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 full-time graduate student finds peace in daily dog walks, meditations, and quick workouts.
Location: Seymour, CT
Occupation: Grad student
Salary: Roughly $2,400/month from unemployment benefits
This diary was written in October 2020.
9 a.m. — After I woke up and gave my dog some cuddles, I did my skincare routine (wash, tone, serums, and ending with SPF even though I’m going to be inside for the next few hours!) and filled up my big water bottle to know how much water I should drink. I do this every morning to start my day and it gives me a sense of stability and control. During the pandemic, I have become very passionate about taking care of my skin and trying to heal past damage. I like to finish my 48-ounce water bottle within an hour of waking up.
Then, I made some mushroom coffee so I don’t get too jittery, but I do get a nice boost of energy. I use the KOS Sippin’ on Shroom Boom Mushroom Coffee mix, which usually lasts me around a month since I don’t drink it every day. I also added a scoop of Further Foods Marine Collagen Peptides in my coffee for all the amazing health benefits (skin, nails, hair, gut, etc). I always feel more alive and ready to start my tasks of the day after this.
1:30 p.m. — I took a break from working on my computer and to take my dog for a walk. It felt really good to get up and stretch my legs and I was happy to let my dog be outside for a little bit. I’m an online grad student and I’m usually reading or staring at my computer for a big portion of the day. It’s so important to get some fresh air and take movement breaks. When I come back I’m ready to focus and finish my work.
7:30 p.m. — My boyfriend’s aunt was getting rid of one of those exercise trampolines, so he brought it back to our apartment to get some use out of it. I didn’t think I would ever use it, but I decided to give it a try tonight because I need more cardio in my life. I found a 30-minute workout on YouTube and thought it would be a breeze… I was wrong. Very wrong. I was very much struggling through the workout! I felt like I ran a few miles.
Daily Total: $0
12 p.m. — I drank a chocolate vegan protein shake and took my omega-3 (from flax) and probiotic (Arkadiance Multiblend Probiotic + Cranberry) supplements. I have been trying to drink more protein shakes (at least one a day) because I feel that I don’t focus on getting enough protein in my plant-based diet. I use No Cow protein, which lasts around a month. It helps me gain and build muscle now that I’m sticking to working out every week. I take the flaxseed oil capsules to help with my brain health and the probiotic to help with gut health and I like this one specifically because it is also blended to help with urinary health.
7 p.m. — I used my favorite free fitness app, FitOn, and chose a workout. I love this app because it has “bite-size” workouts ranging from 10 to 40 minutes and I’ve found doing shorter workouts help me with motivation. The 20-minute workouts still leave me feeling good and my body feeling tired! Especially the Pilates workouts — they really sneak up on you. It seems like you are doing the most insignificant, little movements, but after 10 minutes you are on fire!
8 p.m. — I took a bath with Epsom salts (a bag is around $15, but it lasts me several months) and essential oils (around $10 a bottle, and they last me a year or more) and lit some candles. I love taking salt baths, especially after working out. It is so relaxing for your mind and your body. I multitasked and read a chapter for my class and had a glass of wine.
Daily Total: $0
11 a.m. — I took my dog for a very long walk around the neighborhood. I like to get my dog tired out so I don’t feel as guilty for sitting in front of the computer doing work all day. It gives me a chance to move as well. I’ve been moving significantly less since becoming unemployed and a student during the pandemic. I love to listen to audiobooks on my walks so I can feel a sense of productivity, because I love reading and listening to books to expand my knowledge or to just be entertained. I have a monthly Audible membership ($14/month, so about $3.50 per week) and put on Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.
1:30 p.m. — I made a veggie wrap and kale salad for lunch. I get all my veggies from a food delivery service called Misfits Market ($25 per box). This company takes all organic produce that is deemed “too ugly” to be sold. I get a box delivered every other week and the produce doesn’t even look that ugly, it’s such a shame how much food gets wasted in our country. After eating a bunch of fresh vegetables, I feel full and energized to start my studying for the afternoon.
