I’m 23, Make $45k A Year, & Spent $196 On My Wellness Routine This 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 certified yoga instructor takes herself through yoga flows, shops at the farmers’ market, and dives into a new book.
Age: 23
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: TV producer
Salary: $45,000/year
Editor's note: This diary was written in March 2022.

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I try to start every morning with movement, and Melissa Wood’s short and sweet videos are the perfect way to wake my body up. It’s a subscription that costs $10 a month, and I first subscribed to during the fall of 2020. Prior to the pandemic, my main form of exercise was going to workout classes. Once those all shut down, I had to pivot to at-home options and came across Melissa Wood Health. Taking a few minutes for myself in the morning keeps me feeling grounded and grateful.
12 p.m. — Since I work from home, I try to spend my lunch breaks outside whenever the weather permits as a way to escape my tiny apartment. Thankfully, my one-year-old dog is the perfect excuse to get outside and move around. I listen to an episode of The Skinny Confidential podcast with Lauryn and Michael Bosstick while I walk through the park. It's my favorite walking podcast — they always have on really interesting guests and I end up learning about a totally new topic. It’s the perfect midday pick-me-up. I walk for about 30 minutes and grab a green tea from Starbucks on my way back home. Since too much caffeine can make me anxious, I switch to green tea after my morning cup of coffee. Spending time in the sunshine clears my head and allows me to tackle the rest of the work day confidently. ($4)
7 p.m. — I start to cook dinner, which is therapeutic for me. I cook dinner almost every night and love exploring new recipe books and experimenting with different foods. Tonight, I make Emily Marino’s famous salmon bowl, which consists of rice, salmon, spicy mayo, and sesame seeds. I substitute half the rice for veggies, and tonight I use broccoli and zucchini. I go grocery shopping once per week and spend around $100 each time. I lit a candle in my kitchen to dispel the scent of salmon and listen to a playlist on Spotify. My go-to cooking music is a playlist I curated called "songs that spark joy." It has everything from Jack Johnson to Harry Styles to Post Malone to The Beatles. It always has me dancing around the kitchen like I'm in a Nancy Meyers movie. Overall, the experience left me feeling relaxed, happy, and very full.
Daily Total: $4

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — I’m prone to migraines and wake up with a raging headache this morning. I usually take a magnesium supplement every morning, and I have a Sumatriptan prescription for when the migraine hits. I also keep an icy eye mask in my freezer that I wear when the pain gets intense.
It may sound surprising, but orgasms are really helpful for me to minimize migraine pain. Since my boyfriend slept at my apartment last night, we have sex immediately after waking up to help ease my headache. Outside of the migraine, I tend to enjoy morning sex more than evening sex — it invigorates me and starts my day on a positive and relaxed note. I could feel the pain leaving my body and immediately felt closer to my partner. I feel much better getting out of bed than I did waking up.
1 p.m. — Since it’s raining today and I can’t take my regular walk, I use my lunch break to practice yoga. I got my yoga teaching certificate about two years ago, which was one of the best decisions I ever made. Though I don’t actually teach in a studio, I now feel comfortable leading myself through practice and am much more connected to my body. I do a 45-minute yoga session while wearing one-pound ankle weights for an added challenge. I feel strong and confident after my practice. My morning at work was chaotic, and it feels nice to take a step back and focus on myself and the moment for a while. I hop in the shower to rinse off, which is one of the best benefits of working from home. Nothing beats a midday shower.
8 p.m. — In my eyes, laughter and wellness go hand in hand. I go to see a comedy show with my boyfriend, which is the best way to spend a rainy weeknight. The tickets are $40 each and come with two drink tickets — I chose Sauvignon Blanc. No amount of supplements or essential oils can make me feel as good as a gut-wrenching, tear-jerking belly laugh. Wellness should be fun, and I feel so happy and energized as I head home. The dreary weather and looming work day didn’t distract me from feeling optimistic. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Plus, laughing counts as an ab exercise — right? ($40)
Daily Total: $40

Day Three

8 a.m. — I head out for a three-mile run before work. Pre-pandemic, I hated running — I was a workout-class girl through and through. Once all the studios shut down, I picked up running with my dad as a way to stay in shape and connect with him. Now, two years later, I can’t go more than a couple days without running. It’s become a staple in my life and has been a great way to push my endurance. It’s also a way for me to feel close to my dad, even though we don’t live in the same city anymore. Running is a mental exercise for me as well; I’m able to shut out everything else in my life and just focus on putting one foot in front of another.
The sky is beautiful this morning and I feel so excited that the weather is getting warmer. After my run ends, I feel immediate mental clarity from the endorphins and am proud of my strength.
1 p.m. — Apologies in advance to my dermatologist, but I decide to spend my lunch break sunbathing in the park. As someone who struggles with seasonal depression, I have been awaiting the days where I can bask in the sunlight and feel my worries wash away. Though many think staying OUT of the sun is wellness, for me it’s the opposite. Enjoying the sun is a reminder that I made it through another year of seasonal depression and am that much stronger because of it. Taking this break in my day to step away from work and focus on myself was much needed. I even found myself falling asleep while I was out there — talk about peak relaxation! As I walked home, I was incredibly calm and felt very in tune with my body and mind. It’s amazing the wonders that being in nature can have on my body.
10 p.m. — I’m a notoriously bad sleeper, so when I can feel my anxiety running high I take some CBD gummies. I get the 10mg Anytime CBD Gummies from Highline Wellness. I'll have a gummy once or twice per week, so I end up getting a new bottle every three to four months.
I’ve found the gummies to be less intense than melatonin, and they leave me feeling relaxed and calm, not drowsy the following day. I had a stressful day at work and some drama with friends, and the CBD helps to alleviate the anxiety from my body and will allow me to get a restful sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — Whenever I wake up feeling sluggish, like I did today, I make what I call a “kitchen sink smoothie.” It has 1/2 banana, 1/2 apple, spinach, kale, juice of one lemon, ginger, orange juice, and ice. Essentially, everything but the kitchen sink. It’s consistently delicious and keeps me feeling full and healthy all morning.
12 p.m. — I try to check in on my grandparents once a week, sometimes just to send a quick “love you” text and sometimes for longer chats on the phone. Today, I call my grandpa while walking my dog. I’ve always felt really connected to my grandpa and find myself missing him often since we live far away from one another. Speaking with him always reminds me of the important things in life: love, kindness, and the humor in an old man trying to figure out how to use an iPhone.
8:30 p.m. — I find myself having a lot of energy and anxiety as the day winds down, so I decide to do a quick yoga session to calm my mind and body before bed. I focus on my breath and let my body do whatever movements feel natural. After a 20 minute flow, I feel at ease and ready to hop into bed with a book. Tonight I read Good Morning Monster by Catherine Gildiner.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

