I Live In Australia, Make $17,468 A Year, And Spent $249.53 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. Have your own Feel Good Diary to submit? You can do so here!
Today: A woman who believes It’s important to spend time with loved ones, eat a healthy diet, and do some type of exercise or movement every day.
Age: 22
Location: Sydney, Australia
Occupation: Analyst and university student
Salary: $17,468 (converted from Australian dollars to U.S. dollars)
Day One
7 a.m. — I arrive at my Zumba class, which I pay for through my monthly $34 ClassPass membership. The instructor focuses more on pumping us up than on the actual moves. Normally, I like more energetic movements in the morning, but it’s nice to get my body moving in general. From there I go to work and make a protein shake for breakfast. I got it as a free promotion, and it looks healthy. It turns out to be a little too healthy for me — it tastes like brown sludge and looks like it, too. I manage to down half of it.
5:30 p.m. — I decide to walk home from the train instead of taking the bus today. It’s an extra half an hour of walking, but it’s nice to get some fresh air and extra exercise. It makes me feel productive and clears my head. As I wander, I pass a bakery. I decide to grab a quick savory cheese and sausage bun for $4, because I’ll be eating a late dinner tonight.
6 p.m. — I’ve invited a friend over to make dinner, and together we cook up a sweet-and-sour hot pot with beef, tofu, lots of vegetables, and bean sprouts. It tastes amazing — I’m so full and happy. We have so many leftovers. Added up, the ingredients cost $35. After my friend leaves, my boyfriend and I get into an argument. Usually when I’m not getting along with someone, I like to have a relaxing bath with candles and a Lush bath bomb. Often while I’m in the tub, I write the person I’m not getting along with a message on my phone to get my feelings out. I always delete it without sending it. But tonight, I just go to bed.
Daily Total: $73
Day Two
10 a.m. — For breakfast, I have a greens protein shake with protein powder and milk. ​The protein powder I use is $12, and Milk is 70 cents. I also snack on a free protein and fiber cookie that the guy at the health food store gave me with my purchase. I walk to the post office and to university. I often choose to walk instead of getting the bus, as it is such an easy way to get moving. I’m still a little hungry, and I pass a fresh juice stand. I get a large apple, orange, and lemon fresh juice for $4.89, and it tastes like sunshine. Amazing how little treats like this can pick up my mood.
5 p.m. — I give my apartment a quick clean, as it makes me feel so much better living in a tidy environment. Then I shower and use a moisturizing face mask, which is $3.49, to relax. A friend comes over, and we have the best deep chat. Spending quality time with good friends is truly priceless. I make her a veggie stir fry, and with ingredients already stocked in my kitchen.
9:30 p.m. — I recently started taking burlesque dance classes through ClassPass. The first week was really intimidating, but I went back to push myself. It doesn’t exactly make me work up a sweat, but it’s definitely making me more confident and gets me moving. Lots of body tracing, body rolls, booty shakes, some floor work, facial expression, and oodles of personality! Drawing attention to myself — rather than trying to go unnoticed like I usually do— makes me feel confident. It helps me feel comfortable within my body.
Daily Total: $21.08
Day Three
7 a.m. — I wake up and have my typical greens protein smoothie, but this time I add collagen powder, which is $10.48. As I get off the train at work, people are handing out free roses. I take a yellow one, which makes my day. Sometimes the little things impact your wellness the most. I go to Krispy Kreme and buy a dozen original donuts for my boyfriend for $14. I want to treat him today. Doing things for other people makes me feel useful and needed in their life. Especially with food, it’s a great way to show you care on a day-to-day basis. Acts of service is my love language. Well, that and physical touch.
12 p.m. — I have a Mexican meal I prepped on the weekend for lunch at my desk. I always buy my ingredients and cook in bulk to save time and money. Next, I go to the bathroom, and do a secret stretch in the stall because I sit down all day, which I hear can be bad for you.
7 p.m. — Date night! I meet my boyfriend at a Japanese restaurant for dinner, which he pays for, so it’s free for me. It starts out great, but we end up having a silly fight, and the rest of the night just doesn’t feel the same. We walk along the harbor before going home. The walk makes me feel better, and we really talk the issue out. I try to see the situation from his perspective, and also remind myself of all the positive things he brings to my life.
