Welcome to Refinery29’s Feel Good Diaries, where we chronicle the physical and mental wellness routines of women today, their costs, and whether or not these self-care rituals actually make you feel good.
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Today: A young woman who lost her job due to COVID-19 finds balance in daily exercise, beach visits, and pink hair dye.
Location: Hazlet, NJ
Occupation: Finance professional (currently unemployed due to COVID-19)
Salary: $450/week on unemployment
$60 a year for Headspace, a meditation app
$39.99 a year for Verv, a holistic fitness app
10 a.m — I had a long, long weekend, sleeping maybe a combined four hours on Friday and Saturday night. My body was desperate for rest, so I took a melatonin on Sunday night and slept way in this Monday. I usually can only sleep until 8 a.m., so the two extra hours have me feeling full-functioning, rejuvenated, and ready to start the week.
12 p.m. — HIIT workout time. In the beginning of COVID-19, I purchased an app called Verv ($39.99 for a one year subscription) that helps with a whole range of wellness activities: nutrition, meditation, yoga, cardio, sleep, etc. I start day 18 of my 21 Day Fitness Challenge, which includes a circuit of interval workouts. I’m sweating up a storm, but I feel amazing and strong afterwards.
2 p.m. — I have been trying to get to the beach as much as I can this summer — it makes me feel reborn. The salt water is so good for my skin and hair, I need the vitamin D from the sun, and the sweat that you get out — all of it feels so great. I go right after my workout. It feels hella refreshing to dive into the sea covered in sweat from working hard!
Daily Total: $0
9 a.m. — This morning is a bit rainy, so I thought it’d a good idea to do some yoga. This gets the blood flowing and my mind in a peaceful place to allow for a productive day ahead. I do a quick, 15-min vinyasa flow with a mat in my living room. Burning a candle always helps to add atmosphere!
11:30 a.m. — I wait a while to eat this morning. I know I want to take a long walk after breakfast, so I decide to make a big ol’ omelette! I put in white onion, red peppers, broccoli, avocado, and Daiya vegan cheese. I usually spend around $100 per week on groceries. I add a bunch of sriracha on top of the omelette and boy, does it fill me up.
3 p.m. — I start to feel a bit antsy after I finish both my online class and work out for the day, so instead of watching TV I pick up my guitar and start to learn a new song. I’ve always wanted to play a cover of Gwen Stefani’s “Cool” so I get to learning it. I have a free app called Ultimate Tabs where I read guitar tabs to teach myself. Guitar always keeps me grounded.
Daily Total: $0
8 a.m. — I get up early this morning and go for an hour-long walk while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Why Won’t You Date Me with Nicole Byer. It’s ominous out, on the brink of raining the entire time. I like to get my exercise in early, as it goes in line with my philosophy on wellness: Do at least one thing a day to better yourself. And if you do it in the morning, it helps set the precedent for the rest of the day.
1 p.m. — I want to make a big soba noodle salad that I can pick at whenever I get hungry. I put in seitan, cabbage, peppers, green onions, and the most delicious spicy peanut sauce on top. *Chef’s kiss*. This is one of the best meals I’ve made in a while.
4:30 p.m. — I decide it’s time to clean the whole house. Sometimes a good cleaning can be extremely therapeutic. I put on some ‘80’s dance tunes, the likes of Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Deee-Lite, and scrub the house down until it sparkles in every room. It helps that we recently got the Dyson V8 Motörhead vacuum (it cost $250 with a coupon) and a Swiffer that smells like fresh rain. Needless to say, I feel amazing after it’s all done.
Daily Total: $0
10:30 a.m. — I do a quick 10-minute, light yoga series on Verv just to get my brain in the right place. Sometimes when I wake up, I assess every little thing I need to do that day and put a lot of pressure on myself. Stopping for a few minutes to focus on my body and breathing helps put things into perspective.
12 p.m. — Sometimes when someone asks me to catch up, especially via FaceTime as has been the case during the COVID-19 crisis, it can feel like a burden. But I actually take some time to catch up with an old friend whom I had lost touch with, and it felt like a warm blanket.
7 p.m. — My housemates and I head to Michael’s Art Store to get some crafts to work on. We ended up buying a glass, an ashtray, and a candle holder so that we could all have something to work on and paint for our house ($15). We put on some Erykah Badu and just got crafty for the night!
Daily Total: $15
8:15 a.m. — I pay an annual fee of $60 for the Headspace app. They offer lots of different guided meditations, and while I tend to do the night time ones, I decide to start my morning with a meditation on gratitude. It’s easy to wake up and immediately check all of your social media apps, scrolling away, but I’ve found that it’s much better to slow down and start the morning by collecting my thoughts and focusing on my breath.
10:15 a.m. — After I meditate, I feel like I really want to get my blood pumping and work up a sweat, so I go for a 30-minute run. I throw on my favorite playlist, my best nylon running shorts, and sports bra, and go off. When I come back I’m tuckered out, but in the best way!
3:30 p.m. — Because we all know womxn tend to take their mania out on their hair, I decide to go dye my hair hot pink! I had been using OverTone for a while but it didn’t get the pigment that I wanted, so I pulled the trigger and bleached and dyed my hair ($10).
Daily Total: $10
9: 30 a.m. — I’ve been really taking my time reading my book, The Devil in the White City. It’s quite a lofty read, but I need to finish so that I can get onto my other books! I sit outside with my morning coffee and make a big dent in the novel.
5 p.m. — I’ve been experimenting with a meal-kit delivery service. I pay about $60 per box, each of which contains three, two-portion meals. But I had a 25% off coupon, so my serving of tonight’s dinner was roughly $7.50. I went the whole nine yards making the pork tacos with coleslaw, lime, and cilantro. I put on some 2000’s throwbacks, danced around the kitchen and fully enjoyed these bomb tacos.
8: 45 p.m. — Sometimes, cracking open a cold bottle of Pinot Grigio with your housemate and gabbing about your respective days is the perfect end to the day ($4 for my portion of the wine).
Daily Total: $11.50
7 a.m. — It’s been blisteringly hot out lately, so I take advantage of the fact that I woke up early and immediately throw on my shoes to take a walk. This is a low-pressure meditative stroll, not intended for my day’s workout or anything. It’s nice to hear the birds chirping and see the other early risers of the day — even if I’m a poser.
2: 15 p.m. — I start to get frustrated in the midst of applying for jobs (I was laid off due to COVID-19) so I stop and take time to play with my kitten, Nelly, who I rescued from Calling All Cats in New Jersey. She has a way of making me forget the bad stuff, and when she’s leaping around playing with her toys it brings a smile to my face.
7:30 p.m. — Did you know that Whole Foods gives you 10% off when you buy six (6) bottles of wine?! No, this is not an ad, but I pick up a bunch of wine ($15) and have some friends over to play this game called QuipLash, which you download and play on the TV. Everyone uses their phone as their “controller.” We have a great time and a lot of laughs.
Daily Total: $15
Weekly Total: $51.50
Reflection: I take self-care and wellness extremely seriously, but always remember not to put too much pressure on myself, as that can be harmful. I exercise every day, even if all I can muster is a 15-minute walk around the block, and include things like writing, playing music, or meditating as a means of doing mindful activities. I’d say exercising consistently over the last eight years has had a very positive impact on me, because I am strong and in shape, and have a good heart and lungs. The most negative impact might be the weight I place on my diet. I’m a very healthy eater, but when I satiate a craving I have, I can get very down on myself. I try to be kind to myself in this regard as much as I can — we are all only human, after all!
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