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 takes mental health walks, meditates regularly, and practices gratitude.
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Account executive
Editor’s Note: This diary was written in March 2022.
7 a.m. — I am so exhausted when I wake up. I work the desk at a boutique gym in New York City two to four times per week depending on studio needs and my personal schedule. I work in exchange for free classes and am not paid. I arrive 45 minutes prior to the morning class, take it, and leave after, so in total it’s about one hour and 45 minutes to two hours for a shift, but that includes taking the class.
I moved to New York City about a year ago, and before I got my full-time job in advertising I was working part-time at both Lululemon and this gym. I fell in love with the community at the studio and the practice itself, so when I transitioned to my corporate job the studio manager asked me to stay on as what they call “trade staff.” For me, working at the studio a few days per week keeps me sane in the WFH world. I love having somewhere to go and humans to connect with. The whole team has really become my family in New York since I didn’t know anyone when I moved here.
Going in this morning was truly the last thing I wanted to do, but if there is one thing I know to be true, movement makes everything better. One of my favorite instructors was teaching and it was the best way to kick off the day. It brought me right back home to my body and left me feeling peaceful and alive.
.8:30 a.m. — After my workout, I grab a green juice at Whole Foods. I’m not a regular green juice drinker, but I wanted something fresh and didn’t have smoothie ingredients at home. The juice felt nourishing. ($6)
2 p.m. — I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed from work. I am new to the advertising industry and my team is launching a product, so things are pretty busy. I sometimes get overwhelmed with both the actual demands of executing tasks and still learning the ways of the agency and industry. I wouldn’t say this happens often, but when it creeps in I try to recognize it, ground myself, organize my to-dos, and create a plan for the day (or even just the next hour!).
I take 10 minutes to put on some music, focus on my breath, and take my eyes off the screen. This makes me feel so good. I have a playlist of calm music I really love the lyrics to, and I like to put that on and just focus on my breath. I don’t necessarily follow a pattern, I just bring all my awareness to my breath and try to focus my attention to the space between my eyebrows.
Daily Total: $6
7 a.m. — I wake up and go for a four-mile run on the West Side Highway. This run was delicious. I really needed to breathe some life into my lungs, legs, and heart, and this was the perfect way to start my day. There is nothing like setting my phone on do not disturb, putting on a great playlist, and moving my body. I run somewhat consistently, a couple times per week. I’m gearing up to begin training for the NYC Marathon, so it’s definitely on the forefront of my mind.
I love to make specific playlists for my runs, that’s the fun part for me! I like to think of it like I’m making a playlist for a spin class or something. Sometimes I’ll do a Taylor Swift-themed run or all songs from my middle-school years. On any given playlist there could be U2, The Chicks, Florence and the Machine, old-school Aviici, Taylor Swift, and Mac Miller, to name a few.
8:30 a.m. — I sometimes fall into a morning rush and don’t take the time to put on body lotion after my shower. Today, I made time to do it. As silly and maybe simple as it sounds, taking the time on a weekday to let lotion sink into my skin while drinking a cup of coffee feels so luxurious. I got a new lotion yesterday from the gym I work at, and it smells and feels so good. ($19)
11 a.m. — I blend up a Daily Harvest Tart Cherry and Raspberry smoothie as a mid-morning snack. These smoothies are so delicious and easy to make. It’s light and refreshing and feels nourishing! I get Daily Harvest every so often, maybe once or twice a month. The box is around $50 — I only get a small box because my freezer is tiny.
Daily Total: $19
7 a.m. — Another workout at the gym. There’s nothing like kicking off a Friday with a heart-pumping workout class, good friends, and great music. This class brought me back to my body, put me in a joyful mood, and made me feel alive.
1 p.m. — I do a quick ten-minute meditation. I have a “toolkit” of learnings I’ve picked up from podcasts, group fitness classes, and conversations with friends over the past few years that I access when I need it. For example, in the cool-down from a group fitness class I took a few months ago, the instructor told the class to close our eyes and imagine the tiny holes our eyelashes grow from in our eyelids. Little, tiny things like that offer a starting point for meditations for me. I’ll set a 10-minute timer and go from there.
Focusing on my breath always helps me feel more aligned. I’m not the happiest in my job right now (and that’s okay!) but when I’m overwhelmed and not feeling like myself, it’s good to feel like I’m still me. I am not an avid meditator by any means, but taking a few minutes to breathe feels so good.
11 p.m. — A boy I’ve been seeing comes over and stays the night. I’ve never had a boyfriend or serious long-term relationship, so I’m trying to keep my heart open and explore what I want and value in a relationship. I have been seeing this guy for a couple of months — it’s the longest I’ve consistently dated anyone, so it feels scary and exciting all at the same time. He plans the best dates and we have a good time together. I’m still not sure where I see it going, I feel like I’m still getting to know him and figuring out what I want all at the same time.
