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 between jobs takes hot yoga, meal preps, and spends some money at the mall during her week off.
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Financial analyst
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Financial analyst
Editor's note: This diary was written in March 2022.
10 a.m. — I wake up after having the luxury of sleeping in. I just quit my job and am in the interim before I start my new one. I was unhappy in my job, and I spent a month and half interviewing for new jobs and was able to accept a new position somewhere else. I requested for a start date a month out to have a break.
The first thing I do is make my bed and excitedly rush to the kitchen to make my favorite coffee in my Nespresso that I bought myself for Christmas last year. I use a splash of oat milk and NutPods Vanilla Creamer, and I am ready to take on my day. I need to eat breakfast with my morning coffee — I’ve noticed it helps manage my anxiety. Today, I have banana overnight oats I prepped last night before bed.
1 p.m. — Every two weeks I order from Thrive Market as as treat for myself. It arrives today, and I receive the infamous Granola Butter I have been seeing on social media. As a lover of spreads and oats (honestly, anything sweet) I am excited to try it! Additionally, I ordered Yogi Tea, Elmhurst almond milk, Siete grain free tortilla chips, olive oil, Magnesium Soft Chews, and Elderberry Gummies. I was recommended magnesium for relaxation before bed as an alternative to melatonin, which I find makes me too drowsy. $79.79
6:30 p.m. — Just as the sun is beginning to set, I get myself to the gym for a quick Hot Girl Walk on the treadmill to avoid the 28 degree weather outside. After 30 minutes of listening to some power music, I spend 20 minutes stretching and doing some toning exercises with my new Bala Bangles I splurged on last month. I have enjoyed using them although half the time I am not quite sure if I am even using them correctly. Sometimes working out when it is so cold outside can be difficult, but I always feel grounded and more at peace after.
Daily Total: $79.79
10 a.m. — I speak to my mom on the phone for 45 minutes catching up on life. I moved across the country from Los Angeles to New York City less than a year ago, and making time to talk is sometimes difficult but necessary. It’s always fun to hear about what’s happening back at home and to tell her about what I have been up to. Even though I’ve been away from home for the longest period in my life, I’m always lovingly reminded of home after a long phone call with my family.
12 p.m. – Pre-COVID, I loved going to hot yoga. Since the studio I liked going to has reopened, I have not yet had a chance to go. Now that I have some time on my hands for the next two weeks while I’m between jobs, I buy a special pack of three classes for $45. I also take some time to book a dance cardio workout at another fitness studio for Thursday afternoon. It always makes me feel strong, confident and powerful after. $80
5 p.m. — I go to Soho with my boyfriend to make returns from an online Reformation order. It always feels good to get outside even to just walk around and window shop. I have no intention of purchasing anything, but I spontaneously grab a few items and end up falling in love with a short, button down denim dress that will be perfect for the upcoming warm weather. Because I’m returning two items, I feel there’s some justification to this expense. $80
Daily Total: $160
12 p.m. — Just before going to sleep last night, I booked a hot yoga class using the class pack I bought. I walk a little over a mile to take the class. I haven’t been to hot yoga in over a year, and it feels so good to sweat, stretch, and strengthen my body in a supportive environment. Walking to the studio and taking the class is a great way to start my day.
2 p.m. — Since I’m out already, I take myself on a lunch date and order a vegan salad ($13.11). When I’m on my own, I love treating myself to my favorite foods. Since not everyone loves a vegan restaurant, I typically gravitate towards vegan options when I am alone. Then, just as I am was about to go home, I decide to walk around the nearby farmers’ market. I buy a loaf of gluten-free bread ($5) before taking the subway home ($2.75) and relaxing on my couch to watch some Netflix. I make some toast with the bread I just bought and add on some cookie butter. $20.86
7:30 p.m. — I meet my boyfriend at his office after work for dinner. I love trying new food and definitely consider myself a foodie, so tonight we try a new Indian restaurant in Tribeca. Recently, we have been having fun planning "date nights" around the city, which is an exciting way to experience new things and spend quality time together. My boyfriend paid for dinner, and I paid for my public transportation there and then my Uber home at the end of the night. $30.87
Daily Total: $51.73
12:30 p.m. — I love dance and music, and have recently discovered a love for a fitness class that combines both here in NYC. These classes have been an exciting form of exercise for me and one that I look forward to rather than dread. After my morning class is over, I stroll around Washington Square Park and admire the crowds and the beautiful sunny day (finally!) in the city.
