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. Have your own Feel Good Diary to submit? You can do so here!
Today: A woman recovering from jet lag from a recent trip. She uses meditation, yoga, journaling, and other strategies to cope with her anxiety.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Product Manager
10:30 a.m. — I wake up pretty late because I just got back from a trip to Morocco. Jet lag is setting in, so I grab some green tea ($4 at Trader Joe’s). I take my daily women’s probiotic from Garden of Life ($34), and catch up on some articles about wellness. Taking time for myself in the mornings makes me feel calm, and starts off my day on a good note. Plus, reading up on the latest trends makes me more aware of what's going on in the world.
6 p.m. — Time for a deep callus treatment on my feet — glamorous, I know. A spa worker uses various ointments, salts, and oils to grind down the calluses on my heels and toes. I come out with baby-smooth tootsies. My barking dogs have endured so much from walking and hiking in unsupportive footwear during my trip. Booking the appointment was $28, and worth every penny because I really needed this.
11 p.m. — My nighttime skincare ritual begins! After my shower, I wash my face with Proactiv Renewing Cleanser ($25). I also try Merzouga Gommage, a scrub I got from Morocco, which claims to help with acne and hyperpigmentation ($20). I leave it on for 20 minutes, wash it off, and proceed with my Cocokind raspberry toner ($17), Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($22), a Shiseido moisturizing cream (now discontinued, $70 originally), Shiseido Glow Revival Eye Treatment ($70), Glossier Balm Dot Com in coconut ($10), and jasmine Argan body oil I bought in a Moroccan market for $10. I’m basking in the moisture!! Call me excessive, but your skin is your largest organ so you need to treat it well!
Daily Total: $310
7:30 a.m. — I start my day blissfully with a cup of water and a 10-minute meditation. I use the Calm app (their one-year subscription plan costs $60). For the past two years, I’ve been hit or miss with my mindfulness practice, but I’m feeling ready to commit again. I’ve found focusing on my breath really helps with my anxiety — it forces me to stop thinking about work and anything else that is stressing me out at the moment. Hearing the waterfall sounds allows me to empty my mind for a few minutes and think about all that I have to be grateful for. I tend to feel overwhelmed often, so this time helps me clear out my head, at least temporarily.
3 p.m. — I took the day off work since I’m still in jet-lag mode. I take public transit to Bluestone Lane coffee shop in San Fran’s FiDi and order a matcha latte with oat milk. I use their rewards program, and they just dropped credits in my account (hooray for free stuff!).
7 p.m. — I walk to CorePower Yoga for a heated class. My sister bought me a 10-class pack recently, so this class is free. I’ve been perfecting my practice for seven years now, and I consider it the cornerstone of my mental well-being. I walk home after, feeling refreshed and zen AF. I try walking for at least an hour outside every day, whether it be to work, to the park, or wherever my feet take me.
Daily Total: $60
6:30 a.m. — I started my day with my 10-minute meditation, and an eight-minute morning yoga routine from a magazine article. My body is extremely stiff in the mornings — I can’t even touch my toes or do the butterfly pose correctly. I remind myself that I need to continue to stretch more in the mornings. I’ve heard it promotes digestion too.
6 p.m. — I go for a quick 3.5-mile run to Mission Creek Park. While I’m at the park, I do a quick 10-minute HIIT workout, with some push-ups, high knees, and Russian twists. This area has amazing views, so I take in the sunset and feel grateful to live in such a great place.
Daily Total: $0
6:30 — I put on Proactiv’s Skin Purifying Mask since I’ve been breaking out since my return from vacation. I got this for free with my Proactiv cleanser. I put on the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack using Google Home, and do a solo karaoke and dance party as I get ready. I’m flying out to New York next week and we booked tickets to see the musical, so I’m prepping. Yes, I am that person. Listening to music honestly brings me a lot of joy, though, and it starts my day on a high note in terms of mood.
