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Win As You Bring in the New Year: The Psychology of Planning

Tis’ the season for planners, vision boards, productivity apps, and goal setting as a new year dawns, but how do planning items and activities enhance our lives psychologically? Effective planning and organization can ease the impact of mental health diagnosis including seasonal depression and enhance a person’s daily experiences during the holiday season and beyond.

Seasonal affective disorder also referred to as seasonal depression, SAD, and winter blues (when referring to the colder months of the year), is characterized by a recurring depression marked by seasonal changes. Seasonal affective disorder impacts millions of people each year with symptoms that include low energy, decreased concentration, and increased sleep; consequently, planning and decision-making often decline. Considering the American Psychological Association’s 2021 findings wherein daily decisions were said to be stressful by “…40% of Gen Z adults, 46% of millennials, and 39% of Gen Xers vs. 24% of boomers, and 14% of older adults…” taking time to intentionally and effectively plan may be beneficial for a wide range of the American public to grapple with and prevent sadness and depression.

There is an abundance of products, resources, and tools that can help a person cope with SAD including effective planning and organization using a planner. Planners can reduce sadness and depression as their design often provides:

· Time management-by writing down tasks according to date and time

· Records of productivity-in listing duties to be completed and checking them off upon completion, one may feel more productive because their task completion is visible

· Infrastructure for prioritization of tasks-with intentional space limitations, planners can compel a user decide what is most important and what should be listed on their daily schedule

· A space for documenting creative thoughts-with blank pages and thought prompts, many planners leave room for users to write down their random and not so random thoughts on any given day of the calendar year

· Space for financial information or budgeting-by being able to track one’s finances in a quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily planning log financial awareness can be increased and incorporated into daily spending habits

On one level, planners can be aesthetically pleasing accessories to purchase at the height of the new year, but they can also be instrumental in determining or creating optimal mental health. So, as you begin to set goals for 2022, peruse the planner market and find the book or planning tool that best suits you. You can begin your planner search with the 2022 Fostering Wholeness planner which is available now in two sizes. Place an order soon to receive your planner before the new year.

Written By: Dr Shane Weaver


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