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 recently laid off woman spends her week completing freelance work, ordering delivery wine, and dog sitting for her parents.
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Full-time freelance writer
Salary: $74,000/year, pre-layoff
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Full-time freelance writer
Salary: $74,000/year, pre-layoff
Editor's note: This diary was written in January 2023.
10 a.m. — I start my day a little later today. I was recently laid off from my full-time job, so I've had a lot of freelance projects on my plate and this was my first day without a deadline. I have a significant severance package from my former position, but I’ve also been freelancing for a bit so I wasn’t knocked too off my feet. I shower off my self-tanner, capitalize on the free coffee in my apartment lounge, and make some toast.
1 p.m. — By 1:00 pm I'm starving. I order my current food fixation, the Spicy Tunacado Sandwich from Joe & The Juice, and settle in on the couch. I send out a few freelance pitches and start working on job applications while I eat my lunch before attempting to apply for unemployment. I'm frustrated by the process and abandon the task until I have more patience. I decide to get ready and go shopping instead. I have a date tonight and although I should definitely not be spending unnecessary money on clothes (hello, unemployed, remember!?) I want to look cute. $18.15
8:30 p.m. — The bar my date and I decided on is kind of a trek from my apartment. It's also raining, so I decide to go on the subway on the off chance he's not a dud and I want my hair intact. I GoPuff a bottle of wine from Pinot Project and get ready before spending an inordinate amount on a ride to the bar. We have one beer (he was, in fact, a dud) and I spend even more money on an Uber home. $83.43
Daily Total: $101.58
11:30 a.m. — The coffee maker in my apartment lounge is broken, so I decide to brave the rain and go out for a quick coffee instead. I call a friend on my walk and am so wrapped up in the convo that I end up much further from my apartment than I anticipated. I spend $5.44 on a cold brew and immediately regret the decision once I get back outside in the damp cold. I run to Duane Reade on my way home to pick up makeup wipes and pimple patches. $32.85
2 p.m. — I desperately need to get my nails done, and although I really shouldn't be dropping money on an overpriced manicure, I oblige. I pick up a coffee on my way. Two hours later (yeah, it took that long) I head home. Still fueled from the coffee, I hit up my apartment gym (which I spend $10 a month on) and do a quick 12-3-30 walk on the treadmill. Then I bust out a pilates workout thanks to my Form by Sami Clarke membership (I pay $21.99 a month for this). $75
8:30 p.m. — I take an Uber to my friends' apartment before a night out. We drink the Soju I brought over a few nights before and chat for about an hour before heading out to a bar. None of us are really feeling a chaotic night, so we settle in at a chill spot. I pick up a deck of cards across the street at 7-11, because we're obsessed with a new game called Cambio. I sip one tequila soda while we play but opt out of the second. It's honestly the perfect low-key night. $38.73
Daily Total: $146.58
10:30 a.m. — I slept at my friends' apartment last night because I didn't want to spring for an Uber all the way back downtown. I hop on the subway (dressed in my friend's Crocs that are one size too big) and head home. Once I'm back at my apartment, I clean — including the tornado of clothes I left strewn about after getting ready last night — before taking a nap. $2.75
3:30 p.m. — My friend from Boston is visiting the city this weekend, so once I'm up from my nap I rush into apartment prep mode. I want it to look good for her arrival. I clean the space in a flurry before rushing down the street to pick up a bottle of Joel Gott wine. She's coming over before we have dinner and I want to have something on hand for us. I feel productive and happy to have the chores out of the way. $21
7:15 p.m. — We down our first glass of wine at home before deciding to take our drinking antics to another neighborhood. My friend that's visiting — along with three of our other friends — pile into an Uber. We split the fare so it's only about $5 a person. We grab one drink before dinner (I opt for a spicy cucumber tequila beverage) and then head to an Italian joint for pizza. We're starving, so naturally we over order. No one complains though. We're so full my roommate and I decide to walk home to save money. It's good for digestion, so I have zero qualms despite the dipping temps. $88.92
Daily Total: $112.67
10 a.m. — I sleep in (mostly because I consumed one too many martinis last night), and order a bagel practically the second I open my eyes. I settle in on the couch and catch up on the new Netflix series Break Point while I devour my go-to bagel order: everything bagel with jalapeño cream cheese. I drink a free coffee from the apartment lounge. $13.21
