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 spends her time meditating, working from home, and going to couples' therapy with her partner.
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: PR Manager
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: PR Manager
Editor’s Note: This diary was written in March 2023.
9 a.m. — I know it's been nearly a week since daylight savings time, but I haven’t been able to wake up before 8:30 a.m. which is weird because I’m usually a morning person. But I give myself some grace since it’s Saturday and crawl out of bed closer to 9 a.m. I immediately turn on the kettle to make myself a cup of coffee. I like my coffee with unsweetened almond milk from Trader Joe’s (Bobby Flav approved! I’m obsessed with that app after my mom introduced it to me last year). I settle on my couch for a 10-minute meditation with Headspace. I write in my Five-Minute Journal and slowly wake up.
12 p.m. — Since it’s Saturday, I know the local park will be busy with the farmer’s market, but I want to go for a run before I head out to brunch with a friend. I run for about two and a half miles and head home to shower and have a quick bite to eat before I take my vitamins. I make myself a piece of Ezekiel toast with avocado, drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I wash it down with water mixed in with Beauty Chef’s glow powder and take my supplements to (hopefully!) help lower my high cholesterol.
When I went in for my yearly physical, my bloodwork showed I had high cholesterol. This is hereditary in my family, and something I needed to get in control of. I take Weider Red Yeast Rice Plus 1200mg, Ceylon Cinnamon Capsules 1800mg, Citrus Bergamot Extract 1300 mg, Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine & Ginger 1950mg, and Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract Formula 100 every day after my first meal. All together, they cost around $85. I jump in the shower and run through my morning skincare routine. I use Tatcha Rice Water Face Wash, Pixi Glow Tonic, SkinCeuticals Vitamin C, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer, and EltaMD UV Daily SPF 40 Sunscreen. I decide to go makeup free, but I use my beloved Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyebrow brush to clean up my eyebrows. I get dressed and finish it off with a few sprays of my Le Labo Jasmine 17 perfume (Valentine’s Day gift from my partner, M.).
5 p.m. — At brunch, I treat myself to fried chicken with a side of honey biscuits and homemade coleslaw ($36). Afterwards, my friend and I head out to return a few of our recent online purchases. I had to return a black silk skirt to Aritzia and my friend needed to stop by Reformation to exchange a pair of jeans. After an hour or two of shopping (just window shopping for me) I can feel my energy levels dropping so we stop by a coffee shop. I order a café au lait with almond milk ($4.75). After wandering a bit more, my friend has to head out, so we say our goodbyes and I make my way home on the subway ($5.50). Even after my second coffee I’m still tired, so I know I’m in for a cozy night on the couch watching a movie. I’m not that hungry when I get home, so I snack on an apple and peanut butter for dinner.
When it’s time for bed, I start my night skincare routine. I use Tatcha Rice Water Face Wash, Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol treatment, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer and Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in Berry. $53.11
Daily Total: $53.11
7:30 a.m. — I didn’t sleep well, but force myself out of bed because I have an 11 a.m. acupuncture appointment in the city. I have been getting acupuncture done for nearly six years to help regulate my menstrual cycle. In my early 20’s, I went over two years without my period and, after trying different types of birth control recommended by my gynecologists, nothing was working. My mom had been pushing me to try out acupuncture and to this day it has been the only method that has worked for me. I get my period regularly, which is incredible.
I get out of bed and put the kettle on for coffee. While I wait for the water to boil, I journal and then roll out my yoga mat. I open The Pilates Class app on my phone and opt for a 20-minute stretch class. I started The Pilates Class during the first few months of the pandemic, and I’m addicted. I love how soothing Jacqui Kingswell’s voice is (she’s an Aussie like M.!). I choose a shorter class option because I’m on a time crunch and I sip my coffee with almond milk during class. I rinse off in the shower, do my skincare routine, get dressed and head out the door.
12 p.m. — I just finished up an hour of acupuncture and I feel so good. It’s so relaxing to lay there without any distractions and one of the best parts is my acupuncturist puts heating lamps over my body to warm up the needle points. This was extra delicious today because it’s freezing outside. Another great part of my acupuncture practice is that it’s covered in full by my health insurance. I get 30 visits per calendar year. However, I am starving. I rush home on the subway ($5.50 roundtrip) to make lunch and take my supplements and vitamins. Lunch today is a stir fry of tofu, cabbage, chopped white onion, and edamame beans sautéed in olive oil and Bragg Liquid Aminos. I scoop out half an avocado to put on top. I settle on my couch to enjoy lunch and watch a movie to relax. I am still tired from my restless night of sleep. $5.50
7 p.m. — I decide to take a break from screens and switch over to reading — I want to finish The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave by the end of the weekend. By early evening, I finished the book! I’m starting to feel a little peckish so I start making dinner. I text M. if he wants me to save him dinner since he’s coming home tonight — he’s a commercial airline pilot so he’s gone quite a bit. This coming week, he has only one day off before our vacation next week. We are treating ourselves to a few sunny days at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale then heading to northern California for a wedding. I enjoy a simple bowl of organic linguini pasta with olive oil, salt, and pepper followed by a hot cup of ginger tea before I start my evening skincare routine and call it an early night.
