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 in experimenting to find what works for you. She’s says staying active, taking supplements, and expressing emotions have been key to her wellness journey.
Location: San Diego, California
Occupation: Freelance writer, editor, and strategist
Salary: Fluctuating $40,000 to $60,000 per year
8 a.m. — I’m awake, but still in bed working on my “Morning Pages.” Two of my best friends and I are following the 12-week Artist’s Way program together, and one of the mandatory assignments is to sit down every morning and write out three pages of whatever is on your mind. We started January 1, and so far it’s been extremely beneficial when it comes to clearing out my mental clutter and sorting through my feelings. I do my best to meditate after, but I don’t always make it to that step. I’m proud that I’ve been able to stick with the pages, though. The rest of my morning routine includes drinking a big glass of water with a scoop of collagen, which is $11.89 for a bottle that lasts 30 days, and a teaspoon of pink salt, which is $6.99. I think this helps with hydration, and I haven’t been dizzy during workouts since I started doing it. I also take my morning dose of vitamins (more on this soon).
1 p.m. — After a morning of co-working at a coffee shop with another freelancer friend, I get antsy and decide to go to a workout class. I’ve recently joined Barry’s Bootcamp, which offers high-intensity strength classes. Basically, you split your time between running on the treadmill and on the floor, where you do weight-bearing strength exercises. I’ve liked it much more than I expected to; it helps clear my head and I think it’s making me better at rock climbing, which my boyfriend and I do together. It’s $165 for my class package at Barry’s.
6:30 p.m. — I have a CBD oil massage booked at a local spa, which was a gift from my parents that I’ve been waiting to use. I find it hard to unwind for the first part of the massage but ultimately leave tingly and relaxed. I go home, sprawl out in my bed, and fall fast asleep.
Daily total: $183.88
I like the feeling of the sweat dripping off my body. I try to imagine letting all the negative sh*t go this year.
7:30 a.m. — I get up earlier than usual, especially for a weekend day. I’m signed up for a free yoga class in the park, but decide to cancel and run errands instead. I head to the post office, and then to the grocery store to return some vitamins that didn’t work for me. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of supplements lately, some of which have worked well and others which haven’t. Being returned today: A multivitamin with synthetic folic acid (I’m suspicious I have the MTHFR gene mutation, which I’ve heard the folic acid is bad for), Vitamin B-6, and 5-HTP. After stopping to clean out my car, I return home and fervently clean my house while listening to podcasts. I believe it’s good for your wellbeing to be in a clean space.
I take my morning supplements: Moody Bird (which has Vitex and Dong Quai), $25, Maca, $4.99, Ashwaghanda, $8, Rhodiola, $9, Fish oil, $16, milk thistle, $8, a cultured B-complex, $12, calcium with magnesium, $ 10.49 and a Chinese herb mix, $22.50 for 10 days, recommended by my acupuncturist. All in all, those vitamins cost a total of $115.98.
12:30 p.m. — I hit the infrared sauna at a local spa. They’ve sold me on a trial 2-week membership for $49; this is only my second time visiting, but I did experience a marked decrease in anxiety after my first session, so I’m interested in continuing the experiment. Many of my efforts lately focus on supporting my liver and gut health, as well as balancing my hormones. I developed a pretty severe case of premenstrual dysphoric disorder last year, and I finally feel like I’m on the mend. I haven’t had a sip of alcohol in three months and I gave up caffeinated tea about a year ago. I read in the sauna because my phone will overheat if I bring it in there. I like the feeling of the sweat dripping off my body. I try to imagine letting all the negative sh*t go this year.
6 p.m. — I meet up with a potential friend at a coffee shop. I’m new to the city, and friends have been connecting me with their network out here. It’s been hard to feel motivated to meet up with strangers, but it’s the only way to make new friends, right? I order a golden latte, which is a dreamy blend of turmeric, coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon, and honey. I also eat a turkey pesto sandwich with mozzarella. I think of this $18 splurge as self-care, even though my stomach might regret the dairy later. When I get home, I call a friend on the East Coast and we talk for a record three hours. Midway through the call, I brew up some Teeccino dandelion root tea, $3.99, and begin pacing throughout the house to up my step count for the day. Before bed, I take my nightly supplements: more calcium, Moody Bird, a women’s health probiotic that is $31.99 for a month’s supply, and a Vitamin D3+K2 hybrid, which is $18.30 for a 45-day supply.
Daily total: $237.26
8 a.m. — Last night on the phone call, my friend gently pointed out that I could work on my self-compassion. This is an eye-opening revelation that hits home, and I immediately dive in to learning more about self-love and how to treat myself more kindly. When I wake up today, I wash my face, slather on a rose face mask, and do a 20-minute self-compassion meditation to start my day before making a delicious chocolate mint smoothie I saw on Instagram. I use cacao, Moon Juice powder, almond milk, mint extract, spinach, and a frozen banana, and I pulse chocolate chips in at the very end.
My friend has been working at a skincare store and hooking me up with samples, so I didn’t pay for the smoothie supplements or face mask. I also do a quick 15-minute oil pulling session with coconut oil, which costs $11.99 a jar. I believe this benefits oral health. Next, I write my morning pages, and then I head to church. I’m trying out new churches, but I don’t vibe with this new one. It feels very showy to me, but it inspires me to reach out to a woman I met at a different church the week before to see about joining one of their weekly discussion groups. I’m just trying to find the right thing for my spiritual health.
