How an NYU Drama Student Spent $1,000 on Wellness

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What if you had $1,000 to spend on your health?

Welcome to Wellness Diaries. In this series, we send readers $1,000 to splurge on any product, service, or experience—as long as it’s something that can enhance health. (Any leftover cash is donated to a charity of the diarist’s choice.)

This month, we shipped Wellness Diaries off to university and awarded the funds to four college students. 

Why? College can be an expensive and challenging time to prioritize wellbeing. A lot of healthy practices are free (so many on-campus climbing walls!) but many assists come at a cost. We selected students who did the research to find products to make their university experience a little healthier, surfacing products and experiences unique to their wellness journeys and stages in life. These picks aren’t unique to the university experience, though—there’s something for everyone.

In this diary, we have drama major Sònia Victoria Werner—Victoria for short. She spent her money on a Thrive Market membership, a hot water bottle, and chasteberry supplements.

Sònia Victoria Werner Headshot

Meet Victoria

Sònia Victoria Werner (she/her), or Victoria for short, is a drama student at New York University. She’s also a multilingual multi-hyphenate artist, teacher, advocate, and coach aiming to bridge arts and wellness by facilitating fruitful collaboration and sparking honest dialogue.

Her Diary

$249 Earbuds

Product Image: Apple 2nd Generation AirPods Pro

Apple 2nd Generation AirPods Pro

A big part of wellness for me is music! When I first bought myself Airpods back in 2019, I knew I was investing in my self-care and wellness and I listened to music incessantly. It’s a huge way of grounding myself throughout the day, boosting my mood, waking me up, and engaging with joy on my walks to class. Also in 2019, I was struggling with insomnia. I cannot tell you how much my airpods changed my sleep game! I used to scour Youtube before bed for soundscapes or calming sleep meditations. My airpods had me falling asleep in half the time.

I’m asking for airpods this time because one of my 2019 pods was stolen from the case, so I’ve been relying on one airpod in my day-to-day life. I also love these specific ones because of their noise cancellation capabilities, which will help me study and focus during the day and fall asleep soundly at night!

$18.75 Nuts & Seeds

Product Image: Linwoods Organic Milled Flaxseed, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, and CoQ10

Linwoods Organic Milled Flaxseed, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, and CoQ10

I am a smoothie LOVER and I like to make myself one every morning to incorporate a great amount of nutrition in my day! However, I’m always looking for ways to upgrade my smoothies and/or add some omega-3’s (as I don’t eat any seafood) to my day. This seems to be the perfect way to do just that.

$35 Electric Shaver

Product Image: Philips SatinShave Advanced Women’s Electric Shaver + Accessories

Philips SatinShave Advanced Women’s Electric Shaver + Accessories

My disposable razors have failed me one too many time, and spending hours of my week going over the same areas is the opposite of self-care! I’ve read great things about this razor and I have extremely sensitive skin that is prone to razor bumps and ingrown hair (boo!). I’d love to try this one out to help protect my skin, prevent painful razor bumps, and spend less time on shaving every week.

$11.78 Vitamin B6

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin B6 Tablets (2 Bottles)

My psychiatrist recommended taking Vitamin B6 to help with mood and energy, and it’s helped a lot! I’d love to try out this affordable brand and continue investing in my mental wellness.

$9.11 Chasteberry Supplements

Product Image: Nature’s Answer Chasteberry Vitex Agnus-Castus Capsules

Nature’s Answer Chasteberry Vitex Agnus-Castus Capsules

My psychiatrist also recommended that I try out chasteberry to help with some hormonal imbalances I’m facing. I’m about to run out, so I’d love to invest in this brand which seems to be natural and ethically sourced!

$6.29 Chia Seeds

Product Image: Carrington Farms Organic Chia Seeds

Carrington Farms Organic Chia Seeds

I freakin’ LOVE chia seeds. I add them to my water, smoothies, and basically everything for Omega 3’s and fatty acids. I also want to learn to make chia pudding… These organic ones are sourced and sold by a small business. What’s not to love?

$84.95 for Groceries

Product Image: Thrive Market eGift Card

Thrive Market eGift Card

A big part of nutrition for me is buying healthy foods. Thrive gets me the most bang for my buck (hello price matching)! However, with limited funds for groceries, I often have to skip out on fresh items I love, like fresh fruits and probiotic yogurts. With this membership, I’d buy everything from fresh fruits and veggies to frozen items that’ll last me through the semester.