Daily Total: $24.48
Day Four
6:30 p.m. — I’m meeting my mum for dinner and dancing! The restaurant we go to has a great deal: For only $7, you get tacos, wine, and a salsa lesson. I’m the youngest person there, and I’m pretty nervous about learning the salsa. But all the nerves were for naught — it turns out to be a beginners’ class and I really enjoy it.
10 p.m. — Mum and I leave to go to the next place, and I dance the night away. ​Dance is a great form of release for me. I can take my mind off whatever is happening in my life and solely concentrate on the music. It helps me connect to my body when I can feel the muscles moving. I’m sweaty, but we stayed until the last song of the night — how you know you’re having a good time! I think it’s important for your well-being to let loose like this occasionally. Plus, dancing is free. I feel amazing and my heart is full again. I get home, take a relaxing shower, and tuck my mum into my spare bed. Off to bed for me too.
Daily Total: $7
Day Five
11 a.m. — I wake up to the sun streaming in through my window, and groggily get up. Mum and I decide to go out for breakfast. We meet up with my brother, I get a foot-long chicken sub, and a large apple, orange and lemon juice, all for $10.48.
2 p.m. — My family goes to the local pool together because the weather is so nice. I do a few laps of the breast stroke, then some exercises in the shallow end. I dislocated my knee last year, so it’s nice to do water exercises that put less pressure on it.
7 p.m. — I get the bus to my boyfriend’s house, and we have a relaxing bath together and reconnect over a $3.50 Lush bath bomb (sale price). My boyfriend makes me a delicious meal of Mi Goring with beef strips. It costs $3.50 for a six-pack of noodles, including sauce, and $6.99 for the beef. Spending quality time with loved ones positively affects my mental health. When I feel a deep connection with someone, it leaves me brimming with joy and fulfilled in a way other activities do not. Especially when my partner is the one initiating it, as it makes me feel wanted and appreciated.
Daily Total: $24.47
Day Six
10 a.m. — I drive to Costco to stock up the kitchen. I get lettuce, chicken, marshmallows, veggie chips, mushrooms, and frozen dumplings. I also grab some chocolate truffles and wine for my Pa's 96th birthday celebration later today. This all totals up to about $70.
3 p.m. — I arrive at the nursing home for Pa’s birthday afternoon tea before everyone else. It’s nice to have some one-on-one time with him. My grandma, mum, and brother arrive soon, and we all eat cake and talk. Family is important, and spending time with them is crucial.
6 p.m. — Pa is tired, so we leave and take my grandma out to dinner. She has dementia, but food makes her really happy. I get a prawn cocktail and roast duck with greens and boiled rice for $14. Then, I get the bus to my boyfriend’s and start my meal prep for the week. I make chicken salad with tomatoes, rosemary-infused feta, olives, and cucumber with the ingredients I bought earlier. I fall asleep talking with my boyfriend about some anxiety I have about getting a job after graduating in six months.Talking through this takes some weight off of my shoulders. When I vocalize my worries, they seem more trivial than they do when I go over them in my mind. Often I can see more solutions when I talk an issue through, and my boyfriend often has really different perspectives on things, which can be nice. Also, just being validated makes me feel less crazy and more calm.
Daily Total: $84
Day Seven
6:30 a.m. — I wake up and make myself a $1.50 cheese toastie for breakfast and eat it on the way to work. Then, I grab a coffee from the work kitchen for free. I’ve been halving the amount of office-supplied milk and sugar I add to my morning brew in an attempt to be healthier.
6:30 p.m. — I arrive home and quickly make a chicken and salad dinner for a friend who is coming over tonight. We have known each other since primary school, but she doesn’t reach out as often as I would like. It’s nice to catch up, and we chat about everything. Before bed, I book myself for an F45 Training workout tomorrow after work. This isn’t part of ClassPass, so it’s $14.
Daily Total: $15.50
Weekly Total: $249.53
Reflection: My wellness routine is moderately important to me, but after recording myself for a week, I realized that sometimes I make a big effort, but other days I am just in bed with instant noodles. The biggest roadblock to my personal wellbeing can be my mentality, which often impacts my sleep and productiveness. This is something I’m working on. The most positive impact on my life is exercising and dancing it out. I always feel really social and positive afterwards.
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