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 takes her wellness routine very seriously and is trying to get back in shape after being diagnosed with collagenous gastritis last year. As a result of her illness, she monitors her diet very carefully and tries to limit processed sugar, gluten, and dairy.
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Account Manager
Day One (Sunday)
11 a.m. — I woke up with a ghastly hangover. I’m pretty sure that’s not how I intended on starting my week, but #balance. Upon rolling around in bed and realizing the headache wasn’t going away, I promptly toggled between Classpass and the MindBody app to figure out how to cure myself. As soon as I saw Exhale Spa had an opening for a massage, I booked it. Definitely pricier than I wanted my Sunday to be, but if I could also use the sauna then it seemed justified.
3 p.m. — I arrive an hour before my massage, eager and ready to sweat out the gin from my best friend’s engagement party the night before, and much to my dismay, the sauna was closed for “repairs.” I head to the waiting room, a dimly lit space, where they play something that sounds Enya-ish and enjoy a cup of ginger tea. It’s everything my stomach needed after a long night. The massage from Steve was pretty great too — I give it two thumbs up. $200 with tip.
7 p.m. — I decided to kill time before heading home, and walked past Beyond Sushi. I realized I was very into the idea of plant based sushi to round out my day of detoxifying my body with massage oils and ginger tea. I couldn’t remember what I had before, so ended up choosing the Miso Noodle soup and a Spicy Mango roll. The soup looked incredible and HUGE! Sadly, I realized that was due to the most tofu I’ve seen in my entire life being packed into the bowl. After doing Whole30 a few years ago, I try to avoid soy, especially processed soy, so tofu is on my list of things to never eat. Once I picked it out, all was right in the world. $20.
Daily Total: $220
6:30 a.m. — I try to do intermittent fasting during the week and usually break my fast around 2 p.m. But I absolutely destroyed my stomach from drinking all weekend, I decide that Monday is going to be my 24 hour fasting day. I wake up, and drink some hot water with lemon in an effort to “start my digestive system.”
11:30 a.m. — Work is insane with back-to-back meetings, so I’m in desperate need of coffee. I go through phases sometimes of drinking hot or iced coffee, but this week I’m on a cold brew kick, despite the below freezing temps in New York City. Also sad to note that after being really sick in the fall, caffeine affects me SO differently than it used to, and I can’t drink a ton without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack. The coffee in my office is super intense, so I head downstairs to Pret to grab a half cold brew, half decaf americano mix. I don’t add almond milk, so it’s still intermittent fasting compliant in my head. $5
7 p.m. — I run out of my last meeting to meet my friend at Higher Dose. Infrared saunas have been a staple for me, and I’ve found that they boost my immune system and calm my nervous system. It’s the perfect combination of meditation and skin purification, and when winter hits, it’s beyond necessary to keep me sane. I’m headed to their location at Equinox in Tribeca, and as I get off the subway I remember I can further fuel my
addiction detoxing by picking up three bottles of Dirty Lemon at The Drug Store. I get Rose and Turmeric for myself, and an extra bottle of Charcoal for the friend I’m meeting. I’m odd and love the taste of all the Dirty Lemon drinks, but understand why some people don’t. I feel so cleansed and reset after drinking them for a few days. The Higher Dose session costs $35 and my total at Dirty Lemon was $40.
Daily Total: $80
10 a.m. — Celery juice time! As I mentioned, I was really ill in the fall and, as a result, had to completely rethink how I consume food. (Too much fiber, for example, isn’t good for me.) My illness forced me to read a ton about nutrition, and I ended up discovering Medical Medium which touts celery juice as an “all powerful gut-healing” tonic. So of course I had to see what all the hubbub was about. I started drinking it every morning on an empty stomach, and all I can say is: Wow. Sugar cravings, gone. Completely. So far I’ve gotten my boss and a few coworkers hooked too, naming our group chat the “Celery Gang’” — yes, I went there. I buy three bags of the vegetable a week and use my Vitamix and nut milk bags to make my own. If I break down all of the ingredients, one glass costs me $9. The Vitamix costs $500 and the nut milk bag costs $11.
