Get Outside!


The very first thing I think of when I think about self-care is the outdoors. There’s so much research on the benefits of being in nature, whether it is the depression-fighting benefits of being in green and blue spaces, or the stress-relieving effect of exercise, or the mental focus impact of being in the moment out in the wilderness.

If you’d like to read more about this, Psychologist Jill Suttie, PsyD summarized some of the most significant research brilliantly in this article in UC Berkley’s Greater Good Magazine.

This importance of being connected to nature makes sense. When it comes down to it,  on a philosophical level, we are nature; we are animals, developed out of the processes of the natural world, who evolved alongside other natural processes. Somewhere along the way, though, we have gotten so good at controlling and manipulating our environment that we may have lost our connection to it.  Living, working, traveling, and playing in our manufactured spaces, we have become increasingly disconnected from each other and from the natural world… sitting alone in our windowless offices or staring at each other silently from behind our windshields while stuck in traffic, we may be inadvertently making ourselves less well. This is just not how we were made to live!

To me, the key to reconnecting with our natural environment and getting the most self-care benefit out of being outdoors is finding the way in which we most enjoy being in nature. For me, revisiting nature in it’s purest form is backpacking out in the wilderness. For you, is it jogging your favorite route?… Taking a drive in the countryside with the hood down?… Playing an outdoor sport like golf?… Enjoying a scenic visit to a local winery with friends?… Playing in the backyard with your children or pets?… Or is it just sitting at your favorite spot outside on the back patio?

As for me…when I can’t get out into the wilderness and I need some mental clarity and creativity, like when writing this blog post, I secretly put in my earbuds and plug into my favorite nature-sounds playlist on Spotify!

Journal Prompt:
What is your favorite outdoor place or space? Maybe it is a place from your childhood, a favorite vacation spot, or just a place that you love getting out to on the weekends. How does being in this place impact your self-care?

If you’re feeling stuck with this prompt, try this activity instead. See the section: Distancing Yourself From Your Emotions.


Why Journal?


Hi, what’s going on with you today? I’m heading to the beach to spend a few days with extended family and am SO looking forward to days full of reading under the umbrella, goofing off with my cousins and their kids, and playing some epic family card games (Phase 10, anyone?). I hope you’re finding some ways to take care of yourself this weekend!

Some of you may be wondering why Alex and I decided to create a journal prompt at the end of each blog post. As we talked about in the last post, knowing and understanding your personality is vital in order to figure out what self care tools will work best for you. Another HUGE part of being your best self and continuing to evolve is reflection. When I was growing up, my family played “Highs/Lows” every night at dinner–each family member takes a turn telling the others the best and worst parts of their day. Sure, there were times my sister and I were annoying teenagers who said that the worst part of our day was “playing this dumb game,” but looking back I really appreciate my parents’ effort to allow a space for us all to reflect on our day. Alex and I have already talked about doing this game with our (future) children.

Journaling is an effective and safe way to reflect by yourself. Jotting down your thoughts will often help you better understand your experiences and define your goals. Sometimes when I’m writing in my journal I feel like I’m rambling, but 9 times out of 10 when I read over the entry I gain insight that I didn’t know I had. Beyond writing to take care of yourself and reflect on experiences, journaling can also help you to be a better leader at work and in life in general. If you’ve never gotten into journaling, I challenge you to give it a try. How about right now, with a journal prompt about the perks journaling? 🙂

Journal Prompt: How are you feeling right now? What are your highs and lows of today?

I’m off to the beach…talk to you soon!



Know Who You Are

What goes in your self care toolbox depends a lot on your personality–what are your likes, dislikes, strengths…what makes you tick? One of the fundamental ways of taking care of yourself is knowing yourself. Even if you already are 100% confident in your ENFJ personality type or know all of the ways to take care of your introverted self, humor me….there is always something more to be learned about your personality.

I really like this free personality test based off of the Myers-Briggs model. It breaks down your personality into a four letter code (16 possible types) that include the following:

  • Extraverted (E) or Introverted (I)
  • Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Perceiving (P) or Judging (J)

The best part about this test is that the results explain the strengths of each personality type based on your answers. I’ve always thought of myself as an Extrovert with Introverted qualities, and the test was spot on–based on its algorithm, the test showed that I am 12% more extroverted than introverted.  For me, socializing and being goofy with friends gives me energy and sparkle, but there comes a point where I need an hour of sitting in my room watching Netflix alone. This test is a good reminder that one of my tools for when I’m feeling stressed is to give myself a break from others and just chill.

Journal Prompt: What is one thing you learned about your personality type? How can this translate into better caring for yourself?


P.S. Here’s another fun link about pop culture personality types–I’m Sansa Stark! Who are you?

Nice to Meet You

File Jul 19, 7 05 06 PMHi, and welcome! We are Alex and Moira, married 30-somethings living in Virginia with our two tuxedo cats, Clarence and Zeus. We both work in the helping professions–Alex as an LCSW therapist and Moira as a High School Counselor. 

Life coaches work with you on asking the questions “What do I want?” and “How do I get there?” We ask another important and often-forgotten question… “How do I take care of myself along the way?” Think of us as your informal self care coaches. 

In helping individuals cope with day to day struggles, one of our favorite things is to talk to them about their “toolbox.” What tools do they have available to them to help them care for themselves when things get tough? Do they love music? Is yoga something that centers them? We love helping people identify the tools they already have, as well as adding new things to their toolbox. We know, the whole toolbox analogy sounds kind of cheesy, but it actually works!

Here’s what to expect from each blog post:

  • Self Care Tool: Each post will explore a subject related to self care. We hope to provide resources in the way of websites, podcasts, articles, book recommendations, music playlists, and more to broaden the scope.
  • Reflection: At the end of each post, we will have an optional journal prompt designed to help you reflect on what you read. We also encourage you to use the Comments section to discuss the post and your takeaways.
  • Honesty, candor, and even some humor. We are not experts on every subject area but look forward to sharing what we know and learning from you along the way. We’re all in this crazy adventure called life together.

Thanks for visiting our blog–we hope to build a community of people who care about caring for themselves. For a few more details about who we are and our interests, see The Pair

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Moira & Alex