$113.97 Self-Care Box Subscription

Product Image: TheraBox Three Month Plan

TheraBox Three Month Plan

There are months where I feel I need to go, go, go and put self-care as second priority. However, this box truly inspired me. For the next three months, getting a little gift box in the mail full of things that make the barrier to self care so low will remind me to TAKE A DANG BREAK! On a personal note, I’ve never been able to afford any of these subscription boxes myself, and I thought this one could be a treat I’ve never before experienced :,)

$9.99 Hot Water Bag

Product Image: ANMIA Hot Water Bag with Cover (Pink)

ANMIA Hot Water Bag with Cover (Pink)

To help with cramps, back pains, and muscle pains. This is going to be a lifesaver, especially during winter! I miss the one I grew up with. Alas, it’s now in my childhood home in my little brother’s hands.

$52 Face Cream

Product Image: Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream

Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream

This past summer, a new skincare product turned into a hidden allergy and gave me intense rashes and messed up my skin barrier. I tried Cerave, Vaseline, everything under the sun to repair it. Then, a Sephora employee recommended Skinfix+. I got a mini sample and it was the only thing that actually made a difference in helping repair my skin. I didn’t have it in the budget before, but I’d love to own my own full-size jar and commit to repairing my skin barrier throughout the cold, dry winter. I’ve been trying to invest in clean beauty as well, so this would be amazing to try out!

$10 Floss

Product Image: COCOFLOSS Coconut-Oil Infused Woven Dental Floss (Delicious Mint)

COCOFLOSS Coconut-Oil Infused Woven Dental Floss (Delicious Mint)

I’m desperately trying to floss more, and my dentist recommended I try out COCOfloss. It was designed by a dentist and supposedly works like no other floss. I’d love to try it out and commit to flossing more!

$69.99 Meditation App Subscription

Product Image: Headspace 1 Year Subscription

Headspace 1 Year Subscription

I’ve suffered from insomnia for quite a bit, but it’s gotten a lot better recently as I’ve incorporated meditation into my routine. I usually use Youtube videos, and while they are helpful, they get repetitive. I’d like to try more mindful, targeted meditations to start off my day, reduce my anxiety, help me fall asleep, and incorporate gratitude more into my daily life. I’ve read amazing things about Calm and Headspace. Headspace seems to be more user friendly and better for beginners (aka me) so I thought I’d take a stab at it.

$150 Sephora Haul

Product Image: Sephora eGift Card

Sephora eGift Card

Emotional wellness is so important to me, and I don’t think you can find a happier “me” than when I’m lost in my local Sephora. In addition to the performing arts, I also freakin’ love the expressive freedom and possibility found in makeup and skincare. My first ever mini-job in the beauty industry was for a magazine organizing its beauty closet. For hours, I would LIVE in that beauty closet, learning everything I could about clean beauty, ingredients, and more. 

The reason why I’m asking for a gift card is so I can go out and have the EUPHORIC experience of a three-hour Sephora trip, going down every aisle and crying tears of joy. I mean that genuinely. This experience is one I’ve never had but one that would absolutely make my MONTH.

$9.43 Yoga Ball

Product Image: BalanceFrom Yoga Ball (Medium)

BalanceFrom Yoga Ball (Medium)

I have back issues that I’d like to address. Using a yoga ball would help me stretch in the morning and before bed, as well as give my back a break throughout my “work-from-home” days.

$25 Water Bottle

Product Image: Hydracy Water Bottle with Time Marker and Fruit Infuser Strainer (Rose Gold)

Hydracy Water Bottle with Time Marker and Fruit Infuser Strainer (Rose Gold)

I’ve been looking for ways to actually motivate myself to drink water every day. This cute bottle with minimalist reminders is the perfect companion for around the apartment and to classes!

$149.60 Spa Day

Stock Photo of Massage: Midtown Laser Spa 80-Minute Couples Luxury Spa Day with Massage, Basic Facial, and Champagne

Midtown Laser Spa 80-Minute Couples Luxury Spa Day with Massage, Basic Facial, and Champagne

I’ve never had a spa day before! I’m also looking for a sustainable massage practice to work into my routine. I’ve had back and skin issues for as long as I can remember, and this Groupon deal is absolutely stellar. I’d love to try this place out and enjoy a massage, facial, and wonderful experience. (And hey, champagne is a plus! Please note I’m 21 LOL.)

