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I’m 33, Make $68k A Year, & Had A No Spend Wellness Week

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 in California has a no-spend week as she reevaluates her finances, takes long walks, and meditates.
Age: 33
Location:San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Sylist
Salary: $68,000/year

Day One

8 a.m. — For breakfast, I have avocado on multigrain toast with an egg and Everything But The Bagel seasoning on top. I take my daily supplements: a women's multivitamin, FLO vitamin, and a Goli apple cider vinegar gummy. I stop by Panera Bread for iced coffee. The lovely lady at the counter mentions Panera’s Sip Club promo — when you join, you don’t have to pay for your first month. Free coffee? Sign me up! It was so kind of her to mention the promo to me as she already saw I was ready to pay. My total is now her tip, and I'm feeling inspired to pass on the kindness. $3.99
6 p.m. — My physical activity for today is Yoga for Happy Hips. This program provides modifications and tips that help me with sciatic nerve pain, PMS back aches, and ease myself into the flexibility needed for traditional yoga poses — promoting body positivity and inclusivity.
I am currently freelancing and working from home. Most of my work days consist of me being attached to my computer. I test and analyze user interfacing for brands, I help organize and stylize assets for e-commerce sites, and I look at clothing in person or online for hours on end. I have recently transitioned to working from home full time. This is why I am adamant about going outside and getting fresh air at least once a day. Fresh air and sunlight does the body good — it also gets my creative juices flowing.
10 p.m. — I do my nighttime routine: shower, exfoliate, purple moisturizing hair mask, and Olaplex No.9 hair serum. I put on retinol, a snail facial mask, and take my ashwagandha vitamin supplement.
I am still feeling inspired by the nice lady at Panera today. It prompted a little project for me. I’ve been wanting to start a more financially responsible health journey. Is affordable wellness attainable in San Francisco? Do I really need to spend more money outside of regular expenses to fund my self-care routine? I am on a mission.
Daily Total: $3.99

Day Two

7 a.m. — Surprise! My period came today, earlier than expected. Sometimes with PCOS your cycle is irregular. Luckily, I’m at home. I’m usually prepared, but I think the brain fog is one of my PMS symptoms this time around. I enjoy my early morning six mile walk around the lake. Breathing brisk fresh air, observing the trees, the flowers and the birds. The ground was still wet from last night’s rain.
3:30 p.m. — I am proud of myself for sticking to my meal preps these last few days, but I am also being mindful of my body’s needs. I feel weak after my morning walk. We lose more energy while we’re menstruating, and my hands are shaking like my blood sugar is low. I make the conscious decision to feed myself a little more this week, so I incorporate a small meal between lunch and dinner. Turkey breast on multigrain bread with spinach, avocado and tomatoes. This should fill me up with nutrients, protein, and omega fatty acids for brain fuel. I’m ready to finish the day off strong.
8 p.m. — I reflect on yesterday’s mission to assess my spending, and I am moving forward with a budget mindset. I write down how much I have spent the last few months and my goal is to spend less than that number. Simple enough. Two areas to focus on: eating out and high-priced exercise classes.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7 a.m. — I start the morning journaling a list of things I’m grateful for to set a positive tone. I will carry this forward by taking note of all the small wins throughout the rest of the day.
2 p.m. — I decide to take time to meditate for 20 minutes, which I practice for mindfulness and mental clarity. I follow the theme of gratitude with a guided gratitude meditation and affirmations to show gratefulness for health, home, and happiness.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — I have a protein shake (red velvet with almond milk) after six miles around the lake to curb menstrual hunger, anemia, and low blood sugar. After, I prep my lunch and dinner for the week. I grocery shop around once a week and usually spend $300.
4 p.m. — This morning started very busy and I didn’t have time for a morning activity, so I go for an evening walk instead before nightfall. I manage to have time for two and a half miles and it‘s refreshing to be outdoors after a long work day inside. I’ll probably skip the gym to walk outside often as long as the weather allows. Fresh air and sunshine make much more of a difference for my overall wellness. It is also free!
7 p.m. — For dinner, I have stir-fried chicken breast, string beans, and garlic chili sauce over cauliflower rice. Dessert is a dragon fruit protein drink and ashwagandha vitamins. This is my favorite healthy meal. It is filling, well-balanced, high-protein, and low in carbs. It is quick and easy, and it gets the job done. It is also my comfort food, as I grew up on Asian dishes. The dragon fruit drink was just *chefs kiss* to wrap up the meal, reminiscent of lining up outside of the newest boba shop.
9 p.m. — I reflect on my day. Some alternatives to pricey fitness classes I have found success in is streaming them from YouTube, also a run, jog, or walk outside. The cost of my own punching bag at home is less than the monthly membership at my kickboxing gym.
The costs that I can foresee an increase in are groceries. I have been eating at home solely and I can predict that I would probably need to buy more groceries than usual. For this week, I didn’t see any change. I proudly finished all the greens in my fridge with no food waste. A definite positive change.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8 a.m. — It’s always a great morning after your period has ended. After days of uncomfortable symptoms, a much-needed intimate session is needed. I’m now running late due to the morning activities in bed, so I opt for a quick, protein-packed chocolate shake with almond milk, peanut butter, and coffee. I take my women's multivitamin, FLO vitamin, and Goli apple cider vinegar gummy. I’m feeling rejuvenated this morning — the best I’ve felt in weeks.
3 p.m. — I go for another six mile walk around the lake. Who am I? Is this the Lucky Girl Syndrome every social media platform is talking about? I manage to rid myself of the menstrual bloating fairly quickly this month, possibly thanks to the added protein in my diet. I am loving what I see in the mirror.
6 p.m. — I treat myself to some flourless peanut butter cookies. Today was definitely a feel good day.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