Daily Total: $5.50
7:30 a.m. — I’m letting M. sleep in this morning since he got in late last night and today is his day off. I make coffee, write in my Five-Minute Journal, do a quick Headspace meditation, and start a 35-minute Pilates class on my app. My workday normally starts at 9 a.m. and I’m still working from home, which makes my morning routine very enjoyable. We have the option to go into the office, which is nice if I feel like I need a bit of socializing. It does get tough with M. gone for work and dealing with the isolation with working remotely, but for the most part I enjoy it.
11:30 a.m. — M. is up and we make breakfast. He loves the avocado toast I’ve been making with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and cayenne pepper, but he likes to add Vegemite on his toast and top it off with feta cheese. Being from Australia, he is a big Vegemite fan and if I’m going to be honest, I really like it too! I take my vitamins and supplements, my Beauty Chef Glow Powder with water and settle in for a few hours of back-to-back calls at my desk. I take a break in between calls to take a hot shower, do my skincare routine and relax for a bit.
5 p.m. — By this time, M. and I are both starving, so I head out to buy a few things for dinner. I also need to drop off my book at the library. I pick up a rotisserie chicken that I think will pair well with the roasted potatoes and sautéed veggies I was planning on cooking, along with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. $47.97
When M. is home, we like to enjoy our time together as much as possible so try to do a few “date nights'' a week. I get home and start cooking dinner while sipping a glass of wine. I also hop on Amazon to order a few things such as blue light glasses and pill organizer for my vitamins when we travel next week. M. and I enjoy dinner and wine while catching up. I pop two Excedrin before bed (just in case of a little hangover. I don’t drink often and even if it’s just two glasses of wine, I can wake up with a headache) and do my night skincare routine.
Daily Total: $47.97
8 a.m. — M. left super early this morning for work so I give him a kiss goodbye and fall back to sleep. When I wake up a few hours later, I remember we ran out of coffee at our apartment, so I head out to a local café. I can’t believe how expensive a cup of coffee is! I order a large café au lait with almond milk. It’s beautiful weather outside and I try to enjoy every second of the fresh air because I know it’s going to be a busy day at work. $4.75
11:30 a.m. — I’m super hungry so I whip together a bowl of oatmeal topped with frozen raspberries, honey, and cinnamon. It is so delicious and exactly what the doctor ordered. I know oatmeal is good for cholesterol, so I try to eat it as much as I can. I’ve been so busy this morning with work that I skipped my morning meditation but I made time to write in my Five-Minute Journal. After I finished eating, I took my vitamins and supplements and washed it down with Beauty Chef Glow Powder mixed in water. I hop back online and settle back into work and an inbox of emails. We have a few campaigns going live in the next few weeks, so everything is urgent.
5 p.m. — I need some fresh air, so I head out for a three-mile run. This is one of the reasons I love working from home: I can truly live out the work/life balance dream and take breaks that are beneficial to my overall wellbeing. When I get back from my run, I log back online to make sure I didn’t miss anything major for work. All looks well, so I switch gears to a little online shopping for our vacation next week. I can’t stop thinking about a cute pair of white linen pants I saw on Aritzia’s website, so I finally pull the trigger and place the order. I make myself a light chopped salad for dinner with leftover rotisserie chicken from the other night. I finish up a few things for work, rinse off from my run, do my night skincare routine, and get into bed. I scroll on YouTube and Instagram while I try to fall asleep. $88
Daily Total: $92.75
7 a.m. — Another restless night of sleep. I’m trying not to worry about it because I know these things happen from time to time. Maybe I need to do more reading before bed instead of scrolling on my phone. I suddenly remember we still don’t have coffee. I pull myself out of bed and get ready to head out to buy a coffee bag from the cafe we love. The best part is every time you buy a bag of coffee from this spot, you get a free cup of drip coffee so I ask for mine with steamed almond milk (my go-to order). I get home and head up to our rooftop to enjoy the fresh air with my coffee before work. I also do a 10-minute meditation to feel more energized. After getting back to my apartment, I hop online to start my workday and then decide I need breakfast. I make two pieces of Ezekiel toast with my avocado and toppings. It’s not getting old! I run through my vitamin/supplement/Beauty Chef Glow Powder routine because consistency is key. $16
2 p.m. — I’m so tired and work isn’t putting me in the best mood. My manager makes a comment that I’m a little snappy today which I apologize for. I decide to take a break and hop in the shower hoping it will make me feel better. After my shower, I snack on a bowl of chickpeas, cucumber, and tomato and sip on a Lemon Elderflower Soda from Trader Joe’s to see if that helps my mood. I finally get to my skincare routine minus the sunscreen since I’m most likely not going to have time to go on a run.
