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 PR director who practices gratitude daily, meets with a life coach, and buys herself flowers.
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Occupation: Director of PR and Communications
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Occupation: Director of PR and Communications
*This diary was written in August 2020.
8 a.m. — I wake up and say my daily affirmations in my head, and then I whisper them out loud: "Today will be a good day filled with fun" (that's from Gabby Bernstein) and one from my life coach, "Today may I do only what's best for myself and for the highest number of people." I say these the moment I wake up every morning, then do five minutes of meditation. I set the timer on my phone and focus on my breath in silence.
These morning rituals make me feel awake and grateful for the day ahead. I leave my bed feeling like I will conquer the day.
8:30 a.m. — I always have a full, 16-ounce glass of water first thing in the morning as part of my wellness routine. After I drink that, I make myself a homemade matcha latte with oat milk. Sometimes I add ginger and other days I add cinnamon. The combination of both help make me energized. The warm matcha also feels soothing and like a yummy treat.
9:30 a.m. — Almost every day, I write down a plan for my day by the hour. This helps me set realistic goals and stay on track. I've learned how long certain elements of my job take such as contracts, strategic plans, etc., so I allocate time for each task for today: emails, lunch, a yoga break, and even breathwork. If I don't write it into my daily plan I won't do it, so this is a huge part of my wellness routine.
Daily Total: $0
5 p.m. — I recently learned the importance of sweating for detoxing the body and mind. So I turn off the air conditioning in my bedroom and do one of the dance workout videos on PopSugar Fitness's YouTube channel. It gets so hot because it's the middle of summer right now, but I love it. It makes me feel alive, sexy, and strong — even when I have all of the moves wrong. Knowing that I made the time for myself makes me feel like a badass afterwards.
6 p.m. — I try to journal at least a few times a week. Today is the day I have my weekly video call with my life coach, so I always try to journal before our call. I write down how my last few days were and what has been on my mind. It always feels like a huge sigh of relief to get my thoughts on paper. I feel like I can let the stress go and leave it in my journal. It frees my mind and brings a lot of clarity.
7 p.m. — My life coaching sessions ($350) are, well, life changing. No matter what is going on I always leave the calls feeling uplifted and empowered. Today is no different. We talk about every element of my life, what's going well, and what's not going well. Lately we've talked a lot about relationship and family dynamics, and how I can be of service in every area of my life. I feel like it's a reset button, leaving me with a new perspective to conquer the days ahead.
Daily Total: $350
9:30 a.m. — I go on a long morning walk a few times a week. I bring some water and my headphones and listen to the type of music that fits my mood for the day. Today it was a Beyoncé playlist. I turn up the volume and walk for at least an hour. While I walk I visualize where I want to be in the future. Sometimes I even close my eyes for a few seconds to take in the music and the visions of my future self. The movement in my body feels great and the positive visions of my future leave me feeling encouraged and motivated to keep working toward my goals.
1 p.m. — I have an acupuncture appointment ($100). I have some chronic health issues including chronic sinusitis. It causes moderate to severe pressure in my sinuses, so basically my head feels like it's going to explode from the pressure some days. Acupuncture has been a huge relief; I really can't imagine dealing with the sinus pressure without it. It makes the pressure feel much more manageable and it helps calm my stress and anxiety. Masks are required in the office, there’s PPE at check-in, and only two people are allowed in the facility at a time. I usually get one needle on my forehead, so I can keep my mask on the entire time. I feel super safe! My acupuncturist is also one of the kindest women I know so it also feels like a hug every time I'm there.
8 p.m. — Talking about my favorite part of my day, every day is one of my most treasured wellness practices. Even on what feels like the shittiest days, I force myself to think of the best part. I ask my boyfriend his favorite part of his day too, and we chat about why they were our favorites. I think it's so important to end the day on a positive note and to speak about the good. It helps me feel excited for the next day.
Daily Total: $100
9:30 a.m. — I've been obsessed with Beyoncé’s Love On Top again lately for no apparent reason — but it puts me in such a good mood. It's such an upbeat song, and who doesn't love Queen B? I ask Google to put on the song and turn it up. I dance and jump around in my PJs while I drink my morning matcha and water. It makes me feel invigorated and joyful, which is a great way to start answering my morning emails.