11:30 a.m. — I head to Whole Foods to do some weekly grocery shopping. On our menu this week: Stuffed bell peppers with ground turkey, chicken tortilla soup, and Szechuan chicken with rice. I stock up on REBBL shakes. I particularly love the Maca Mocha, which actually tastes like coffee and makes me feel sharp. I also let myself overpay for one tiny red velvet Mochi ice cream cake, and it is so good. You’ve gotta treat yourself sometimes. I spend a total of $148 on groceries. When I get home, I do a tarot card pull to answer some personal questions and reinvigorate myself for the week ahead. I’m encouraged by the fact the “star” card keeps appearing for me. I hope it means healing will continue across all levels of my life.
4 p.m. — I walk down the street to my local acupuncture clinic. They offer sliding-scale, community-style services, which is great for my varying income as a freelancer these days. I receive treatment for $25, fall asleep for 20 minutes, sit quietly for another 10, and then walk home after it’s over. I do feel like acupuncture has been huge in balancing my hormones and recalibrating my body. This is the first period cycle I’ve been through in a long time in which I’m not having debilitating emotional symptoms.
Daily Total: $184.99
7 a.m. — I’m up early to prepare for a busy day. It’s the beginning of the work week, and this is the day I outline all of my priorities for different clients and strategize how to best get things done with my schedule. This helps me stay level-headed throughout the week, which is an important and a free form of self care.
12 p.m. — I visit the sauna again. I finish a Brené Brown book called The Gifts of Imperfection and start reading An American Marriage. I’m slowly working my way through the books and movies on Obama’s 2018 “Best Of” list, and An American Marriage was recommended by him and Oprah. Reading is both an educational and soothing activity for me.
7 p.m. — I attend the weekly discussion group at a church member’s house — it’s not even so much a church as a spiritual community. It feels a little radical to jump in so fast, but I’ve been feeling pretty isolated, so I’ve been really saying yes to any opportunity to socialize. The women at tonight’s meet up are extremely welcoming, open, and honest, and it encourages me to offer the same in return. I arrive home energized from the evening and excited to share my experience with my boyfriend, who’s home from his trip. Before going to bed, we make our selections for our weekly produce delivery box. We’ve been trying out this $37- per-week service that’s similar to Community Support Agriculture. This week, we select kumquats, pears, and a mushroom assortment. We’ve got a credit for some spoiled oranges we received in the last box, so our total comes out to closer to $30.
Daily total: $30
7:30 a.m. — My boyfriend usually bikes to and from work, but he requests a ride this morning because it’s raining. After I return home, I drink my water, eat and take my vitamins, get ready, write my morning pages, gather my things, and head out the door for a therapy appointment about 30 minutes away.
10 a.m. — My therapist and I’ve been seeing each other for almost two months now. She’s very supportive, observant, and specializes in seeing high-functioning perfectionists. She’s helping me to identify and feel my feelings without fear — she’s also on a sliding scale just like the acupuncture clinic, which is helpful when money doesn’t feel like it’s flowing as much as I’d like. It’s $30 for the session.
4:20 p.m. — I meet a friend at Barry’s Bootcamp for the Abs + Butt class. I prefer to work out earlier in the day, but I go at this time one day a week to be able to meet up with her. We met on a MeetUp group hike and hit it off, and now we’re weekly workout buds. She’s actually the reason I joined Barry’s — I was intimidated to try it, but she encouraged me to give it a go. I’m glad I did.
Daily total: $30
9:30 a.m. — I’m up and at it at Barry’s again, but my body feels much heavier and slower than it did last night. I’m wondering if perhaps back-to-back days of high intensity probably aren’t the best idea for me.
1:30 p.m. — Sauna time! I can tell I’m getting increasingly used to the heat, as I’m not feeling my heart pound as hard toward the end. It also breaks up the day. I’m a writer and editor, and I can only work so many consecutive hours at a time before I need a break. I also tend to be cold-natured, so this kills two birds with one stone — or feeds two birds with one scone, as PETA would have us say.
6 p.m. — We have a good amount of leftovers from cooking the past couple of nights. I made the Szechuan chicken on Monday evening and the stuffed bell peppers Tuesday. We’ve been eating leftovers for lunch, and we’ll do the same tonight. I do a Yoga With Adriene video on YouTube; they’re quick, easy, and I love her personality. It’s become an easy, free way to infuse yoga into my life on a regular basis.
Daily total: $0
9 a.m. — I hit the sauna again before starting my work day!
5 p.m. — I’m exhausted after working, and end up napping. I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the evening. I have a MeetUp with fellow writers to work on an essay about gratitude I’m trying to get published, and then plan to rock climb at the gym afterward with my boyfriend where we have a membership for $85 per month. I make it to the writing meetup, but decide to scrap rock climbing because I don’t get home until 9:30 p.m.. I read An American Marriage again until I fall asleep.
Daily total: $85
Weekly total: $751.13
Reflection: I think everything in my wellness routine works together — I view it all as an expression of energy, sort of like getting it all out there so it doesn't stagnate in my body. I'd say the most negative effects come from me second-guessing or doubting my own strength. All in all, my wellness routine has saved my life.
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