3:30 p.m. — My boyfriend and I went on a hike with our dog. It was such a beautiful day today that we just had to get out and walk in the woods. The air was so refreshing and it’s so nice to be out in nature.
Daily Total: $28.50
12 p.m. — My dog has a lot of energy so he needs to exercise at least once a day, and one of his favorite things to do is to go to this park and run around. There’s a baseball field so we always find stray baseballs, and he likes to be chased when he has the baseball. It’s fun to just run around sometimes, I always find myself laughing when we do this.
1 p.m. — I decided to make a salad. I used kale, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion from my Misfits box. I also used a homemade vegan ranch as the dressing. It was really tasty and kept me full for a few hours.
4 p.m. — Time to meditate. I like to pick a guided meditation on YouTube, usually about 10 minutes. I sit on my floor and wear my headphones and completely immerse myself in the video. I always feel really refreshed and calm after doing this.
Daily Total: $0
9 a.m. — I brush my teeth with Georganics Mineral Rich toothpaste ($12.90) which I’ve found has reduced my teeth sensitivity (it also comes in glass packaging, which I love because it’s environmentally friendly). Then I use a homemade mouthwash to kill bacteria (I mix water, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, salt, peppermint essential oil, and tea tree oil). Then I like to scrape my tongue so I don’t have bad breath and to kill more germs in my mouth. My mouth always feels so fresh and clean after.
3 p.m. — The DreamyMoons affirmation cards I ordered from Etsy ($50) finally came in today! I pulled a card at random to focus on, and got “I am at peace with my past.” I didn’t really think anything of it. I then decided to pull a card again to put on my laptop so I could look at it for the rest of the day, and I pulled the same card again! So I guess the universe was trying to tell me that I need to focus on this affirmation and be at peace with my past.
4:30 p.m. — I used the FitOn app again and did an arm workout, I usually do one every Monday. I always feel good after I work out, even if I had to drag myself to the mat.
Daily Total: $62.90
11:30 a.m. — I make oatmeal and a matcha latte with almond milk for breakfast. I like to make my oats with flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, frozen blueberries, a scoop of peanut butter, and a dash of maple syrup. I love this breakfast because it’s delicious and keeps me full for hours. I don’t need to do much school work today so I wanted a more “chill” dose of energy that will last me throughout the day.
12 p.m. — I tried a 10-minute “positive energy” meditation on YouTube and sat in front of my altar in my living room. I have something for all the elements represented: seashells for water, incense for air, candles for fire, and crystals and salt mixed with herbs for Earth. Then I pulled some tarot cards for some clarity on a situation and also pulled an affirmation to focus on for today, and got “I forgive myself and set myself free.” I always feel really refreshed and ready for what the day brings after meditating.
5:45 p.m. – I did a leg workout using the FitOn app again. I like to do those on Tuesdays. Although this one was only 20 minutes, it definitely kicked my ass and I felt good after. I think I’ll definitely be sore tomorrow!
Daily Total: $0
3 p.m. — I took my dog for a long walk, about 2 miles, around my neighborhood because I’ve been working at my computer all morning and we both needed the movement. Like I’ve said before, I love to use this time with my dog to listen to an audiobook, so I cue up the rest of Queenie.
6 p.m. — I did an hour of Yin yoga from a YouTube video because my body is pretty tight and sore. I love practicing this type of yoga at least once a week because I’m doing more strength training now and my body feels amazing after. It’s very slow and relaxing.
7 p.m. — Once again, I took a salt bath with essential oils. I need to do this at least once a week to feel sane. I especially love doing it after I’ve done Yin yoga to make my body feel extra loose and relaxed.
Daily Total: $0
Weekly Total: $91.40
Reflection: Keeping this routine or something similar is very important to me because all of these activities are acts of self-care. Self-care is so important for everyone to keep stress and anxiety levels down and to keep the body, mind, and spirit healthy. Working out and taking walks probably has the biggest impact because I’m not moving as much as I was pre-COVID. It’s important to get in all the movement I can now that I’m sitting in front of my computer most of the time, and scheduling my workouts to be consistent each week has helped me with that.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?