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 student takes advantage of her school’s free yoga classes, has a run-in with a bat, and enjoys some socially-distant beach yoga.
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Salary: Unemployed due to COVID-19
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Salary: Unemployed due to COVID-19
9 a.m. — I belong to my college's yoga club, and the student in charge of it has been posting an easy morning flow a couple times a week. I am so grateful for that, especially being unemployed and having no money! Today she did a 20-ish minute power flow with a lot of ab and leg work. It was relaxing, but also sweaty. I sweat constantly, so no matter how little I move, I sweat. It’s fine. I'm fine.
9:30 a.m. — I drink two big glasses of water and take my vitamins. I take vitamin D and vitamin B12. They are Nature Made gummies because I can't swallow pills (lol). My doctor recommended them to me before I left for school, so I’m still trying to decide if they're working or doing anything at all. I take them every morning while I do my online health screening that allows me to go on campus. Then I make avocado toast with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (shoutout Trader Joe's).
5 p.m. — I went for a walk and called my mom before dinner. She lives about three hours away from me and I miss her a lot. I’ve been at school for a week now and going to class during a pandemic has really freaked me out. Honestly, I keep wanting to go home. But the school is only offering certain classes online. It's really frustrating from a student perspective: They tell us to make good choices, yet they’re asking us to remain on campus. I walked around campus wearing a mask for about an hour while on the phone with my mom and she helped me to calm down (relatively because again, we know we should not be here).
I go back to my apartment and make myself a chicken stir fry for dinner with Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce (which is fantastic, I highly recommend it to everybody). I journal a little bit and go to sleep around 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $0
7:30 a.m. — I wake up and stare at my bedroom ceiling. I have classes from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then I’m done for the day. I put my hair in a bun, pour a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and hop on my computer for Zoom classes all morning. I like my classes a lot, and my professors have been so cool and understanding because they know this is all so weird. I end up sticking around in my Women and Gender Studies Zoom call (I am a WGS minor and Social Work major) and chat with my professor. She does individual check-ins with students, and she did them even when I was in her classes pre-pandemic. We chat about my new apartment, my classes and just generally how I am doing and how she can better support me during the transition back to school and tells me I can always call her if I need anything. I love her.
1:30 p.m. — I make a burrito bowl for lunch and sit on my bedroom floor to meditate/pray. I turn on rain noises on my Google Home and it really grounds me and helps me to focus. I say a quick prayer about my anxiety and do some breathing exercises on my Fitbit. I end up taking a nap afterwards and feel amazing.
4 p.m. — My best friend from school asks me if after dinner I want to go and watch the sunset at the beach with her. We split the $9 for parking ($4.50 each). We talk about life and watch the sun go down. It's just really peaceful and nice to have little moments like this during all the chaos. Being in nature really helps me to relax and focus on the present.
Daily Total: $4.50
4:15 a.m. – I wake up suddenly to my roommate screaming in her room trying to get out. I run over to her room and open her door and she runs out screaming about a bat flying over her head. We call campus police who come to get it out. The officer was super-calming and helpful, especially to my roommate who was locked in her room because of a broken door knob. The officer suggests we drive to the hospital to get tested for rabies. The school will take care of the medical bill for testing (thank goodness because the bill was over $600). After the hospital I buy my roommate and I coffee and food from McDonalds. ($4.03)
11 a.m. — I couldn't fall back asleep after the bat situation so I end up journaling most of the morning, and trying to support my roommate. She was really shaken up (rightfully because a fucking bat swarmed her head) so I sat with her and talked for a while. I have one class today at 12, which I attend over Zoom. But I didn’t really pay attention because I am exhausted and can’t stop thinking about the morning I've had.
7 p.m. — I do the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay facemask and Kristen Ess scalp scrub (huge fan of both, could not recommend more) that I bought during my last Target trip. I text with my neighbor to coordinate a run tomorrow before our class. I ran a marathon in high school (it's a long story with that choice at 16 lol). But I haven't run a long distance in quite some time and want to rebuild that strength. We plan for a 6:30 a.m. four-mile run. We’ll see if that happens.
Daily Total: $4.03
6:15 a.m. — Why did I do this to myself? I love to sleep and am not a morning person, but I know I need to do this. I chug a couple glasses of water and eat a chocolate chip peanut butter Larabar (which is absolutely amazing) and meet my neighbor outside. We run, walk and chat about how things are going. She ends up opening up to me about some personal stuff. I'm glad she feels comfortable talking to me about everything that's going on and I remind her she can always come to me or I can always help her find resources. Moments like this remind me of why I want to be a social worker.
1:30 p.m. — I finish my classes for the day and make a bagel with cream cheese, avocado, and feta for lunch. While I do that, I listen to the podcast "Oddvice" by Kristen McAtee and Alex Koot. Their podcast is fairly new, but I like hearing women be so real and open about their lives. There are so many men who dominate podcasting, but Oddvice has been so great, and it's so easy to listen to.