2 p.m. — After working out and walking around, I find myself getting hungry. My first thought is to rush home and eat something that’s already in my kitchen so I spend less, but I decide to treat myself to a solo lunch date. I go to a cafe and feel silly asking for a table for one, but am relieved to see many other solo diners. One thing I have felt more confident doing is eating alone — I now feel more comfortable spending quality time with myself and taking myself on dates. As I eat my grain bowl and drink my iced coffee, I take a few moments to call my mom on the phone and catch up with her before heading home. $23.79
4 p.m. — Once I’m home, I take a long shower and cozy up in my bed to catch up on some of my favorite shows. Recently, I have been enjoying Bridgerton and The Dropout and have been eagerly awaiting the release of the new season of Selling Sunset. I also take time to catch up on emails and small chores around my apartment. This makes my break in the day feel more productive and allows me to catch up on things that need my attention that I had been procrastinating on.
Daily Total: $23.79
2 p.m. — I make my way to Buffalo Exchange to sell clothes from my closet. I’ve been working on cleaning it out recently, and being able to get rid of the few bags of clothes that were sitting in my room feels good. When I have a clean and organized space it allows me to think clearer and often helps ease anxieties that arise throughout the day. I try to do this twice a year, and I make around $50 from my clothing drop off.
4 p.m. — I absolutely love grocery shopping. I always look forward to roaming the store, looking for something new to try, and stocking up on my favorite items. I head to Whole Foods and buy ingredients to make homemade Chipotle bowls for my boyfriend and I. Last week we went to Chipotle three times, and after seeing many TikToks of of people cooking their own versions of the bowls, I decide it’s my turn to try. Most of the time I try to eat foods that make me feel good and I have found that this is easier to accomplish when I make meals myself. I still enjoy some of my favorite treats like ice cream, french fries, or a slice of pizza throughout the week. $26.89
7:30 p.m. — For dinner, my boyfriend comes to my apartment and we cook the Chipotle bowls. Preparing and sharing food with my loved ones has always been special to me and it has been fun sharing that experience with my boyfriend as well. Although we almost always spend Friday nights out, it’s the best decision to stay in tonight and have a quiet to eat and watch Netflix together. Sometimes it’s easy to be pressured into constantly going out, but it’s so rewarding spend a Friday night relaxing. In fact, I find it even more rewarding to wake up the next morning feeling rested and refreshed ready for the weekend.
Daily Total: $26.89
10 a.m. — My boyfriend and I stay in bed until 12:00 p.m. with homemade coffee and breakfast. These types of weekend mornings are my favorite. I recently read a quote stating, “A weekend well spent brings a week of content," which I find to be true. While "a weekend well spent" may mean something different for everyone, what it means for me is taking moments to recharge and prepare for the week ahead. Instead of feeling exhausted on Sunday nights dreading the week, I have been able to feel more at ease for the coming days.
1 p.m. — After a relaxing morning, I head to the gym for an hour where I spend half of it on the treadmill and stairmaster, and the other half stretching and doing some toning exercises. Because the gym is in my building and included in my monthly rent, this visit does not cost me anything.
8 p.m. — I have dinner with my boyfriend at a sushi restaurant. I have not had sushi in almost two months, so it feels good to indulge in a treat. In addition to trying new places, I often enjoy trying new items on the menu I have not seen before. Trying new types of food as well as making new recipes is somewhat of a hobby for me. After dinner we walk around, enjoy the weather (since it was almost 50 degrees out), and go dancing at a bar in Soho before ending the night with two large slices of pizza and ice cream. Around 1:30 a.m. I go to bed with my stomach and heart both feeling extremely full.
Daily Total: $0
12 p.m. — I take a boxing class for the second time ever. I love trying new workout classes and it is a fun way to fit movement into my day. Putting on big boxing gloves and punching the bag to loud music feels therapeutic. I leave feeling powerful. I bought a "first timer" class pack for $35 which was two classes for the price of one. $35
3:30 p.m. — Somehow, I end up roaming the mall. I find multiple items that fit perfectly and are totally justifiable for work or happy hour or vacation. I splurge on a button down sweater vest and two button down long sleeves from Muji and two dresses from Zara. After almost three hours in the mall, I’m surprised at how exhausting shopping can be and can’t wait to get back to my apartment to relax on my couch with some leftovers. $187.32
9 p.m. — I meal prep some breakfast and snacks for the upcoming week. I make overnight oats in a mason jar with organic rolled oats, dairy free yogurt, hemp milk, bananas, chia seeds, maple syrup, and lots of cinnamon. Waking up in the morning to breakfast practically made has been a game changer for me and also gives me something to look forward to as soon as I open my eyes. I also chop up an apple, peel an orange, and cut a few bell peppers that I put away in containers for snacks before starting the rest of my night routine.
Daily Total: $222.32
Weekly Total: $564.52
Reflection: Having time off to recharge before I start my new job has been refreshing and a reminder to continue my wellness journey even when I start working again. One of my main drivers for switching jobs was my wellness. My prior job was causing me so much stress and anxiety and finding a job with space for myself was at the top of my list of must haves. Although I will not have as much time for myself in the coming weeks, I will be sure to make my wellness routine a priority.