9 a.m. — Sunday is my favorite day of the week because my street converts into a farmers’ market. I stroll through the stands and pick out fresh produce for the week: zucchini, eggs, eggplant, tomatoes, strawberries, and the most delicious almond croissant in the world. Balance is everything. ($20)
1 p.m. — Today is a running day — I can feel my body craving movement. There’s a half-marathon race occurring on my regular route, but it ends up being a blessing in disguise because I get to explore a different area of my neighborhood. I run along the river, taking in the spring breeze and feeling grateful that I can be outside without a puffer coat on. I take a long, relaxing bath once I get home to give my legs a rest. For me, no bath is complete without Dr. Bronner's eucalyptus soap. It creates the perfect bubble bath and smells amazing — my tiny bathroom ends up feeling like a spa. My parents have this specific scent of Dr. Bronner's in every bathroom of my childhood house, so the smell always reminds me of home. 
8 p.m. — I try to experiment with a new recipe once a week, and today’s was eggplant parmigiana. I use the eggplant I got at the farmers’ market this morning for the dish, along with the tomatoes for the sauce. My boyfriend plays some music while I cook and we catch up on our respective weekends. I have a record player in my living room that my little brother got me for Christmas last year. Since then, my boyfriend has been adding to my record collection and loves to have them playing in the background while we cook or relax. While he cooks, we listen to a very serene French record by the musician Françoise Hardy.
The whole ambiance is warm and comforting between the scent of a home-cooked meal and feel-good music. The dinner turns out great, and I’ll definitely be making it again.
Daily Total: $20

Day Six

8 a.m. — I start every Monday morning with a 10-minute journal session where I jot down my goals for the week. Whether they're personal or professional, seeing the goals written down helps me create a tangible plan for tackling them. I also list off things I'm grateful for this week, something I'm looking forward to, and a mantra I want to embody. This week, I choose the mantra "having a good day is a choice.” Hopefully it will encourage me to focus on the bright side of things and not get caught up in the small stuff.
1 p.m. — After staring at a computer screen for hours, I'm feeling drowsy by the time lunch hits. A lot of my job requires me to be in a chair with a laptop, so I find myself craving a walk or exercise as the day goes on. I decide to use my break to do a 20-minute Melissa Wood Health standing Pilates video. Integrating short bursts of movement into my day helps keep my mind awake and reinvigorates my body. I follow up the video with a quick walk around the block with my dog to get some fresh air. By the time I sit back down at my desk, I have plenty of energy to finish out the day.
8 p.m. — I try to have one TV-free night a week, and tonight is the night. I cozy up on the couch with a new book I bought from Barnes & Noble, The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley, and a cup of decaffeinated ginger tea. I've always been a big bookworm, but between work and social priorities it can be hard to make time for it. I value my weekly reading night; it's a way to give my eyes a break from screens and immerse myself in another world. After a couple hours of reading, I feel deeply relaxed and ready for bed. I take a CBD gummy and call it a night. ($17)
Daily Total: $17

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — A sunny day means it's time for a run. I wake up and head straight to the park with the latest Glennon Doyle podcast playing in my ears. I'm a big podcast listener and am able to concentrate most on them while I exercise. I decide to mix it up and run through a different area of the park than I regularly do. It’s nice to explore a new route and get some fresh air first thing in the morning. I stop at a coffee shop to pick up an iced matcha on my way home. ($5)
1 p.m. — I have a surprisingly light day at work, so I take advantage of the extra free time to walk to an organic market in my neighborhood and pick up a few things. Besides the fresh produce, one of the best things about this market is that they adore my dog — she tagged along as my companion on the excursion. I snag some apples, clementines, kombucha, salmon, and oat milk before trekking back home. I have no restraint, so I immediately begin sampling what I bought as I unload it into the fridge. After a glass of kombucha and a crunchy apple, I’m full and ready to jump back into the work day. ($30)
8 p.m. — My boyfriend received some exciting news this morning, so I decide to surprise him with a celebratory night out. We head to one of our favorite restaurants and spend the evening sipping wine and indulging in delicious food. Since I cook about 90% of the time, it's always special when I get to enjoy a meal at a restaurant. Nights out of my apartment remind me of why I moved to Manhattan in the first place — the energy and joy I feel here is simply unmatched. Connecting with my boyfriend in this romantic setting is the perfect way to honor his accomplishment and spend quality time together. ($80)
Daily Total: $115
Weekly Total: $196
Reflection: The thing that has the biggest impact in my wellness routine is movement: yoga, running, walking, stretching, anything to get myself away from my desk and back into my body. Movement consistently improves my mental health and I feel my focus improve and my anxieties wash away as I turn my attention to something positive.

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