9 a.m. — It takes me about 30 minutes to walk to my office from my apartment, which is the perfect amount of time to listen to a podcast. I normally mix up which ones I listen to, but I prefer those centered around women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship. Today, I am listening to the UnStyled podcast featuring Samantha Bee. It’s comforting to hear strong females who are extremely successful in their careers — and personal lives — share that they’ve struggled along the way to get to where they are. It makes me feel less alone.
7:30 p.m. — Ugh, it was a busy day at the office. To decompress, I write in my gratitude log. I’ve been writing in a Moleskin journal ($10 on Amazon) since college, just jotting down my thoughts, ideas, and how I am currently feeling. This has helped with my anxiety, because my mind is constantly filled with thoughts that leave me feeling disoriented and distracted. It feels like a release valve when I can get them down. The pages feel personal, and they contain my feelings about break-ups, dreams, goals, and trips.
Daily Total: $10
6:30 a.m. — I grab breakfast with my roommates at the brunch spot near our apartment before I head to work. We are all super busy these days, so even though we live together, it’s nice to catch up and really talk it out. It's very relaxed and we enjoy just being together. I fill them in on my recent trip and show off some pictures. Quality time always gives me extra fuel and improves my mental state. I order an egg scramble with spinach, cheese, mushrooms, and chicken-apple sausage with a side of house potatoes and wheat toast. This spot gives huge portions and is definitely worth the $15.
12:30 p.m. — I sit outside in the sun to eat my lunch and take in some Vitamin D. I’ve had back-to-back meetings all morning, so just being by myself with my food is a good way to decompress. I munch on a croissant sandwich with ham from the café ($4.55), and enjoy every bite.
7 p.m. — I do my long run to the pier and find a nearby bench to work on my arms with my self-created HIIT workout. I listen to another podcast and then crank out my workout playlist, which is mostly R&B and indie pop songs; one of my favorites is Dilemma by Nelly. I walk home feeling like my mind is finally at ease after an intense work day.
Daily Total: $19.55
9 a.m. — It’s continental breakfast Friday! I walk to work and the free breakfast is already set up on the counter. I plop some eggs mixed with spinach, onion, and pork sausage on my plate, and grab a few pieces of fruit. I can almost taste the weekend.
12:20 p.m. — Now I’m on the hunt for lunch. I walk outside and go to a café around the corner to order an arugula salad. Much to my disappointment, the salad was a total rip-off. I paid for a small bowl with less than ten almonds, a few slices of cheese, and one-third of a sliced pear mixed throughout. This is the price you pay (okay, it’s only $11, but still) when living in the city and attempting to eat healthy.
Daily Total: $11
9:30 a.m. — Yoga Sculpt time at Corepower Yoga! I run out of classes and purchase a five-class pack to hold me over before I head to New York ($139). Today’s instructor focuses our workout on booties and obliques. I leave the one-hour sweat sesh restored and revitalized.
11 a.m. — It’s lunch time. I make myself some toast with Justin’s Almond Butter with Cinnamon ($6) for the first slice, and I use the almond butter with roasted Argan oil from Morocco ($15) for the second slice. I wash some strawberries, slice up a plum, and make some green tea ($5). Voila – lunch is served! Nut butters are my favorite source of protein, and I prefer them to eating meat. When I do spring for a burger, it often leaves me feeling sluggish and tired. Nut-based proteins, on the other hand, keep me energized and focused. I already have some of the ingredients in my pantry and fridge, luckily, but I may need to go to the store soon.
1 p.m. — My best friend comes over and we catch up. We haven’t seen each other since before my trip, so we have much to discuss. He drives us downtown and we window-shop while sharing stories. My friends and family are very important to me, so time with him is priceless.
Daily Total: $165
Weekly Total: $575.55
Reflection: My wellness routine is vital for combating my anxiety and my overall mental well-being. It makes me the best version of myself for my friends, family, and, of course, myself. Yoga and meditation has the most positive impact, because they keep me focused. Plus, they help me avoid overthinking.
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Have your own Feel Good Diary to submit? You can do so here!