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 about how you're coping around the COVID-19 outbreak? We'd love to hear how you're prioritizing your mental and physical health at this time. Submit your entry here!
Today: A 28-year-old case manager living in Virginia who values the power of meditation and a good Zoom happy hour.
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Occupation: Higher Education Case Manager
7 a.m. — Today is my third day working remotely as a result of COVID-19. I work for a college doing Case Management and Wellness Education, which I love. Students can come to me if they’re struggling, and I provide support to them and point them to appropriate resources. I’m an introvert and was looking forward to working from home, but I’m having a hard time getting into the swing of things. I’ve woken up really anxious lately, which I’m assuming is related to the pandemic. I put my AirPods in and pull up the "Meditation Studio" App ($9/month). I try to use the app almost every day to meditate. I play one of my favorite meditations, “Start Your Day” led by Franko Heke.
12 p.m. — My fiancé is working from home as well, and we're attempting to figure out our “new normal.” We're supposed to get married in July but with the coronavirus pandemic going on, we're not so sure what's going to happen.
Last evening, we participated in the #GreatAmericanTakeOut and got takeout from our favorite Italian restaurant in town. They will be forced to close for dine-in customers starting today as a result of the state instructions from the governor, so we wanted to support them as much as possible. I have some leftovers (chicken and veggies in a white wine sauce) for lunch, chug a La Croix, and head back to the office (a.k.a. my bedroom).
6 p.m. — We usually eat dinner around 6. I’ve been doing WW for about 14 months now ($20/month for digital version). I started in an attempt to eat healthier, and form some healthier habits overall, and it really works for me. I’m a mindless snacker, so I try to commit to not eating after 7 p.m. We take our dog for an evening walk and come back to watch "Tiger King" on Netflix. I am so intrigued by Joe Exotic!
Daily Total: $29
8 a.m. — I’ve been starting my mornings by reading a passage from The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, by Ryan Holiday ($25). This morning’s reading was about how there is “Philosophy in Everything.” Reading from this book every morning has truly changed how I live my life and sets me up with good intentions to start my day.
12:30 p.m. — I head back to my old faithful meditation app, Meditation Studio. I pick a new meditation today, “Tough Times” by Patricia Karpas. For added effect, I swipe some of my favorite CBD roll-on on my wrists, neck and temples. I love Blue Ridge Hemp’s “Breathe Easy and Concentrate” ($20). I’ve been using it for a couple of years now.
7 p.m. — I got an Amazon package this afternoon — the Schick dermaplaning razors I ordered ($5). I’ve heard good things about dermaplaning but am scared to shave my face! I’m part Italian and having extra hair has been an issue throughout my life. I use the facial razor on my jawline and under my ears. What a difference! It feels strange after. Maybe some slight stubble, even?
Daily Total: $50
8 a.m. — I wake up with a slight headache. I think all of the extra screen time from working remotely is affecting me. I chug some water and take my dog outside for a walk. It’s beautiful out!
12 p.m. — My fiancé and I have been talking about getting a second dog for some time now. We have one dog, a cavalier King Charles spaniel named Henry, who we think gets lonely during the day. We're both working mostly remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and he said earlier in the week that now is the perfect time to “add to the family.” He has to go into the office on Thursdays and Fridays, so I wasn't expecting him home on his lunch break today. But he walked in with a new puppy! Our new dog is a chocolate cocker spaniel named Otis. Day = made!
7 p.m. — We got a fire pit and s’mores set as one of my bridal shower gifts from my two childhood best friends. The weather is still perfect outside, so we sit outside and enjoy each other’s company. He went to work in the office today, so I missed him!
Daily Total: $0
9 a.m. — I “slept in” this morning. I had pre-registered for my favorite workout class: a hip hop dance class. I attended classes at my local studio a couple times recently and have fallen in love with it. Each morning, my studio sends a Vimeo link to all who sign up ($5/class). I hate to admit it, but I enjoy working out in private more. I can make a fool of myself to a rap song and not worry about anyone looking at me! I was dripping in sweat when the class was over. I was in a great mood the rest of the day.