10 a.m. — I buy myself flowers once a week from a bodega close by ($20). They have bouquets that are very inexpensive so sometimes I buy myself more than one bouquet. It makes me feel special and like I am prioritizing myself. I love to see the flowers in my apartment all week, especially if I'm having a rough day. It's a constant reminder that I can give myself everything I need!
8 p.m. — I bought a face steamer when the pandemic started ($50). It helps my sinuses and it feels LUXURIOUS. I fill it up with water and sit on my couch while I steam my face. It feels like the spa is in my house, and my skin is always glowing the next day.
Daily Total: $70
12 p.m. — I wake up late today so I’m taking time in the afternoon to try and reset my day. I do a Yoga with Adriene 20-minute flow video that's actually pretty hard (core work!). After the video I say my morning affirmations since I sprung out of bed today and forgot all of my morning practices. I feel gratitude for myself that even though my day started on the wrong foot, I still made time for myself.
1:30 p.m. — I've cut back on caffeine but sometimes the midday slump hits me hard. I've found that the sugar from fruit can really help give me a boost though, so I make a smoothie whenever I'm feeling sluggish. I add chia seeds, flax seed, and ginger. It makes me feel energized and ready to take on the rest of the day.
5 p.m. — A couple of years ago, my friend Dianne and I started sharing weekly texts of what we are grateful for. It helps us both stay accountable for being positive about our own lives and celebrating our accomplishments as they come, big or small. It's my favorite part of the week and makes me feel supported to have a friend I can be so open with.
Daily Total: $0
9 a.m. — Today I decided to go get a matcha instead of making one. I do this every once in a while. I'm still quarantining as much as possible, but sometimes it's real nice to have a little (masked) chat with the neighborhood café owner. I grab my iced matcha latte and head for a walk to the park nearby ($8). It makes me feel happy to have some fresh air and human contact.
9:30 a.m. — I walk to the park and once I get there I sit by the water fountain. I use this as a time to practice mindfulness. I try to clear my mind and just pay attention to the sounds and smells around me. I think of all of the things I'm grateful for in that moment as well. This zens me out. I feel super-calm after some time sitting mindfully outside.
1 p.m. — Some friends and I decide to have a beach day. It feels safe because they’ve been isolating, and one even tested positive for antibodies. I drive to NYC to pick them up, then we head back to Jersey to go to the shore. We listen to music in the car and laugh a lot! We haven't seen each other in months. Once we get to the beach we settle in, get some pineapple cocktails, and watch the ocean. Then we pack up and head to the boardwalk to get fries. We snack and chat and eventually head back home. It feels incredible to finally see friends again and it makes me remember how important this is for my wellness. ($50 for the cocktails and fries).
Daily Total: $58
8 a.m. — After I say my morning affirmations, I also go through a gratitude practice an old therapist taught me years ago. I ask myself 3 questions and answer them in my mind. They are:
1) In the past 24 hours, what did you enjoy the most? This is usually food for me and usually tacos — today I enjoyed the tacos from yesterday the most.
2) In the past 24 hours, what moved you? This means something that moved me to happy tears, laughter, dance, anything! Yesterday the thing that moved me the most was FaceTiming with my best friend who lives in Cali. We don't get the chance to talk nearly enough, and yesterday we talked for 2 hours and it made me so happy.
And 3) In the past 24 hours, what were you the most grateful for? Yesterday I was the most grateful for a light work day. I wasn't feeling so great and was so happy I wasn't overwhelmed with work.
7 p.m. — In the beginning of the pandemic, I started a virtual book club for my friends. We're just about to start our third book (Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close) and the weekly video meetings are often the best part of my week. Connecting with friends, even virtually, is so important for my wellness. It makes me feel like I have a support system and it brings me joy to hear about their life updates too! Sometimes we don't even discuss the books.
10 p.m. — Sometimes a good skincare routine makes me feel like Superwoman, as silly as that sounds. I love spending extra time washing my face, applying serums, oils, and lotions. Tonight I'm using my Origins Plantscription serum and Origins Night-A-Mins lotion. On top I add the Drunk Elephant radiant oil. I wake up with the softest skin! (Together, the products cost me about $100).
Daily Total: $100
Weekly Total: $678
Reflection: My wellness routine is the most important thing to me. If I don't feel well in my mind and body I can't do anything. Having struggled with health challenges and anxiety, I've learned that my wellness routine is a non-negotiable.