Also, on a more personal note, my wellness journey would not be complete without thanking the woman who brings me so much joy and tranquility on the daily: My lovely girlfriend Heather. I’d love to enjoy a spa day along with her to celebrate a new beginning of wellness and mindfulness practices together. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude with and for her would make my mind, heart, and soul soar.

Total: $1,004.86

Stay tuned for details on our next Wellness Diaries by subscribing to Nessie Sightings! (That’s our newsletter.)

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Kira's Favorite Healthy Merchants

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Andi's Favorite Healthy Merchants

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Oh, and getting 5x point rewards on my Erewhon $20+ smoothie makes it a little more justifiable.”

Amrit's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I made a promise to myself to find my joy again in 2023. For the past few years, I haven’t been taking care of myself mentally and physically because I’ve just been on the go and focusing on the future instead of being present. I realized that part of the reason I wasn’t happy was because I wasn’t taking care of myself. So, now with the Ness Card—which literally rewards you for staying on top of your wellness journey—I’ve easily been able to focus on my mental and physical journey. Using the card is now a part of my weekly routine, whether I’m buying groceries, going to therapy, spending a day at the spa, or treating myself to a delicious yummy meal.”

Candace's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love life with the Ness Card! The team behind the scenes work really hard to make it valuable and to create a sense of community, which you feel in every newsletter and hand-crafted partnership. The card itself encourages me to be even more curious about where I’m spending my money. It definitely incentivizes me to spend ‘healthier’, which is really unique. On top of that, getting points for taking more steps? There is seriously nothing like it.

David's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“My favorite thing about the Ness Card is that it rewards you for your healthy habits, and not all of them require spending. Yes, you can earn 5x points when you spend at any of their approved health and wellness merchants (think Erewhon and many of your other favorites) but you also earn points for being active daily! So now your sanity walks are literally paying off :) As someone who not only works in wellness but lives and breathes it, essentially most of my expenses live in that realm and with the Ness Card I can now be rewarded nicely for those purchases.”

Kirsty's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love that I have rewards to look forward to when I focus on my health and wellness. As a mom of two and full time photographer/creator, it’s hard to find time to prioritize my health and—as my body ages—I want to make sure that I’m treating it to all the TLC it needs (and deserves)! The Ness Card reminds me to take care of my mental, physical, and emotional health on the daily.”

Valerie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s refreshing to have a card app that is so easy to use. I can track my spending and rewards at the click of a button. I love getting a notification when I get extra points for getting a full night sleep or getting my steps in, though of course those are optional. I work a lot, and I feel like I get extra rewarded for taking the time to take care of myself – whether it’s therapy or simply cooking at home instead of dining out. The points accumulate really quickly, and I’ve already gotten a $1,000 credit at Erewhon in my first four months. I also go visit family in Europe a lot, and no one takes my card there, so it’s so convenient to be able to use my Ness Card without ever paying a fee.”

Mélanie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As someone who spends the majority of her money on wellness, the Ness Card is perfect for me! I love earning 5x points on purchases at healthy businesses that I was already making, anyways. The Ness Card also motivates me to get enough sleep, practice mindfulness and other healthy habits. The app is really user-friendly and I love watching my points add up. I am excited to redeem them for wellness-related items!”

Lauren's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card motivates me to keep up my healthy habits, and has helped me discover new brands and products that are in alignment with my goals. I’m not spending any more with my Ness Card, but the money I am spending on health and wellness is actually earning me rewards, benefits, and even cash back. And because Ness’s definition of a ‘healthy merchant’ is so generous, I’m able to recognize all of the small ways I practice self-care throughout the week. From buying fresh veggies to going to therapy to taking my supplements, the Ness Card is there to cheer me on: ‘Keep being healthy, girl. You deserve 5x points for that.'”

Melissa's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card rewards me when I spend money on health and wellness. Especially because so much of my wellness routine is spent being active, gardening, making food with my husband, getting a massage, or having some me time, it is nice to be rewarded for that with points that are with brands I shop at all the time anyway. It allows my wellness choices to work harder which I love.”

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