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 Brooklynite who has recently picked up ice skating takes walks, dabbles in YouTube yoga, and visits a therapist on Zoom to decompress from her online job.
Occupation: Social Media Manager
Occupation: Social Media Manager
This diary was written in September 2020.
8 a.m. — I recently took up figure skating for exercise and as a way to push myself. I skate two to three times a week and also have sessions with my coach on Sundays. It’s amazing to feel so strong and pretty on the ice, and it feels doubly great to be able to feel and see progress in something new as an adult! The cold on your face in the morning is the best way to wake up, and you don't think of anything else aside from trying to stay up when you get on the ice. It's a great way to clear your mind and push yourself mentally and physically. While the skates are pricey (mine were $350 when I bought them), it's definitely worth it. I also pay a $15 fee each time I skate at the rink.
5 p.m. — I spend all day on the internet for my job, and it's definitely taking a toll on my mental health. Recently, I decided to find a therapist, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I talk to her once a week via Zoom, (for a $50 co-pay a session) and she is really great at keeping me in check and making sure I am being mindful and reflective. This week we tackled being more gentle to myself, which is definitely something I need to work on.
Daily Total: $65
8 p.m. — I'm a total newbie to yoga, but over the past couple of weeks I've found it to be a really nice way to strengthen my muscles and deepen my stretches for skating. Ice skating is all core, and so is yoga. I'm not very good at it, but I follow Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I find her so calming — and I love her dog! Today's was a 20-minute full body flow, to ease me into the week and get the blood moving a bit after sitting on my ass all day.
8:30 p.m. — At the beginning of quarantine, I sprung (lol) for a trampoline on Amazon. It's been such a mood booster for my roommates and me in our apartment. Upset? Bounce. Bored? Bounce. On a call that won't end? Bounce! Whether it's a quick session or a grueling one, it's a great way to get a super-intense workout in the comfort of your apartment, in not a lot of time. It makes me feel toned and it even helps digestion. Sometimes I feel a bit like an old woman, so this is also super-easy on the joints. As guides, I do a lot of Rebounder workouts on YouTube.
9 p.m. — Like many people in quarantine, I've become a bit of a cook. I make it a point to cook something new each week, using mostly fresh and clean ingredients. My mom is an amazing cook, so my goal is to get to her level one day. This week I made a Masoor dal, or a lentil curry, out of ingredients from my most recent grocery trip ($30). It's ridiculously good, extremely easy to make, and keeps me feeling full all day.
Daily Total: $30
10 a.m. — Ever heard the expression "your eyes eat first"? I used to think it was bullshit but now I think it's 100% true. I've been making it a point to make pretty, healthy breakfasts every day. Today I made two fried eggs with some Everything But The Bagel seasoning, as well as a yogurt bowl with strawberries, nectarine slices, raspberries, and sunflower seeds. It looks like something you would pay $17 for at a brunch, so I snap a quick pic and send it to my friends. This keeps me full for hours!
7 p.m. — I'm feeling pretty sore from skating this week, so I found a 45-minute full-body stretch to do on YouTube. While I certainly can't fold myself into a lot of the positions just yet, I'm finding that my flexibility and strength is definitely increasing. Shout out to my figure skating coach for yelling at me enough times to do my stretches. I find that doing some sort of physical activity once I finish work is really helpful for unwinding and getting my mind off what's happening on Twitter.
8 p.m. — I'm definitely not a runner, so when I want to get out of the house, I usually go for a long walk. The loop I take from my apartment is a little bit over five miles, so it hits the 10,000 steps a day perfectly. I pop on my favorite playlist and head out with my mask. I find that walking is great for me because it's a way for me to find new places in the area, since I just moved to my new apartment a few weeks ago. Sometimes I'll ask my roommates to come along.
Daily Total: $0
8 a.m. — Today's figure skating session ($15 for the rink fee) didn't start off too great. I accidentally stepped on the ice with my skate guards (it happens) and had a nasty fall. After I dusted the snow off, I practiced some one foot glides, some spirals, and some edge work. My coach is going to be so upset with me when he hears what I did! The scariest thing about skating is the potential of falling, but I find that if you fall right at the beginning, the rest of the session is easier. Afterwards, I leave feeling strong, sweaty, and a bit sore. I know my knees are going to be bruised from my fall.
