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 who believes in a balanced wellness approach that encompasses spiritual well-being and both physical and mental health.
Location: Smyrna, Georgia
Occupation: Nonprofit Marketing
4:30 a.m. — I wake up super early most days to drink coffee and start my morning routine before I go to the gym. Most of the time, I read a devotional from She Reads Truth ($1.99 per month), which gives me a curated daily scripture reading plan. I try to fit in at least 10 minutes of meditation with Headspace ($7.99 per month, paid annually). I've discovered that taking 30 to 40 minutes in the morning to set my brain for the day greatly impacts my mood and productivity. Next, I head to a kickboxing class at Burn Studios. I love how strong and powerful I feel when I box, and I find myself pushing really hard on the cardio intervals today. I pay $119 per month for Burn, which has all the classes I love, great amenities, and instructors that I've started getting to know personally. Finally, I’m off to work. I call my mom on my way so we can catch up.
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and answer some emails before I eat my breakfast. I typically have oatmeal, blueberries, and peanut butter, plus a cup of green tea. This keeps me full until lunch, when I eat a faro and chickpea bowl from Hello Fresh. I'm trying meal delivery with an $80-off coupon, so I'm paying $40.66 per week for groceries right now. So far, I've been really impressed with all the meals. I try to bring my breakfast and lunch from home as often as possible.
6 p.m. — When I get home, I like to unwind by reading, cooking dinner, and indulging in a little self care. I talk myself out of ordering stir fry on Uber Eats and instead make homemade ramen with tofu and broccoli. It really hits the spot, even though I know I'll feel a little bloated from the sodium tomorrow. To wind down for bed, I spend time journaling and reading a new mystery (part of the Jade Calhoun series by Deanna Chase) that I found free in the Kindle store (the Kindle was a gift from my dad). I also spend some time on the phone with a good friend who just got engaged, and I feel all the happy after I talk to her. Then I wash my face with Alba Botanica Acnedote Deep Pore Wash — I'm 31 but apparently still get zits like a teenager ($11.99). Next, I use Lush’s Eau Roma Water as a toner ($10.49 for a big bottle), followed by Tarte's Drink of H2O moisturizer, which I ordered at 30% off ($26). I take a Sprouts multivitamin every day ($7.49), then I'm in bed by 9. I make a gratitude list and read a little more before I turn the lights out at 9:30.
Daily Total: $225.61
5:30 a.m. — I do my morning devotion, prayers, and meditation while I drink two cups of coffee. Today is a rest day from the gym, so I take my time getting ready for work, and I put some extra effort into my makeup. I love how a good winged eyeliner makes my eyes pop behind my glasses, but I rarely feel like putting in the additional time to do it when I'm getting dressed at the gym. I head out the door and get stuck in terrible traffic behind a bad wreck. By the time I get to the other side of town for work, I'm grumpy and treat myself to some Starbucks egg white bites and a skinny vanilla latte to cheer myself up ($8.37).
6:30 p.m. — Every week, I lead a women's Bible study through my church. I'm so fortunate to have a really great group of women around me. I've been able to talk through job transitions, dating, and family relationships, and it's been transformative in my spiritual growth. This week, we’re doing an interactive self help program from Andy Stanley called Address the Mess ($6.99 for the leader's study guide), and I'm already loving the discussions we have about judgement, both internal and external.
Daily Total: $15.36
6 a.m. — This morning I'm taking a strength and circuit training class at Burn called CrossBurn. The class alternates between strength exercises (dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight, and TRX), and rounds on the boxing bag. I leave sweaty, and I can tell that my legs are going to be sore tomorrow from the pistol squats.
10 a.m. — I’m getting coffee with my old boss, who works in a different department now. I buy what’s basically a knockoff of Starbucks’ Medicine Ball tea ($4). At the check-out counter I notice some locally made lip balms from an artisan I've seen at the farmer's market. I'm almost out of the balm I keep at my desk, so I grab a tube ($3). My old boss and I have a great time catching up, and I show her pictures from my recent trip to Barcelona. She tells me that she's proud of how much I've grown since we worked together, and I walk the half-mile back to my office feeling uplifted.
7 p.m. — I can already feel my legs falling apart from this morning's workout, so I decide to soak in the bath with a sheet mask. I love the Pacifica Beauty’s sheet masks ($4 each). This time, I smoothe on their Disobey Time Rose and Peptide mask , and bask in the glory of some lavender bubble bath I received as a gift. I read the first part of the next book in the mystery series I started this weekend, which is on sale for $3.99 on my Kindle.