6 p.m. — I finish an hour-long session with my therapist who I’ve been seeing for three years now. I love having a space dedicated to all the things I find it hard to talk about on a day-to-day basis. My therapy has been a catalyst for my mindful and meditation work, which I’m grateful for. My health insurance covers therapy but I have a co-pay of $30 per session. I call M. while I make dinner. He has a 24-hour layover in Mexico City (I’m so jealous!) but will be home tomorrow night. I make another chopped salad for dinner and have a craving for oatmeal cookies. I decide I will make those later in the week when M. is home so he can enjoy them too. I hop on the couch and watch the new episode of Ted Lasso — now this is something I can’t wait for M. to get home for because it’s too tempting to not watch! Ted Lasso always makes me feel better. I do some light stretches while browsing the internet on my phone, do my night skincare routine and get into bed. The book at the library I have on hold isn’t available yet, so I read a few pages from my Rupi Kaur book, Homebody, to see if that helps me get to sleep faster. $30
Daily Total: $46
7:30 a.m. — Reading right before bed must have worked because I sleep much better and wake up feeling refreshed. I browse on my phone for a little bit, then get up to make coffee. I jump right into a yoga-inspired class on The Pilates Class app to help me wake up. I don’t know why, but the class is a bit tough for me this morning. In college, I did yoga every week but as I’m getting older, I can feel my body stiffen especially in my hips and inner thighs. I need to do more stretching. After class, I rinse off in the shower and do my skincare routine. I use Jergens Natural Glow lotion on my arms, legs and chest to help give me a hint of color before our vacation next week.
11 a.m. — I’m about to enter back-to-back calls for a few hours, so I make oatmeal topped with frozen raspberries, honey, and cinnamon. I give M. a call to wish him good morning then do a quick Headspace semi-guided meditation to help me get centered and wash my vitamins/supplements with my water and my powder.
6 p.m. — I am finally done with work! I need to get a walk in and fresh air, so I step out to Whole Foods to pick up a few things for dinner tonight and tomorrow. I buy two lemons, two bananas for smoothies, a protein bar, and for tonight’s dinner I decide on a prepared spicy tuna sushi roll, a peanut butter cookie, and a sparkling strawberry and basil flavored soda. When I get home, I see that my Aritzia order had been delivered so I rush into my apartment to try on the white linen pants I purchased. They fit great! The bummer is that they are a touch long on me. I am only 5 feet tall so it’s nothing that platform heels can’t fix. I celebrate by plopping on the couch, turning on a movie and enjoying my dinner and peanut butter cookie for dessert. $26.97
Daily Total: $26.97
7:30 a.m. — M. got home late again last night, so I let him sleep in. I wake up to make coffee and meditate. It’s my last day of work before our vacation next week, so I’m excited. I write in my Five-Minute Journal and sip my coffee with almond milk to ease into the day. M. and I are going to be going out to dinner tonight for Mexican (my favorite) so I decide on a raspberry smoothie with banana, peanut butter, a splash of flax seed oil, and a spoonful of Beauty Chef’s Glow Powder with water for breakfast. I top my smoothie with raw oats and honey. It’s so yummy. Once I’m done with my smoothie, I get through my vitamin/supplement schedule followed by my skincare routine.
1 p.m. — I take a break from work and head upstairs to our building’s gym for a workout on the treadmill. We don’t pay extra for access to the gym, which is nice. I love doing 30-40 minutes of a steep incline at a 3.5 or 4.0 pace. I recently learned there is a trending TikTok treadmill workout called the 12-3-30 which is basically what I do but I had no idea it was a thing! When I get back to the apartment, M. and I share the protein bar I had bought at Whole Foods last night and I rinse off in the shower before I log back online.
5 p.m. — M. and I just finished up a couple’s therapy session. We pay out of pocket for this — it’s $75 so we each pay $37.50 each. This has been our third session and so far, I think it’s been helpful for us. Our communication has needed work for a while and it’s nice to have a third person’s perspective on it. I love that M. is open to therapy and willing to work on our relationship. It’s something that I am no longer ashamed to admit and hope this helps others who need support as well. We head out for an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street from us. We order chips and salsa to start, along with a Modelo beer for M. and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for me. M. orders steak fajitas and a fish taco and I decide on a fish burrito. We do another round of drinks as well during dinner. It was exactly what the doctor ordered! The bill was $120 and we split it down the middle ($60).After dinner, I buy a few pieces of candy for us to share and we head home ($9.38). We turn on Parks and Rec and snack on the candy before calling it a night.
Daily Total: $106.88
Weekly Total: $379.18
Reflection: I have always enjoyed taking care of myself and my wellbeing, but my general philosophy is focused on balance. I try to implement the 80/20 rule where I maintain a fairly strict routine of healthy eating and daily exercise. However, I allow myself to indulge in an occasional cheeky meal or a few glasses of wine. I think my weekly therapy sessions have worked wonders for me and my relationships. Things that are negative in my routine and my daily life do not have such a harsh impact on my being as they once did. I love having a space that is safe not only for me but my marriage and partner.