12 p.m. — We supported our favorite sandwich shop by placing an order for pickup: two genoa salami sandwiches on french bread ($22). I felt good knowing that we were supporting our favorite local business as well as social distancing.
3 p.m. — A local farm in our area has a “drop in” program. They have tons of beautiful flowers out in a shed and you can take what you want, as long as you Venmo or leave cash — honor system. It’s social distancing compliant. I paid $15 for a large mason jar filled with different varieties of roses.
5 p.m. — Today is my best friend’s 29th birthday. We planned a surprise happy hour for her via Zoom because all of our friends couldn’t get together during quarantine. I drank my favorite beer (Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat, which was already in the fridge) and loved seeing faces I hadn’t seen in a while. We all hung out while getting buzzed in our own homes. For an introvert like me, that’s a win!
Daily Total: $42
9 a.m. — I work a few shifts a month at our local hospital doing assessments for people experiencing a mental health crisis. I’m scheduled to work this afternoon. I haven’t worked this job since COVID-19 started, and I’m nervous about it. I woke up this morning with my heart racing. I opened up my laptop and started a Yoga with Adriene video (free). She helped me calm down. Thank you, Adriene!
12 p.m. — I grab some sesame chicken ($11) from my favorite Chinese restaurant to bring to work. While the breaded chicken isn’t the best on #WW, I have tons of points left to use for the week. I love this program.
11 p.m. — Off of work! I LOVE my work and really enjoy my coworkers… But I’m always amped up when I leave the hospital to go home. Playing with my dogs and chatting with my fiancé both help me settle down tonight. I put some lavender essential oil in my diffuser and pass out.
Daily Total: $11
9 a.m. — So starts week two of working remotely in the same house as my fiancé. We have a pretty good set up: He works upstairs, I work downstairs. I put on CNN when I wake up and quickly get anxious because of all of the COVID-19 coverage. I worry about my dad and sisters, who have been working in New York City. I take a walk outside to clear my head.
12 p.m. — A day of virtual meetings with students. I love my job! I had some troubles with the microphone not working on my Macbook. I have been resisting getting a headset but think I may have to cave. I pop some of yesterday’s sesame chicken into the microwave and enjoy lunch with my fiancé and our dogs. The new puppy is full of energy and was barking during my calls this morning. He’s lucky he’s cute!
6:30 p.m. — I have been trying to avoid going to the grocery store. But almost all of our food is gone, so it’s time! I run into a good friend who I haven’t been able to see face to face in a few weeks. We chat (six feet apart). It’s so good to see a familiar face. My favorite Malbec is on major sale — score! I also pick up some veggies, a new candle, and some ground turkey to make turkey burgers and taco salads this week. ($33)
Daily Total: $33
9 a.m. — I have a remote meeting with 30 of my coworkers today. We all check in with each other during the meeting and it brings a smile to my face to see all of them in their homes. They all ask about the new puppy (who is taking a nap during this call, thankfully).
12 p.m. — My fiancé and I are supposed to get married in July. With COVID-19, we’ve suspected for a while that we will probably have to postpone the wedding. But even though I’d figured this would happen, today it finally hit me — we’re really going to have to postpone. I cried and cried. We talked about how lucky we were to be healthy and safe, and that this is only temporary. Then we sat on our couch and finished “Tiger King.” Joe Exotic made me feel better.
8 p.m. — I started re-reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle ($16) for what feels like the tenth time. I need to work on being more in the “present,” especially during this pandemic. This book brings me such peace. I read for an hour before my eyes start to get heavy.
Daily Total: $16
Weekly Total: $181
Reflection: Taking time to meditate had the most positive impact on my week. When I am taking care of myself, all aspects of life are better. I’m kinder, I’m happier, and I feel more centered. I’m striving to better myself in all nine dimensions of wellness (emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, financial, cultural, intellectual, environmental, occupational and physical). And the new puppy helps too!