1:30 p.m. — I take the subway to Little Island to meet up with my friend from Boston and one of our other pals. I've never been before, so we stroll around the plot of land over the Hudson for 20 minutes before walking to a restaurant. We snag a table to enjoy an afternoon glass of wine, but are kicked out after 45 minutes because we don't order food. I take the subway home. $26.80
8 p.m. — We all meet up for dinner and once again over order on shareables. I'm still not complaining. We rack up quite the bill in the name of self care before heading to a different bar for a drink. It's too crowded for comfort, so we retreat to a quieter spot where we can chat. It's the perfect send off for our visiting friend. My roommate and I Uber home and split the $44 fare. $140.51
Daily Total: $180.52
8 a.m. — Despite overindulging on drinks the night before, planes don't wait. I have a 10 a.m. flight to my parents' house in Charleston, so I wake up early, down a coffee, and call an Uber to head to the airport. Once I'm there, I snag an overpriced water bottle (damn, airports!) and a granola bar before boarding. Luckily, my parents sprung for the flight home since I'm traveling to puppysit their dog. $57.29
1 p.m. — My parents pick me up from the airport. I'm famished, so we swing by one of my favorite restaurants and I pick up the spicy avocado salad I've been craving since before takeoff. I head home, hang out with my dog, and read — I'm hooked on Colleen Hoover's It Starts with Us.
7:45 p.m. — We head to downtown Charleston for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and devour plates of pasta and wagyu. I spend nothing because my dad foots the bill. Ah, the perks of being home. We go home and my mom surprises me with a Publix cake (another favorite of mine) for my early birthday celebration.
Daily Total: $57.29
11 a.m. — I head downtown around lunch to sit in a coffee shop and work while my mom's at the dentist. I order a cold brew and bust out a few emails before she's done with her appointment. We decide to grab lunch at a French spot and my mom picks up the tab on my Croque Monsieur. Then we split. I have to go pick up her birthday gift (a purse from Madewell) and then I buy a few things for myself: a pair of Valentine's pajamas and slippers. We meet back up at Sephora. Mom piles my things into her cart — a Rare Beauty blush, Hourglass translucent powder, Patrick Ta eyebrow brush, and Benefit brow gel — and I promise to pay her back, but I haven't yet (lol). $159.12
3 p.m. — My mom and I decide to Uber home, but halfway there, we reroute to a luxury department store 10 minutes outside of downtown. There's a pair of jeans my mom has her eye on. She tries on the jeans, but by a miracle neither of us buy anything. My dad picks us up so we don't have to Uber again.
7 p.m. — When I get home, I'm beat from a day of activities. I lounge around on the couch, watching TV and reading my book. I have a snack, but am not hungry for dinner since we ate such a late lunch.
Daily Total: $159.12
9 a.m. — I wake up and immediately do a quick workout from the Form by Sami Clarke app and then make toast for breakfast with my coffee. I sit down at my computer and send out a bunch of emails. I have a few freelance writing deadlines coming up, so I start mapping out my schedule and what I need to get done this week. I'm feeling productive.
1:30 p.m. — I forgot a bunch of beauty products in New York and I wasn't able to get everything I needed from Sephora on Monday, so I head to Ulta. I end up spending way more than I intended to and walk out with a new hair mask, the Ouai hair oil I've been coveting, and more, along with the tanning mitt and foundation brush I actually needed. One of my favorite boutiques is in the same complex, so I cave and head over. I buy a new top, justifying the purchase because my birthday is coming up. A gift to myself! I deserve it! I drive home and walk my dog. We both need the steps. $155.02
7 p.m. — I've been home a few days and still haven't unpacked, so I scarf down a salad for dinner and head up to my room for the task. I spend an hour dilly-dallying before eventually folding all of my clothes. I take a shower and exfoliate so I can finally self tan, but I decide to save the latter task for the morning so I don't mess up my sheets. I try out the new hair mask I bought from Ulta earlier and then climb into bed feeling fresh and clean.
Daily Total: $155.02
Weekly Total: $912.78
Reflection: The best part of my week was feeling productive, whether that was working out, going on a long walk, or getting work done early in the day. Especially after being laid off, it's nice to feel like you're accomplishing things, even if those things are just acts of self care.