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.
Today: A woman who believes a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
Location: Middletown, NJ
Occupation: Advertising Sales Planner
Location: Middletown, NJ
Occupation: Advertising Sales Planner
7 a.m. — I wake up just about every morning for an 8 a.m. workout class. Before getting out of bed I think of what I want to accomplish for the day and bring positive thoughts into existence. It makes me feel motivated and ready to start the day with a positive mindset.
8 a.m. — Powered through my 45-minute HIIT cardio class, which I take through F45. The biweekly subscription costs $90 — so $45 per week — and I usually take a class six days a week. To me, the cost is well worth it for the benefits. Their challenging classes offer a good workout that never fails to make me feel strong and accomplished.
12 p.m. — Cleaned my basement. Due to coronavirus and quarantine, I've felt less in control in my life and extremely overwhelmed. To combat this, I've been cleaning and purging different rooms of my house to get rid of things that no longer serve me and make room for things that do. It helps my mindset to do that too.
Daily Total: $45
8 a.m. — Another day, another workout class. My local F45 holds their classes in their parking lot or local fields to let people socially distance while exercising. On rainy days, they do a recording live from their studio. They have an app with pre-recorded workouts too. Today, I follow my class with a run. Exercise helps me to distance myself from the stress in my life and focus on something that’s beneficial for me.
9:30 a.m. — Breakfast. I don’t consider myself a “breakfast person,” but today, I am really looking forward to this post-workout meal. Just about every day I have egg whites with rye toast, avocado, and Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's, plus a cup of black coffee.
I also take my supplements: fish oil pills, magnesium, ashwagandha, probiotics, a Natrol 5-HTP mood booster, dandelion root, and a women's multivitamin. I've always taken multivitamins and supplements, but I've increased my range and became more consistent since coronavirus. I keep all of that organized in this cute, portable pillbox; the box and the supplements together cost about $90.
I eat in my backyard, watching my sprinkler water my flower beds as I mentally prepare for my day.
3 p.m. — In between my work meetings, I go food shopping for myself and the household ($180). I write out my meals for the week before going so I know what I need to buy. My list typically includes a few staples — ground turkey, shrimp, zucchini, cauliflower heads, and yogurt — plus whatever else I need that week.
Daily Total: $270
8 a.m. — Up early again for my workout class. This time it’s resistance and weight day, which is more challenging and builds my strength. I like these days because hoisting the weights make me feel strong and empowered.
10 a.m. — I jump on a work conference call. The larger team has a bi-weekly call set up to recap things going on in the company, as well as our lives. It helps to remind me that we are all still connected and that the work I'm doing still affects them — even though we don't see each other everyday anymore.
6:30 p.m. — My childhood friend and I went out to dinner for her birthday to catch up since it’s been a while ($60). For me, eating out tends to mean carbs, cheese, and alcohol! Over the past several weeks, as COVID-19 restrictions in my area have lifted, I’ve given myself more freedom when it comes to dining out — but I try to be cautious and only eat places where the staff is cautious too. We eat outside, and we’re extra careful to wash our hands thoroughly before touching anything we'll be eating. I even only use a straw, instead of drinking directly from the glass. I also tip more than usual.
It felt good to know that after 20 years of friendship we can always get together and count on each other to be there when it’s needed. It's important to have those friendships to nourish.
Daily Total: $60
7 a.m. — I often journal at the end of my day, but when I don’t, I do it the next morning before I get out of bed. It helps me to track my moods and how I’m feeling throughout the pandemic and be cognizant of the repetitive or negative emotions that I want to work on.
12:30 p.m. — Needing a change of scenery for work, my friend and I pick a day a week to work poolside. It helps me to feel like I'm somewhat back on a schedule again, and it lets me get some much needed sun time.
5 p.m. — My aunt owns an ice cream store, and I’ve been pitching in there for some extra cash while I'm home. This is another instance where it feels good to be back on a schedule and have a responsibility to be somewhere. The extra cash is helpful too!
Working there looks very different now, amid COVID-19. In the beginning we were wearing gloves and rotating between every cash and customer transaction, in addition to wearing masks. As it got hotter and busier we ditched the gloves and bought hand sanitizer to keep around the store. We require everyone to wear masks when coming to the walk-up window to order, even though they're outside. Before leaving, I make sure to wash my hands and wipe down my phone with a Clorox wipe. As soon as I come home, I also change my clothes and wash up to avoid bringing anything into my home that could infect my parents. On a more positive note, I've noticed a change in customers’ attitudes — they've been a lot more understanding and calm when it comes to tipping and being nice to the staff. Much more "please and thank yous" than normal, which I hope stays after the pandemic.
Daily Total: $0
9:30 a.m. — Following my workout class, I stopped by the local fresh food market to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies — some things I missed in my last haul, and some things that I’d already run out of ($50). Buying from these smaller markets makes me feel good, like I’m helping a small business owner — and I feel like the food is better for my body too.
12 p.m. — Clothes shopping ($250). My original reason for going into Urban Outfitters was to make some returns but… they had some real cute things on the shelves I couldn't pass up! I moved back home due to COVID, and honestly, knowing I don't need to pay rent anymore, combined with the fact that I haven’t treated myself to a shopping spree in a while, make me let myself go a little crazy. It makes me feel good to buy new clothes that I feel confident wearing.
7 p.m. — We attempt to sit down to have dinner as a family once a week now that I'm back home. It allows us to all take a break from our crazy lives and connect, even if it’s for a brief moment.
Daily Total: $300
9 a.m. — This morning, two of my friends joined me at my workout — we made a group exercise session a weekly occurrence to push and support each other. Afterwards we get coffee together ($8). It feels good to have the connection, outside of a social event.
10:30 a.m. — Because it was a later workout, and a bit longer than normal, I needed to add a yogurt and some fruit to my normal breakfast. After, I felt great — I felt healthy, mentally and physically, and really prepped for the day.
2 p.m. — A very close family friend's daughter turned 1 and we all got together to celebrate. Being free from work and seeing my family and our friends together for the first time in months made me feel like there was some return of normalcy. I brought a gift, which cost $50.
Daily Total: $58
10 a.m. — This is the first day of the week that I allow myself to wake up without an alarm, and I take the time to roll out of bed and do my affirmations with no time restraints. Although it’s nice to have a schedule again, it's also nice when I get to have a free day.
1 p.m. — Therapy ($160). Since coronavirus and quarantine, I've been increasingly anxious and unsettled in my life. This pushed me to talk to someone to deal with my feelings and learn how to manage them. Having the freedom to talk to someone about what’s on my mind has made me feel more stable and comfortable with the path my life is taking.
8 p.m. — Dinner with mom ($100). My mom and I work to make time to go out to eat together to just catch up and spend time together. In the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we took much more extreme measures when it came to dining out — we would only order in. We still take our precautions, but we’re also big foodies, so eating out feels like an extra treat during these times. It’s important to me for us to make this time to bond and catch up on everyday life — as well as indulge in amazing food!
Daily Total: $260
Weekly Total: $993
Reflection: My wellness routine is extremely important to me. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from completing a full week of workouts. The most positive thing I do is my morning routine of thinking about my goals and positive thoughts for the day. Next up would be the physical workouts. I'd say the most negative is the pressure I sometimes put on myself to complete them all the time, even when I'm feeling drained.