2 p.m. — Intermittent fasting yet again. This time I break it with a Blender Bomb, which is a a pre-packaged ball of goodness with nuts and flaxseed. Again, I spent a lot of time researching various food trends. As someone who was previously gluten free for approximately three years and mainly a vegetarian, I’m always trying to find new ways to get enough protein in plant form and discovered these babies. I use one of the cacao, almond butter and coffee Blender Bombs to make my lunch smoothie with a banana, almond milk, cashew butter and frozen cherries. Since I have to watch my fiber, I know this eats into my allotment for the day. So I track everything on MyFitnessPal to make sure I don’t go over my daily fiber limit. However, it’s so worth it since I know it will keep me full until dinner. Most people think I’m crazy saying this, but one little Blender Bomb, which consists of nuts, flax, and honey is unbelievably filling. Blender Bombs cost $25, and can make up to 10 smoothies.
7:30 p.m. — I forgot I had a date. Truthfully, I’m terrible at making events unless it’s on my calendar — and who puts a date on their calendar? This is our first time meeting, and I’m running late. We’re meeting at Ampersand for drinks, and I’m aiming for balance. I decide to order a tequila and soda with lime, since I know a ton of sugar from a mixed drink probably spells trouble for my routine and 7 a.m. workout class the next day. After a really good time with a ton of laughs, I head home and realize dinner didn’t happen. I opt for two pieces of toast and eggs for dinner. Not glamorous at all, but at least it’s healthy and won’t ruin my night.
Daily Total: $520
6 a.m. — Getting back in shape is not a laughing matter. I had surgery last year related to my collagenous gastritis , and wasn’t able to work out for six months! It’s a struggle. I head to P.Volve — a group fitness class that’s similar to pilates or barre — which has become my newest addiction. As someone who played competitive soccer in high school and college, I’m not used to making small and precise movements, and this is definitely a challenge for me. However, it’s the most effective low impact class I’ve taken in the city, so it’s perfect for post-surgery recovery. Since it’s part of my Classpass membership, I love going here; it’s only eight to 10 credits normally. My ClassPass membership costs $16 per month for nine credits or one class per month.
1:30 p.m. — I’m back downtown for client meetings and am STARVING. I hop into Magic Mix in between meetings, and grab their vegan kale caesar salad and a Mexican hot chocolate smoothie with no hemp powder for lunch. As I’m checking out, I noticed their CBD chocolates. These are saved for after my meetings. $25.
9:30 p.m. — It’s been a long day. I like to think that I don’t have a high stress job, but our technology fuels the advertising world, so if something breaks, I manage the pushback from a lot of very angry clients.
CBD edibles are known for their calming properties so I rip open the package I bought earlier in the day and put on a Drunk Elephant Babyfacial mask while listening to music and cleaning my room. I feel very zen, considering the day I had. The masks costs $80.
Daily Total: $121
8:30 a.m. — Apparently I was so zen that I slept through my Barre3 class. I was bummed until I realize that my team has an outing this afternoon, and we’ll be doing a throwback fitness event there. I plan to count that towards my exercise for the day. I’m so excited that I get to leave the office early that I reward myself with a Matcha latte with macadamia nut milk from Cha Cha Matcha $7.
12:30 p.m. — I’m hungrier than I anticipated, so intermittent fasting is a no go for me today. I try to be as mindful as possible when consuming food, but it can be really hard when you’re in a rush. I rummage through our kitchen at work, and find that nothing looks appealing, or healthy, so I head to Juice Press in search of more nutritious options. Remembering we have a team dinner that night, I know I’m going to indulge there, so I want to make sure I’m eating as clean as possible during the day.
Back in the office, I make a piece of gluten-free toast, with some avocado and a side of grapes.
7:30 p.m. — After our throwback fitness activity, we head to a team dinner. Pizza, pasta, salad galore. I indulge in every single bit of it. Plus wine. A lot of wine.
11:30 p.m. — Knowing full well that I ate more fiber than I should have, I take a few digestive enzymes and magnesium supplements when I get home. Fingers are crossed this helps.
Daily Total: $7
9 a.m. — I wake up and my stomach is in complete knots. Nothing feels right. My money is on the wine and pizza as the main culprits. I head to the bodega next door and grab two bottles of The Ginger People with honey to try and repair whatever damage I did to myself the night before. The nausea is overwhelming, and I vow to never do that to myself again. Yeah, right. $12
1 p.m. — My boss is in town and scheduled a massage as part of our holiday gift. We leave the office and head to Great Jones Spa. It was my first time there, and I was overwhelmed with how incredible it was. Literal hidden gem of NYC and I almost don’t want to write about it now in fear of it becoming too popular, but I digress.
