What I’m Grateful For: Taking Each Day One at a Time. (And Tomatoes.)

Psychologist Lisa Herrick says we need a step-by-step approach—and a lot of self-care—these days.

Photograph of Herrick courtesy of Lisa Herrick

This article is part of Washingtonian‘s feature “Gratitude.” We asked dozens of notable Washingtonians as well as our readers: What are you most grateful for? Read some of their responses here.

Lisa Herrick

Clinical psychologist and divorce coach who has been working with lots of unhappy people and couples since the pandemic

Are there ways you’ve personally found gratitude during this time that you’ve tried to impart to your clients?

I had never planted a garden before, and then I did and I was grateful for the tomatoes. I don’t necessarily say to my clients, “You should garden.” I just say, “What will bring you a little bit of joy this week?” I think people are just encouraged by the idea—it’s a cliché by now—of taking it step by step.

There was a New York Times column recently by a woman who races sled dogs. Basically, what she said is sometimes you don’t know how long you’re going to have to ask these dogs to run, and the way you help them run a thousand miles is you take care of them in advance. I thought that was incredibly helpful. I’ve talked to some clients about that. We all need to take care of ourselves proactively. Before you feel burned out, take a rest. Before you feel lonely, reach out. I’m very grateful to [the author]. It’s an extremely helpful concept.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.