Daily Total: $11.99
6 a.m. — It's back to Burn this morning for a spin class. I push myself really hard and get my highest power score ever! My legs are a little wobbly when I get off the bike, but I head to work feeling satisfied and accomplished.
8 p.m. — At least once a week, I attend a free support group for mental health in my area. Contributions to the group are voluntary, but I try to give a few bucks every time I go ($5). The group is facilitated by a rotating group of volunteers, and we cover various topics around keeping ourselves mentally and spiritually fit, including resentment, honesty, humility, and fellowship. This group has been an integral part of my life for years, and it has truly transformed how I live on a day-to-day basis.
Daily Total: $5
6 a.m. — I go Burn's second location to take a spin class with one of my favorite instructors. Her playlists are infectious, with lots of early 2000s hip hop that takes me back to high school. She almost always plays "Lose Control" by Missy Elliott and Ciara. I push really hard again, and I think I've got to have topped my score from yesterday, but the two classes are dead even. This location just upgraded their changing rooms, so I take a few extra minutes perfecting my hair with their new Chi flat iron.
6:30 p.m. — Every Friday, my best friend and I go to a Mexican restaurant by her house to catch up. This little tradition is an extremely important part of my week, and seeing my BFF isn't something I'm willing to compromise on unless it's absolutely necessary. We split a cheese dip, but my friend picks up the queso this week. I get a quesadilla and much on chips and salsa ($7.25, including a 30% tip). This week we're mired in some friend group drama, so we also run to Sweet Hut for pastries and bubble teas for TLC. I get my favorite strawberry croissant and a caramel boba tea ($8.50). We take our desserts back to her house and spend the rest of the evening chatting and catching up.
Daily Total: $15.75
8 a.m. — In addition to spin, circuit, and kick, Burn has yoga classes, too. This morning, one of my favorite instructors is teaching Yoga Sculpt, which involves plyometrics and weights. I drag myself out of bed at 6:30 on a Saturday to do my morning routine before class, even though I really don't want to. I'm a little drained, so I take it easy in class and lower the weights and take out the jumping. Afterwards, I run to the store to pick up a few things for breakfasts and snacks. I spend $25, including a green juice for my post-yoga breakfast.
10 a.m. — I stop at European Wax Center on my way home from the grocery store for an eyebrow appointment ($25). It's been a while since my last treatment, so my eyebrows are looking rough. The technician does a great job, and we talk about some of our favorite makeup products while she works on me. I leave feeling so much better, and go ahead and make another appointment for next month on my way out.
4 p.m. — I'm flying through this new mystery series, so I buy the third book on my Kindle ($4.99). For the past year or so, I've been really focused on reading books for self-improvement, but I'd forgotten how amazing it is to just get lost in a fun fiction novel. Reading has always been an escape and release for me. For the rest of the night I sit around with my page-tuner, do my laundry between chapters. I make a (delicious!) baked pasta parmesan dish from Hello Fresh. I don't have any plans tonight, so I turn in early.
Daily Total: $54.99
7 a.m. — Most Sunday mornings, I meet up with a few girls from my small group who use ClassPass for kickboxing at Burn before church. The studio owner usually teaches this class, and it's a cardio killer. We're all out of breath and covered in sweat by the end. I love starting my Sunday with exercise — it helps me feel productive and motivated for the week ahead. We all get dressed for church at the gym, then stop by Panera Bread for bagels ($5.50) before the 11 a.m. service.
6 p.m. — I've been doing chores and cleaning my condo all afternoon, but I hold Sunday evenings as a sacred time. I use them to reset for the week ahead and make sure I can get off to a running start at work. I take time to journal, make a longer gratitude list than normal, take a bubble bath, and spend time away from technology. Then I pack my lunch and my gym bag for Monday, and get ready for bed. I read a little bit more, and it's lights out by 9 so that I can be well rested tomorrow.
Daily Total: $5.50
Weekly Total: $334.20
Prayer, meditation, and group therapy have combined to truly transform my life. On the flip side, I've realized that I'm not always the most adaptable when I get out of my routine, so I'm working on finding more flexibility in the morning and at night so that I can have a little more spontaneity in my days. Fridays with my best friend are often the highlights of my week. I love spending time connecting with someone who's so close to me — plus, chips and salsa!
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