Still not feeling well, I take my anti-nausea medicine which I’m prescribed in case of emergencies (this was a dire emergency). I try not to take medicine since I don’t want to throw off my body, so this is a rare occasion for me. Next, I head into the sauna and steam room. It’s such a beautiful space, and in the dead of winter, my body craves the warmth. After sipping on some ginger tea, I head into the hot tub there and wait for my massage time. The eucalyptus oil diffuser in the room is so calming, and I feel instantly relaxed — like the kind of peace when you’re in the zone during yoga. This is such a change from the anxiety I felt earlier, and am finally at ease. I fall asleep during my massage.
7 p.m. — Dinner with friends at Lafayette. With my stomach a bit out of whack from earlier, I initially opt to skip drinks, but then see they have bitters, so I get a modified drink with the bitters included. Again, I’m worried about too much fiber, so I indulge in a few pieces of bread and go in on the cheese plate we order. Their seafood pasta was to die for, and I regret nothing. $80.
Daily Total: $92
9 a.m. — I sleep in. I realize to some this isn’t exactly sleeping in, but for me it is. I stumble upon my journal, which started as my aspiration to document every day beginning on January 1; this resolution fizzled out after about two weeks. I used to go to therapy, and thought this would be a good replacement for resetting my mind and finding inner peace in lieu of talking to my someone. Alas, taking the time out of my day to collect my thoughts somehow became a lower priority after some time. I reach for the journal and begin writing. After three pages, I realize why I used to love it so much in high school, and felt an instant weight lifted off of my chest. Maybe I should try one of those Headspace apps? I sip on my Dirty Lemon, just to really cleanse my body again. My journal cost $15.
1 p.m. — Acupuncture. I’ve been meaning to go for some time to see if the holistic poking and prodding of needles was actually as good as people say. I walk into the Flatiron building and it’s the most calming environment. This has truly been a week of wellness for me, with two massages and now acupuncture. After sipping on some tea, I’m led back into a private room. After the consultation with my technician, who listens to me complain about my stomach pain, I lie down on my stomach. She then starts to carefully insert the tiniest needles in my feet, legs, stomach, arms, and face. YES, MY FACE. I looked like one of those voodoo dolls, but I hope this will be a positive stabbing experience — not someone cursing me for something I did on the playground as a kid. What happened next is almost impossible to describe: I transcended into the most blissful and relaxed state I’ve ever felt. Once my session was over and the floating feeling subsided, my body felt lighter and I had a ton of energy. I could’ve skipped down the streets of NYC belting a song from the top of my lungs, but I refrained. My stomach was no longer in knots and my mind felt clearer. I pay for my session and also buy the monthly membership. $140.
5 p.m. — Post surgery, I’ve been trying all sorts of things to reset my body and ensure I’m healthy. As a part of that journey and commitment to myself, I stumbled upon lymphatic drainage massages. IMD Beauty Spa has been my saving grace the past few months. I go to IMD every other week, and have seen and felt tremendous improvements in my health and body.
After a bad week, I feel so swollen and the massage helps me push all of the toxins out of my body. We start with a magnesium seaweed wrap and then head to the sauna. I’m a naturally cold person, so I don’t start sweating until about 35 minutes in. After Irani (my favorite!) checks on me a few times to make sure I’m sweating, I head back to the private room to let her do her magic. She starts with my feet and massages up, to push everything in my legs to the lymph nodes in my groin, she tells me. It’s not painful until she whips out the bamboo roller. What can I say — beauty is pain. Next she works on my stomach and then my arms. When I leave my pants instantly feel baggy, but more importantly, I feel refreshed. I have a five pack of massages that I already paid upfront, which works out to around $230 per session.
Daily Total: $385
Self-Reflection: I really enjoy experimenting with new wellness trends, even if they’re old and I’m just becoming aware of them, such as acupuncture. As long as I feel like something makes a difference in my life, I’m happy to incorporate it into my routine moving forward. My overall goal is to make sure my health can keep up with my busy lifestyle.
Weekly Total: $1,425
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Source: Refinery29 – You