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 woman who lives on a farm in Pennsylvania spends the week closing her Apple Watch rings, bottle-feeding a calf, and perfecting her pickleball skills.
Location: Evans City, PA
Occupation: Court Accountant
Location: Evans City, PA
Occupation: Court Accountant
This diary was written in November 2020.
7:30 a.m. — I got up and fed my bottle calf like I do every morning, checked on our goats for any babies, and checked on the cows just to make sure they’re all where they belong. I live on a working cow and goat farm — we have a dog named Rodeo, a bunch of barn cats, about 30 goats, and about 30 cows and calves. I enjoy getting up and checking on the animals as it’s calming, and getting to pet the cute goats and calves always puts a smile on my face!
12:30 p.m. — I left my house at lunch to go into my small town to pick up some spices I use to cook pork, and Chinese for lunch (together it's $15). Since I work from home right now due to the pandemic, I enjoy getting out in the fresh air and walking to pick up lunch from a local business. $15
5:30 p.m. — I got my bottle calf from my neighbor's farm, and after work I go over to get milk for the calf from his mom for his dinner and breakfast the next morning. We got this bottle calf because one of our cows had lost a calf not long after this one was born. Since cows need to give milk to relieve pressure from their udder — kind of like breastfeeding, in a sense — with cattle it is common to try and put another calf on the cow for her to raise as her own, and our neighbors gave us this one since they were going to auction it off anyway. But, our cow did not take the calf, so I am now bottle feeding it.
I have been looking for any excuse to leave the house. I enjoy visiting with this neighbor as I grew up on a dairy farm and I love to see my dairy girls and talk with someone within my industry.
Daily Total: $15
9 a.m. — I did a Freeman Beauty Cosmic Holographic Peel-Off Mask in Hydrating Amethyst to try and get rid of some maskne. Peel-offs are just so satisfying! I’m still on the search for some acne treatments as it’s happening a lot more, but I also need to stop picking at my face! This morning, I’m working on spreadsheets that make me want to rip my hair out, so the mask, which I bought at Five Below, was a soothing part of my day.
12 p.m. — I walk up to our well pad, which is a gravel pad where our natural gas well is. It’s like an outdoor gym space I like to use when it's nice out. I bring my pickleball paddle and work on my serves to close my Apple Watch exercise rings. I’m so obsessed with closing my rings every day! I walk to the well pad just about every day that I don't go into town during lunch and it’s nice out; I either just walk or I take my pickleball paddle and ball with me and practice my serves, like today. Getting my heart pumping is a great part of my day that allows me to take a break from work and just get some fresh air.
7 p.m. — I order the Kindle version of Always The Last To Know by Kristan Higgins, one of my favorite authors, from Amazon (for $13) onto my iPad and dive right in. After a long day of work and working with the animals, a good shower and snuggling down with a book is the best way to unwind — reading is one of my favorite things to do. Books are one of those things that take me away from my life when I need a break. $13
Daily Total: $13
10 a.m. — My workplace is very generous and gives us a lot of opportunities to volunteer. Right now, these opportunities are all virtual. Today, I got to use my limited clip art creativity to create thank you notes to teachers who have worked hard through the pandemic. I love to volunteer, so this makes my heart sing.
2 p.m. — I register for the virtual PA Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and look over the items that are on the agenda. I am a county board member for the Bureau, and advocacy for agriculture is a huge part of my life. I work to spread the word about farmers and agriculture, and to close the gap between consumers and farmers. I feel good about the agenda and can't wait to be a part of it.
7 p.m. — I eat dinner, then buy a $10 bag of Cheddar Pretzels for my dad at a local store and head over to his dairy farm to help him with some chores. My father is a second generation dairy farmer and a very hard worker — he still milks cows. While neither my sister or myself live on the farm anymore, I own cows that are at his place, so I like to go over to help my dad out — and visit my parents. I enjoy the work, but I also visit with my girls (the cows), and that is very important for my mental health. They always make me happy. $10
Daily Total: $10
8 a.m. — I need to go grocery shopping, so I make a meal plan and a list since I’m notorious for walking into a store, grabbing odd things, and forgetting what I actually need. I tried to use Walmart's pickup service since they don't deliver to my area yet, but they only had an opening two days from now, so I scratched the entire trip.
2 p.m. — I have been working on being more one with my faith, so I recently bought a SheReadsTruth Bible with lots of programs (for $48) and I attempt to make time each day to read a passage. I am also working towards their new Advent 2020 program as I really need some Christmas cheer after this year, even though it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. $48
6 p.m. — I had to get buy new hedge trimmers ($14.99) while I was out to help my husband trim the goat's hooves. It’s good for their feet to trim them, and they grow fast. My husband and I have some good laughs whenever we play with the goats, which always helps my mood. $14.99
Daily Total: $62.99
9 a.m. — As I work, I catch up on some of my favorite podcasts. I enjoy listening to True Crime Obsessed, The Podcast Diaries, Ologies, Killer Queens, LeVar Burton Reads, NPR's Short Wave and many other ones as it helps pass the time and I can learn a lot! I love to learn about science, true crime, and agriculture. I sometimes think about starting my own podcast, but people would probably get bored of me talking about cows all the time! My husband works for the local township as a road crew worker, so I’m home alone all day. Podcasts make me feel like I’m not just here by myself and that makes me feel good.
10 p.m. — I watch some WWE with my husband in bed. When I started living with my husband, all he ever watched on TV was WWE, and it just kind of became our thing to watch together. I enjoy his company and it’s a fun way to end the night.
Daily Total: $0
7:30 a.m. — I work at my part-time job as a cashier one day a week, and that day is always a day I get gas ($30) and my favorite breakfast — a cold brew coffee and something fried ($10). Since working from home, I do make my own cold brew, but Sheetz makes my favorite, so it’s my little treat each week for making it out alive. The first sip is always the best and it makes me feel ready to tackle my shift in retail. $40
7 p.m. — Since my husband goes on call during the winter, he tries to get the drinking out of his system before then. We decided to go to our local bar for some good beers and good food ($35). We saw some friends and caught up with them and all in all had a great time. It’s those little things that really boost my mood and just taking a step out is nice. $35
Daily Total: $75
9 a.m. — I decide to do a yoga flow on Apple Fitness+ since I have a free trial. I’m not great at yoga, nor am I very flexible, but I like to try out some easy yoga to be refreshed and get me ready to play pickleball later on. It’s a great warmup and makes me feel relaxed. I then watch some makeup videos and clean the house.
3 p.m. — I only picked up pickleball this year. It’s like tennis and table tennis combined, but it is a great workout for me. The indoor court fee is just $6, and I get to play with new people each time and do some drills (that I should, by now, know how to do, but I always need some practice shots — hence, my well pad walks and practice sessions) and just learn the game at a more relaxed pace. I'm still at the lowest rank of 2.5, but I hope to improve my rating by next year. My Apple Watch is always exceeding the exercise rings on these types of days and I just love it! $6
Daily Total: $6
Weekly Total: $181.99
Reflection: My overall wellness routine is important to me — it’s my own time to do something good for myself. I do what makes me feel good, and what aligns with my lifestyle as a farm wife and animal owner.