will of the disease. Flare-ups, new symptoms, and infections are often the reasons for postponed or abandoned plans.

I’d never imagined myself as the type of person who uses a planner. Those dull, beige pocketbook planners seemed like something only a businessperson would use. What would someone like me fill a planner with, anyway? Doctor appointments?

Little did I know that a planner would be quite helpful in my daily life.

The standard planner received an upgrade in recent years. Gone are the days of jotting down appointments and fleeting thoughts. These days, planners offer a plethora of customization to fit your needs and lifestyle, including tracking chronic pain, meal planning, and achieving fitness goals.

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Tracking goals. (Photo by Leah Leilani)

My planner journey began three years ago with a bullet journal — comprised of dot grid pages. I was drawn to the unrestricted layout that allows for creative freedom. My time with the bullet journal was fun, but I soon grew tired of drawing out my monthly and weekly schedules.

The Happiness Planner intrigued me because of its ease of use and its focus on — you guessed it — happiness. Its initial pages include various questionnaires to help focus my goals and aspirations. I enjoyed The Happiness Planner, but I longed for a way to tailor my plans even more.

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Staying on schedule. (Photo by Leah Leilani)

Then I found The Happy Planner. With its brilliant design that includes removable binder rings, everything is customizable, from the cover to the size and layout. The company makes themed stickerbooks and inserts to further assist in creating your own setup. You can even find amusing stickers on Etsy for when you’re out of spoons or need to refill your medication.

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Customizable control. (Photo by Leah Leilani)

I feel a renewed sense of control over my life since purchasing The Happy Planner. With the “Half Sheet Habit Tracker,” I can monitor my fibromyalgia flare-ups, including how often I treat them with cannabidiol oil. Now I can effortlessly report pain episodes to my doctor.

The Happy Planner has also improved my work productivity. I can easily view the following week and strategically plan for the days that I am more likely to have the energy to write. Documenting my achievements — for example, when I posted in the Muscular Dystrophy News Forum or saved money — gives me a sense of accomplishment.

More often than not, chronic illnesses can rob us of the feeling of freedom to live on our terms. I’m unable to prevent my disease from interrupting my schedule, but I’m thankful that I have found a way to work with my circumstances instead of against them.


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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