7 p.m. — A friend from high school has started teaching workout classes on Zoom, so I hopped into her class to see what it’s like. I've done Zumba before, but I really like her class. It's totally free, but I want to support her and encourage her to keep going so I Venmo her $15. She teaches a lot of fun dances and I get a good sweat in. I shower, pray and then go to bed around 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $15
7:20 a.m. — I wake up before my 8 a.m. class and do some stretching and journaling to start my day. Then I hop on Zoom for class, and then I have to physically go to another class, and then come back for another zoom class. They should all just be online.
2 p.m. — I want to take a nap so I get under my weighted blanket. Everybody should get one if you can, they have really helped me with my anxiety! I end up not being able to sleep so I decide to go for a bike ride. It’s a beautiful day! I go grab some tea at a local coffee shop ($4.50) and then come back to my apartment and do the Harry Styles "meditation" on the Calm app. I know it’s supposed to make you go to sleep, but Harry Styles explaining how we should walk in the rain together has me on the edge of my seat.
Also I'm sure at this point, some of you are wondering how I have money to do anything considering I’m an unemployed college student. I was a nanny for the last couple months before going back to school. The family paid me quite a bit extra because we’re in a pandemic and they really needed help as both parents were working full time and could not access typical childcare. We were all tested before I started working for them. I had worked for them before, but these circumstances are obviously different. It was great and I love their family, so I was happy to do it for them. I saved all the money knowing I would not be able to get my on campus job back for a while, so that's where we are. I used to work at the front desk in the Social Work office and the front desk at the Human Resources office, but the school hasn't indicated a potential re-start date yet.
8 p.m. — I want cookies so I run to Walmart and grab a tub of cookie dough ($4.86). It was so worth it. After I make the cookies, I end up sexting with a guy I met on Bumble (we haven’t met physically because again, pandemic). While we talk I end up turning on Bellesa's porn — we love a feminist and empowering company that encourages female sexuality and all that good stuff. They also sell vibrators and other toys, but I'll buy some of that eventually. I'm saving to support myself post-college, so I can masturbate for free for right now. Financial responsibility and self-care made for the current state of the world! When I finish I take a quick shower and head to sleep around 11. Tomorrow is Friday!
Daily Total: $9.36
9 a.m. — I wake up and chug a couple glasses of water. I end up making a strawberry/banana smoothie with orange juice and Activia blueberry yogurt. I do a Chloe Ting workout (Abs in Two Weeks). Her workouts are good and also for those balling on a budget (aka me). Her videos are all free! I take a quick shower and then get on Zoom for class.
2 p.m. — I finish lunch and call my older sister. I don't get to see her often because she has an adult job and doesn't live at home anymore. We chat about her boyfriend and how she wants me to get a boyfriend. I love her boyfriend and her, how they look out for me, but her wish for the New Year every year is for me to fall in love. Every time I roll my eyes and remind her that I am my priority right now and I want to get better at looking out for myself. Don't get me wrong, I would like one at some point and have definitely thought about it, but I’m not necessarily seeking one out right now. I'm trying to love myself first and don't want a man to change that for me right now. I hang up with her and listen to the Tiny Meat Gand Podcast (hot take: Cody Ko and Noel Miller are the funniest men on Youtube) while I clean my apartment.
8 p.m. — I finish dinner with my roommates and we decide we deserve a movie night after the bat situation earlier this week. I run over to the mini-mart a block away and grab the cheapest bottle of Riesling they have ($3.49). We have a couple glasses and watch 10 Things I Hate About You. If you know anyone who looks like Heath Ledger in this film, I will date him. I will marry him. My sister would be so happy.
Daily Total: $3.49
8:30 a.m. — The yoga club at school offers a morning class at the beach. I paid $9 for parking. It was all socially distanced and there were only seven people there, so I felt comfortable. Still, I wear a mask the whole time. After class I stay behind and watch the waves crash down on the sand, and I journal. I love going to the beach and taking in how beautiful everything is. It's really grounding and helps me focus on the current moment and what I want out of my day.
1 p.m. — It’s so nice outside, so I sit out with one of my roommates and she lets me use some of her acrylic paints and a small canvas. My painting is not very good, but I like being in such a relaxing environment with music and a slight breeze while we paint. It is so peaceful I could cry. I Venmo her for what she let me borrow even though she says not to. ($7)
6 p.m. — Cooking is one of my love languages, so to remind my roommates how much I love them, I make them all dinner. It's been a pretty tough week for everybody, so I make everybody turkey burgers, roasted potatoes and a salad. For groceries I typically shop at Aldi and spend about $50-ish. I can usually make one haul last a couple of weeks. We each usually buy our own groceries, but sometimes we make dinner together with whatever we have. I say a little prayer about how thankful I am for them. We clean the kitchen together and then watch Indian Matchmaking on Netflix, which I love. I head to bed and do a little stretching/pre-bedtime meditation and fall asleep around midnight.
Daily Total: $16
Weekly Total: $52.38
Reflection: Self-care is more than fitness and face masks. Yes, those things are important, but finding workouts, food, and time to relax in a way that works for you are the most important things you can do for yourself. Journaling, yoga, and taking walks are what work for me, but there are so many other things I love! I don't necessarily have a regular routine, but I try and find time during each day where I can give something to myself and that is, I guess, my wellness routine.