Daily Total: $0
12 p.m. — Another day working and working out at the gym. It’s a form of therapy for me. I have been processing and overthinking something in my life so much lately and the gym helps me move through my thoughts and emotions about the situation. It’s a cathartic release.
I have an incredibly difficult time articulating how I feel sometimes, so movement has become a method for processing all kinds of things in my life. It gets me “un-stuck,” for lack of a better term.
1 p.m. — I grab a drip coffee with a splash of half and half for $3.75 and tip a dollar. Then, I meet up with some girlfriends to go on a walk along the West Side Highway. Is there anything better than chatting with girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon with a coffee in hand? This walk made me feel connected to myself and them. ($4.75)
6 p.m. — Tonight, I make a big pot of homemade soup. What can I say? I’m a soup gal. I love throwing leftover veggies into a pot on the stove and making a nourishing soup that will last a few meals. I use butternut squash, pumpkin, onion, veggie broth, and spices. I don’t follow a recipe, and having a homemade soup with good ingredients makes me feel warm and cozy.
I go grocery shopping just about once a week and spend around $75.
Daily Total: $4.75
8 a.m. — Mental health walk, hot girl walk, rich mom walk, whatever we’re calling it these days, I’m here for it. I wake up to the sunniest most spring-like day and walk to get a coffee, same as yesterday. I listen to my favorite podcast, Girls Gotta Eat, and take some time to myself. ($4.75)
9 a.m. — When I get home from my walk, I take some vitamins. I just started taking Omega supplements so I can’t quite report on how they make me feel, but the bottle is so cute and it makes me feel like a wellness girly. I totally fell victim to influencer marketing and got the supplements because I saw them on Instagram. I’m not really one to try a bunch of random pills, but I remember my mom taking fish oil and Omega supplements when I was growing up so I thought I would give these a try.
9 p.m. — I use my vibrator from Goop. Praise be, Ms. Paltrow. This vibrator lives up to all the hype and looks so luxurious. It makes me feel sexy and fun and connected to my body. lf I could give one of these things to everyone I know, I would.
Daily Total: $4.75
7 a.m. — I head to SoulCycle for a class. I go when I can afford it. It’s my favorite treat, and I go maybe once or twice a month. This class I purchased with my wellness stipend from work, so it didn’t cost me anything.
Indoor cycling was the first workout I found that connected me to the world of wellness, moving to music, being in my body — it changed everything for me. As cliche as it sounds, being on a bike in a dark room and peddling with other humans is my favorite thing in the world. This class was incredible in the most “light your soul up” way. The instructor is kind and powerful and badass and soulful. I walk home from the studio and feel joyful and connected and alive. I feel like me.
8:30 a.m. — I’m still buzzing from the SoulCycle class. I get home, put one hand on my heart and the other on my stomach, and take time to breathe and let it all sink in. I honored myself, who woke up early to go to class, and took some time to be grateful for my life.
6 p.m. — I finish up work a bit early, put my Hokas on, and go for a walk with no destination in mind. I love taking time to listen to a podcast — Girls Gotta Eat again — and exploring the neighborhood. It still feels like I’m new to the city and I love wandering down the streets, seeing all the dogs, and finding spray painted sayings and quotes on the sidewalks. This walk is the perfect unwind from the day.
Daily Total: $0
7 a.m. — I head to the gym to work and workout. Getting up and out of bed is so hard, but once I’m there and on a mat there’s no better feeling. I know I’ve already talked about it, but it’s therapy and my absolute favorite way to start the day.
9 a.m. — After the workout, I use a lymphatic drainage paddle on my body. I just started doing this and love how it makes me feel. I’m still working through the best way to use it, but it feels like I’m massaging my whole body, clearing and moving anything that is “stuck.” This thing also makes me feel like I am some type of wellness queen and I love it. It’s a little luxury that is surprisingly inexpensive on Amazon.
6:15 p.m. – I go to a bootcamp-style fitness class. The class is good, but I feel like the pace is too fast for anyone to get the full benefits of each movement and there’s no emphasis on form. I love the music, and there’s no denying the instructor is phenomenal at what he does, but overall it leaves me feeling disconnected. I purchased a class package with the wellness stipend that my work provides annually. Honestly, this use of the stipend is a huge regret. It is so not my jam.
I don’t typically do two workout classes a day. It just depends on my schedule, how I’m feeling, the type of class, and the instructors who are teaching. I always listen to my body, modify when need be, and try to give myself what I need.
Daily Total: $0
Weekly Total: $34.50
Reflection: Movement has had the most positive impact on my wellness routine. Breathing life into my lungs, mindfully moving my body, and allowing myself to feel my own heartbeat is what allows me to show up as the best version of myself.
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