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 writer living in the Midwest tries to replace coffee with lemon water, prioritizes comfy clothes, and spends some leisurely time by the lake. All figures are in USD.
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $250,000 USD (does not include husband’s salary)
7:15 a.m. — I’m trying to kick a bad caffeine habit this week, so I roll out of bed and head to the kitchen for a tall glass of tepid water with lemon. I find that it makes me feel a little better than having all that cream and sugar hit my stomach first thing with my coffee, but I still find myself reaching for one of Verve Coffee’s Seabright pour over Dripkits ($3.10 each) about 45 minutes later. Baby steps, I tell myself.
7:45 a.m. — I work from home, so I take a quick shower and change into a fresh set of loungewear before settling into work for the day. Today I opt for comfort today (no video calls!) and put on a few new items: a pair of Feat joggers ($89) and an ultra-soft hoodie from Aviator Nation ($168). I’m pleasantly surprised to find they’re both insanely soft and comfortable.
12:30 p.m. — I’m feeling stiff and grumpy after sitting in my chair all morning doing work, so I opt for a 20-minute stretch and meditation session using the DownDog app during my break for lunch (which is well worth the price tag.)
7:30 am — I don’t have time for a full shower this morning before my first meeting, so I do some quick damage control: I wash my face with Town & Anchor’s vegan cleansing mylk ($35) and top it off with their Restorative oil ($39) that’s massaged into my face using their Gua Sha stone ($27). Once that’s absorbed, I put on a hasty smattering of foundation and mascara (and call it good enough.)
3:45 pm — I’ve had a crazy busy day, and I’m feeling super wired. I need to exert myself so I can relax in the evening portion of my day. I grab my laptop and head downstairs to put on a LEKFIT “It’s Bounce” workout and hop up onto my JumpSport Rebounder ($199). It’s intense, and I’m sweating after three minutes. But when I finish at the 50-minute mark (I’m now soaked and exhausted) I feel like a different person. Mission accomplished.
8:00 a.m. — I slept poorly last night, so I’m getting a late start to the day. I throw on a pair of Nike leggings I got from Bandier ($90) — I like how the compression makes me feel a bit more grounded — and a comfy top from UpWest and plop down in my desk chair with a cup of coffee. I put a few drops of French Lavender essential oil into my Hyku diffuser ($40 for their kit), hoping the scent will ease the headache I feel beginning behind my eyes.
2:45 p.m. — I find myself with a surprisingly open and task-free afternoon, so I grab my Impala Rollerskates ($99.95) and head out to a paved walking path to soak up some sunshine. This is a new hobby for me, but I love the way it makes me feel (and the fact that it’s exercise that doesn’t feel like work.) I skate for an hour and then head back home to finish out my day.
8:00 p.m. — Tonight my husband and I spend the evening sitting outside on the back porch, and I’ve made us some cocktails using Haus Peach Passion Fruit apéritif ($35) and sparkling soda. I feel myself unwind as the drink goes down, and I settle into a good book on the outdoor sofa.
8:30 p.m. — I’ve got a few video calls coming up in the coming days, so I take an evening shower and re-apply my fake tan after I’ve exfoliated. I use Josie Maran’s Summer Skin Glow Duo ($70) and leave it on overnight to wash off in the morning. I like the evenness it provides to my normally fair and uneven skin — it gives me a boost of confidence that I can’t really explain.
10:30 a.m. — Having finished my current stack, I head to the local library to grab some new books. I’ve been trying to include a title from the self-help section with each batch, as it helps me exercise my empathy/good mental health muscles. Today I grab Byron Katie’s Loving What Is ($0 with my library card.)
3:00 p.m. — It’s a gorgeous afternoon, so I load up my inflatable stand-up paddle board ($999 from Body Glove, but gifted) and head to a nearby lake. I spend a few hours floating and paddling, listening to Khruangbin’s new album in my headphones. I’m completely relaxed.
1:30 p.m. — I decide I’m going to cook a big, delicious meal for dinner tonight, so I start prepping the food and making dessert. There are lots of steps for all of the recipes, but having to focus on them does something nice to my brain — it shuts down my constantly racing thoughts for a few minutes. I lose myself in the process and enjoy the Otis Redding playing through my speakers in the kitchen. Total food cost: $55.
6:00 p.m. — Husband and I sit down to eat the multi-course meal, and it is delicious. I’m full and happy — maybe too full, in fact — so we go for a long walk after dinner is cleaned up.
8:00 p.m. — Another DownDog yoga session (getting use out of that digital membership!), but this time I do it outdoors in the cool night air and bring a cup of warm milk mixed with beam’s CBD powder ($3.33 for one serving) I end the night feeling quite zen and fall asleep easily.
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Reflection: I’ve been too tied to my desk lately, so making a deliberate effort to be outside and enjoy the fall weather was life-giving! When I let these self-care practices fall to the wayside, I get sick — without fail. If I’m not healthy, I can’t work, so maintaining work-life balance and taking care of myself is directly tied to how my business functions. My yoga practices, trampoline workouts, and bike rides seem to produce the most meaningful and noticeable mental effects: I feel a hundred times better mentally and physically on the days I do them compared to the days I don’t.
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