8 p.m. — I'm still pretty sore from this morning, so I take it easy with a 20-minute core yoga flow on YouTube. I can feel every single ab muscle when I move, which means I made some good progress this morning. Tomorrow I think I need to take it easy. I finish feeling relaxed, but mostly tired.
8:30 p.m. — I have an extreme vitamin D deficiency, so much so that my hair started falling out late last year. I make sure to take my 1000 IUs of D-3 (the whole jar was $8 when I bought it) every day so that this stops happening!
Daily Total: $15
8 p.m. — I had a really tough day today at work. It was so filled with meetings that I barely had any time to breathe. I definitely need to wind down, so I do my five-mile loop around my city. While this might defeat the purpose, I stop for a beer at a local brewpub on my way back.
9 p.m. — I have a lesson with my coach this weekend. It's been a few weeks since I've seen him, so I need to make sure I'm prepared. I find a few figure skating stretch videos on YouTube and follow along. I'm somehow still sore from the other day, but nothing too bad. I feel tall and loose after doing my stretches.
Daily Total: $0
2 p.m. — It's Saturday, so I don't want to do anything — but I can hear my roommates doing a dance workout in the living room, so I join them! They're doing a 305 Fitness live workout that's about an hour long. The energy of this instructor is insane, she makes me want to dance every day. My roommates and I are dripping sweat by the end, but overall I’m feeling happy and the endorphins are definitely flowing.
5 p.m. — The tennis center I like to go to usually costs money to book, but due to COVID it's free. Because of this, my boyfriend and I try to play together a few times a week. We're pretty evenly matched in terms of skill, and usually get a pretty good game going. Today I beat him 7-5, but it was deuce every point, so I'll give him that. I played tennis in high school, so it's great to get back into it again. Did you know it's the one of the safest sports you can play in terms of social distancing?! I walk home feeling super sweaty but really great that I got a win this time.
Daily Total: $0
7 a.m. — I take weekly lessons with my figure skating coach every Sunday. I adore my coach; he's an award winning ice dancer and overall great person. He's all business and isn't afraid to yell at me if I'm not listening or if I'm taking it easy on myself. Before my lesson, I do some sprints inside the rink as well as some squats and jumps. Today we're learning my first major jump, called a waltz jump. As far as figure skating goes, I love to spin! Spinning is my strong suit. Jumping... not so much. Each time my feet leave the ice it feels like I'm jumping so far in the air. Even though when I watch the video of myself back, I look like a little baby deer doing little baby deer hops. I get over my fear slightly, and by the end of the session I'm doing a (very small) waltz jump! My coach rewards me with some spins and some edge work at the end.
I feel really good at the end of the lesson, and skate around for an hour or so afterwards, trying out the new skills we've learned today. It costs $30 to enter a session with my coach, and he’s pretty pricey — $100 for an hour — so I do my best to truly soak up everything he says and practice as much as I can. I fall a few times on my waltz jump, but leave the rink feeling super excited to try again in a few days. ($130)
8 p.m. — Sunday scaries are real. It also isn't helping that I'm totally exhausted. I decide to light a candle and take a bath. My old apartment didn't have a bath, so I'm thrilled my new one does. My quads are totally shot from doing jumps earlier today, so I throw in some Epsom salts and lay there for an hour. After a pretty hectic past few days, this is the perfect way to unwind. I check out my schedule for the week, and watch videos of Adam Rippon on Instagram.
Daily Total: $130
Weekly Total: $240
Reflection: Therapy and skating is such a good combination for my overall wellness. Skating clears my head, makes me push myself, and shows me tangible evidence that I'm making progress. Even though I'm pretty open and honest with my friends and coworkers, my therapist is such a great resource and place for me to rationalize my thoughts and feelings. I know some people like their therapists to be their friends, but I like having that separate, judgement-free zone to talk about anything and everything, no matter how trivial.
Because my job is super-online, I need these outlets to escape. My job has taken a massive toll on my mental health, and being at home has only exacerbated the problem. I find solace in all of these activities and I find that the good I find in these things balances the bad in my every day.