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I’m A Journalist & This Is How I Spent $358 In A Week On Wellness

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.
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Today: a woman spends her week regrouping after vacation, listening to her body, and going to therapy.
Age: 26
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Journalist
Salary: $75,000/year
Editor’s Note: This diary was written in August 2023.

Day One

10 a.m. — I’m an unapologetic believer that Sundays are bed rot days. Last night, my parents came into the city for dinner and drinks, so my boyfriend and I wake up feeling a little less than our best. I typically cook the majority of my meals at home but I still need to go grocery shopping after a trip to Mexico, so I decide to treat us both to some delivery — two breakfast wraps. I might regret spending on the unnecessary delivery fees and taxes for an otherwise cheaper meal, but for now I have no regrets. $49.47
3 p.m. — I made plans earlier in the week to meet up with two of my friends in Brooklyn to sit by the water and catch up. We have all been like passing ships while taking some summer trips. I take the two mile walk to my friend’s apartment in the Upper East Side. We’re meeting there since we want to take the ferry over on such a beautiful day. She buys my ferry ticket because we have that sort of friendship where we are always spotting each other for the same $10. I’m endlessly grateful for friendships that don’t require nickel and diming one another for five bucks.
5:30 p.m. — We finally make it to Brooklyn after a whirlwind of waiting for the ferry, but the fresh air feels so good that the extra time added on our commute was worth it. Once we arrive, we go to an ice cream shop and I get butter pecan in a waffle cone. I buy my friend’s cone since she bought the ferry tickets. I’m still a little bit dehydrated so I grab a Gatorade from the food cart across the street. $17
Daily Total: $66.47

Day Two

8:30 a.m. — I work from home, so I get to make my morning coffee and all of my meals at home for the day. I love an espresso pod with a splash of almond milk and a touch of vanilla-flavored creamer. The best.
9 p.m. — After I take a breather from logging off from work I eat dinner, which is a random hodgepodge of crackers and tuna. Luxe! I do a quick 20-minute yoga class on the Peloton app to clear my mind a bit. I’m not a huge yoga person but I find it’s a peaceful way to move my body without pushing myself to engage in movement I’m not in the mood for. I try to be really intentional with my movement and never push my body to do a HIIT or cardio workout if I’m not completely feeling it. My Peloton account is on my parents’ shared subscription, so I don’t pay the monthly fee.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — My boyfriend and I wake up early since I need to do a big grocery shop — my fridge is virtually empty after over a week of traveling. I know I’ll need his help carrying my haul the 10 blocks from the grocery store and I want to get ahead of the rush. I make myself a list of meal ideas like homemade Cava bowls, crispy chicken salads, and zucchini and burrata. During the dog days of summer, getting fresh produce is a must for me. I throw some extras like prosciutto and gouda in my cart since I plan to host some friends this weekend and make a mean charcuterie board. I’m always looking for the best deals and comparing meat and produce weights to try and get the best price. Still, for a household of one the total seems a little hefty. Gotta love New York. $135.47
11 p.m. — My body has been strangely achey today, so I do a quick 10-minute Peloton stretch before bed. It feels amazing and I make a mental note to pencil these stretches in more often.
Daily Total: $135.47

Day Four

11:45 a.m. — Once a month I meet with my psychiatrist to chat about my medications and ensure I’ve had no apparent changes in my temperament or side effects of my antidepressants. Today happens to be that day, so the quick 15-minute phone call means I’ll be getting a prescription refill to pick up later. Each of these meetings costs a copay of $30 after insurance, but will be paid for by my FSA. $30
3 p.m. — I also happen to have talk therapy today (these appointments don’t always line up on the same day) which lasts about 50 minutes and is done virtually on Google Meet. After insurance, each therapy appointment costs $30 and will be paid using money I put away into my FSA at the beginning of the year. This session felt like a really good breakthrough, so I don’t even roll my eyes when the bill hits my email. $30
8 p.m. — After a particularly stressful day at work I really want an escape. I decide to put my headphones on and take a Peloton ride at full volume. I opt for a Camila Ramón 30-minute Pop Ride. The playlist is full of Y2K hits I haven’t heard in years and is just what I needed to end the day on a high note. Thank you, Fergie.
Daily Total: $60

Day Five

6:15 p.m. — I know I likely won’t get a full workout in today, so I decide to do a quick five-minute guided meditation on the Peloton app. It feels nice to mindfully relax even if just for five, intentional minutes.
8 p.m. — I’ve gained a lot of happy relationship weight in the past year. My changing body image is a point of anxiety for me so I’ve started to pay for Nuuly, a monthly clothing rental service, so I have clothes I feel confident in. It’s definitely helping with the “look good, feel good” motto my mom taught me growing up. I have a wedding coming up so I opted to rent a dress instead of buying one for that specific event. An added bonus: I gave my friend a referral link last month, so I got a $20 discount off the typical price of $98 and got an extra item to try, so I’ll get seven pieces instead of six. The 20 or so minutes it takes me to look through all of my clothing options and choose my monthly order is always something I look forward to, and having the extra discount this month made it even more fun. A win is a win. $78
Daily Total: $78

Day Six

1:30 p.m. —  I log off of work at 1 p.m. — we get summer Fridays until Labor Day Weekend — and I walk over to CVS to pick up my prescription. After insurance, it costs $3 to buy my next month’s refill. $3
2 p.m. — I’m having my friend and her boyfriend over tomorrow for a game night, so I buy myself a bouquet of flowers from the bodega around the corner to liven up my apartment and match with my Halloween decorations. Yes, I decorate my apartment for fall before September 1. Sue me. $15
Daily Total: $18

Day Seven

11 a.m — I’m having friends over tonight for a chill night of cocktails and board games. I already purchased anything I might need for the charcuterie board earlier this week in my grocery haul and have all of the alcohol and mixers already. My sweet friend offered to bring some mixers and sparkling water since she’s on Accutane right now and isn’t drinking, so she lets me know what additional snacks she’ll be picking up ahead of time. My day consists of tidying up my apartment and getting it nice and clean before hosting, a chore that feels like a mental refresh once it’s done.
Daily Total: $0
Weekly Total: $357.94
Reflection: My finances are my greatest stressor at the current moment, though I try my best to live with an abundance mindset when it comes to the recurring expenses that ultimately help my mental well being. There were some purchases I could have avoided this week, like ordering takeout on a day when I could have cooked at home because in a city like New York, inflation on luxuries like this is apparent. Paying the $78 for a clothing subscription really does feel like a part of my wellness routine since it helps me stay confident and give my evolving body grace. While sometimes it does feel like a cycle of financial stress impacting my mental health which leads me to have to pay for appointments or services that help me feel better, I find peace, however fleeting, knowing that one day I hopefully won’t deal with these stressors on a daily basis.

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