​​7 a.m. — For breakfast I make eggs, tomatoes, onions, and spinach over rice. This is a standard Filipino breakfast with spinach added. Instead of ketchup, I use hot sauce. I’m Feeling good about taking something I love and elevating it to be healthier and meet my needs.
9 a.m. — My physical activity today is some slow, weighted sets for 20 minutes, and the TikTok famous 12/3/30! I set the elliptical to 12 incline, on level 3, for 30 minutes and then cool down. I can see why this is so popular, and I can proudly say I was ahead of the trend. I have been doing this for a few years now (on incline 10) since Bally’s was still around. Some of the ellipticals and treadmills were programmed with similar settings at different names. Long story short, it works! I lost over 40 pounds with PCOS, thanks in part, to this method. The gym at my complex comes "free" with the price of rent.
1 p.m. — For lunch I have overnight oats with about 80 grams of protein (protein powder, almond milk, non-fat greek yogurt, nut butter, oats and chia seeds). I’m feeling well-fed today, listening to Kia Harper, sitting in a good lunchtime vibe. I’m excited for Valentine's Day coming up.Recently, I’ve had a change of schedule and it now allows me to have some extra free time. I am usually busy and don’t get to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

10 a.m. — I sleep in today. When I wake up I do my usual chores like laundry and cleaning. I have no dedicated physical activity today, but folding laundry tends to put a strain on my lower back, so I do just a bit of light stretching. I feel like Michelle Pfeiffer in Cat Woman afterwards. 
2 p.m. — I declutter my mind from last week’s stresses and release the pressure of next week’s responsibilities by meditating. I practice thanking my body for its hard work this week with positive self-talk and affirmations. I reschedule my grocery shopping and errands to the following Tuesday and feel the weight of weekend shopping anxiety lift off of my shoulders.
5 p.m. — Time for dinner. I have steak and shrimp with roasted potatoes, and carrots and brussel sprouts smothered in chimichurri. After I eat, I shower, exfoliate, and use my purple moisturizing hair mask, Olaplex No.9 hair serum. I’m finding out that balance is easier to attain than I expected.
Daily Total: $0
Weekly Total: $0
Reflection: Having PCOS means that wellness is not really a choice. Wellness in all its many facets is of utmost importance. I am working to release stigma, demote toxic diet culture, and promote body positivity. In my career, I have worked in mental health and women's health facilities — even working at one of the busiest hospitals in San Francisco during the pandemic. My goal is to raise awareness about PCOS and help others on their wellness journeys.

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