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 paralegal who's crashing with her parents for the week and rediscovering her passion for swimming.
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Location: Hoboken, NJ
9 a.m. — I wake up, make some coffee from the Keurig, and turn on my laptop. Now that I’m working from home I like to work the morning hours in my bed, as weird as it is. It’s calming for me. I don’t get hungry until the afternoon anyways, so I just relax and work in my room until I get up to grab some food. If I wasn’t working from home, I’d be up and running around at 7 a.m.
2:15 p.m. — I finally wash my face, change out of my pajamas, and make a turkey sandwich. I’m spending the week at my parent’s house in New Jersey instead of my small apartment in Hoboken, so I head outside and put my legs in the pool. Since we’re working from home for the indefinite future, I’d rather spend my weekdays here — at least while it’s summer — where I have access to a full fridge and a pool to swim in. This week has been busy, but a few minutes outside in the water helps me. Going outside whenever I have free time makes me feel so much better.
7 p.m. — After I log off work, I go outside and swim laps in my pool. I was on swim teams up until I went away to college, and I still really enjoy being in the water. It’s a great way to get exercise, and I take advantage of the opportunity while I’m at my parent’s house. I swim back and forth for about an hour. I love that you don’t have to think while you’re swimming. It helped me so much growing up, and living back at home has helped me (sort of) get back into it.
Daily Total: $0
9 a.m. — I make coffee, actually brush my hair, and put on a normal shirt. I have a Skype meeting with a coworker in 30 minutes, so I need to look somewhat presentable. She’s helping me out because I just started this job the day that NYC shut down — I haven’t actually met anyone at my job in person yet, which is kind of crazy. We have offices all over, and I work for people in Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, London, and NYC all day. I bill my time, which means I have to write down exactly what I do for seven hours of the day, which takes me a while at the end of the week. Happy Friday.
6 p.m. — I log out of work and sit down to eat dinner with my family. On Fridays, my parents like to order pizza, so that’s what we’re having! I have no plans tonight. I’m going to just take a long shower and watch some trash reality television (aka my favorite show, The Real Housewives of New York.) I feel like I deserve this after a long week.
10 p.m. — Around 10, as I’m watching the housewives get into yet another fight, I pour myself a glass of white wine from the open bottle in my fridge. A wild Friday.
Daily Total: $0
10 a.m. — I slept in today. When I wake up, I drive to the bagel store with my sister. New Jersey has the best bagels, but I’m basic and only get a plain one with cream cheese. I pay for my sister’s Snapple Lemonade, then we decide to run next door to get smoothies from Smoothie King as well ($20). After I get home and eat, I put my swimsuit on. The weather is hot and sunny, so I sit in a float in my pool and tan.
2 p.m. — My college friends have a house for the summer in Belmar, a beach town not too far from where my parents live.They tell me to come over and hang out. I’ve already spent some time with them all during the pandemic, so I feel comfortable going. I head inside, shower, and get ready. I didn’t want to leave my car there overnight, and my mom generously drives me and drops me off so I don’t have to take an Uber.
6:30 p.m. — While we were all hanging out at the Belmar house, people started talking about heading to an outdoor bar by the ocean. We walked there and hung out outside, feeling the nice ocean breeze. We stayed until it was dark. The place checks your temperature before you’re allowed to enter, and we were sat at a table six feet away from other bar-goers. I buy a few drinks for myself and a round of shots for my friends ($70).
Daily Total: $90
8 a.m. — I ended up sleeping at my friend’s house, and woke up super hungover. Since coronavirus started, I haven’t really drank as much as I used to, so this hangover hit me hard. Since I didn’t have my car, my friend drove me back to my parent’s house. We stopped at McDonald’s on the way back for Happy Meals ($10). I usually don’t eat fast food, but my hangover was telling me I needed it. I get back home and head to bed.
1 p.m. — I wake up from my nap and grab an apple from my fridge. I’m feeling a bit better from my hangover, but decide to take a bath because I know it’ll make me feel better. It’s sunny and hot out, so after my soak, I throw on my swimsuit and head outside to the pool.
6:30 p.m. — I spend hours floating around in my pool until it’s time to eat dinner. My sister is out, so it’s just my dad, mom, and me. They make steak, vegetables, and corn for dinner. It’s a great way to end the weekend, but I’m dreading getting up in the morning for work.
Daily Total: $10
9 a.m. — I wake up super tired. Even if I don’t do much, Mondays are so hard! I log into work and check my emails — the usual routine.
2 p.m. — I finally leave my room, get changed, and wash my face with my new cleanser/toner, Dr. Dennis Gross Cleanser ($38). I highly recommend it —it makes you feel like you just left a spa. I put on an old pair of shorts and workout t-shirt. It’s storming like crazy here, and we actually lose power. Luckily, my family bought a generator after Hurricane Sandy, so I’m still able to do some work.
7 p.m. — I start a workout in my basement once I log off. I bought weights on Amazon about a year ago for the hell of it and they definitely come in handy — especially now that the gym I go to is closed. I used to run a lot, but I realized I lost more weight by lifting consistently, so I like to do that. Everyone’s different... Working out has a huge effect on my mental health, and if I don’t get some type of workout during the weekday, I know I’ll feel super anxious.
Daily Total: $38
9 a.m. — I grab a cup of coffee from the kitchen, and go back into my bed to log on for work.
2:15 p.m. — I finally leave my room to make a turkey sandwich for lunch. It’s nice outside, so I go out to sit in the pool for about 15 minutes. We still have no power, and although the generator is helping, our WiFi isn’t working anymore. I try to use my hotspot from my phone, but it’s not working too well so now I’m extra stressed about getting my work done.
7 p.m. — My mom doesn’t feel like cooking dinner for us tonight — she said she was reheating some pizza, but I decided to go pick up some sushi instead ($20). I left my house to go get it, and there were trees and power lines down everywhere. I had to take a crazy way back home because most of the lights on the highway by my house weren’t working because of the power outage.
A little after dinner, I work out in my basement for about an hour. I’ll usually follow workouts I find on Instagram from fitness influencers like Whitney Simmons. During my breaks I check some emails and do more work for my firm. It isn’t an ideal situation but I do what I can.
Daily Total: $20
9 a.m. — I wake up to my mom and dad packing their things. They’re visiting my older sister in Virginia. She just got married on July 11. She postponed her wedding an entire year, but still had a small ceremony at a lake house with her friends. We watched her wedding on Zoom and drank mimosas. Our power and WiFi still aren’t back from the storm, and the slow internet really made me anxious about working.
1 p.m. — I come out of my room/cave to make myself some eggs. I end up going outside to hang for a little because my day isn’t that busy. I caught up on most of my housekeeping work this morning. Thankfully, my job is being very understanding about my power situation.
6 p.m — My best friend, who actually lives next door to me in Hoboken, is also from my hometown. She texts me to tell me that she’s here staying with her parents for the night, so we decide to go shopping. We went to Ulta and Target and I bought very unnecessary items: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, luminescent powder, a Kylie Jenner sample lit kit, a makeup brush kit, a dress, and two pairs of shorts ($244). We gossiped and talked and then she dropped me off. I ordered a taco salad from Surf Taco on DoorDash ($20) and drank some wine. It was a solid day.
Daily Total: $264
Weekly Total: $422
Reflection: Having some sort of wellness routine is very important to me — but self-care can be as simple as taking a bath, letting myself stay in bed late, eating pizza once a week, seeing my girl friends, drinking wine, or working out. My belief is: Whatever works for you.