How an Abortion Doula Spent $1,000 on Wellness in Arlington, Virginia

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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 time, we’re highlighting the healthiest cities in the United States. We found caretakers—a resident physician in pediatrics, an abortion doula, and a puppy-fostering superstar—who live in these cities so they could highlight the different products and services in the area that keep residents well. (And also just give them some cash to spend on health and wellness, because they deserve it.)

Our only requirement: In the spirit of community wellness, all purchases had to be made at local businesses. Consider it your healthy spending guide for these cities—and, of course, an invitation to live vicariously through each local, healthy buy.

Local hero Emily Harrison lives in Arlington, Virginia. She spent her $1,000 on decaf chai, three different kinds of planners, and a gift card to local health food spot South Block. (A true DMV icon for those in the know.)

Emily Headshot

Meet Emily

She’s an abortion doula—someone who cares for people before, during, and after they have an abortion—and political strategist currently based in Arlington, VA. She is also an intuitive self care coach, a planner connoisseur, and is working toward becoming a holistic health coach for women.

Emily’s Diary

$119 Workout Classes

Fit District

Fit District Founding Membership Freedom Pack (5 Classes)

“This year, I’ve been working on finding movement that makes me feel better mentally and physically, rather than exclusively viewing exercise as a mode for losing weight. I’d love to try out the various classes FitDistrict offers so I can continue this movement journey.”

$13 Tea

Calabash Tea

Calabash Tea Yoga Chai – Decaf Masala

“I cut out caffeine cold turkey four months ago and never looked back, but I very much miss my chai lattes. I can’t wait to try this decaf version!”

$42 Planner

Appointed on Penny Post

Penny Post Appointed 2023 Weekly Task Planner (Oxford Blue)

“I’m chronically over-scheduled and need to balance my care work with the rest of my life. Not only does this help me stay on top of my needs,  I also find a lot of peace in setting aside time to stop and use a paper planner.”

$129 Massage

Origins Thai Spa 60-Minute Indian Head Massage

“When I’m not doula-ing, I’m usually sitting at a desk or looking at screens. Indian head massages focus on helping with tension headaches (something I get pretty frequently) and can help with eye strain (who doesn’t suffer from that these days?).”

$99 Floatation Therapy


Soulex First-Time Float Session (60-Minute)

“Between our abortion rights constantly being attacked and a never-ending news cycle, I could really use a break. That’s why I’m so interested in floatation therapy. The idea of floating in the dark, by myself, with no noise or light, just sounds so, so healing.”

$47.97 Nut Butters

The Nutrition Corners

Fit Butters (Fluffernutter, Caramel Apple Pie, Chocolate Caramel Candy Bar)

“After having surgery earlier this summer, I’ve had to change my diet to prioritize protein. I’ve wanted to try these nut butters at my local vitamin store for a while now for a high-protein, low-sugar treat!”

$44.99 Habit Journal

Delightful E Made

Delightful E Made The 90 Day Healthy Habits Journal

“I try to practice a growth mindset in every aspect of my life, and I love finding different avenues to track my growth. This healthy habits journal has everything I love. Plus, it’s from one of my favorite local meal preppers!”

$48 Body Oil

Nothing in Between Studio

Everyday Oil Warm Feelings

“After a long doula shift on my feet, I love to be able to reconnect with my body through dry brushing followed by moisturizing oil. My favorite toxin-free nail salon uses this oil. I love its feel and scent.”

$28 Workbook

Nothing in Between Studio

Moon Lists Volume 2

“Between my doula work and my political work, I do a lot of heavy emotional lifting. This journal focuses on helping people tap into their inner peace and creativity, providing a nice distraction from the heavier stuff. “

$12 Exfoliating Washcloth

Nothing in Between Studio

Nash & Jones Agave Washcloth

“I love skincare and am always looking for ways to exfoliate that don’t dry out my skin or tear my pores. I would love to try this washcloth, which is described as a ‘gentle exfoliator.'”

$24 Foot File

Nothing in Between Studio

Nothing in Between Studio Renew Glass Foot File

“Maybe it’s because I spend doula shifts on my feet, or maybe it’s because I spent the entire summer in sandals, but my feet are so calloused. This glass foot file is my favorite part of getting pedicures at this studio.”

$38 Toner

Take Care Shop

Take Care Osea Sea Minerals Mist

“I’ve been on the hunt for a new toner. After meeting with the great folks at Take Care, a self care-focused shop in DC, I’ve fallen in love with this gentle toner.”

$125 Running Shoes

Fleet Feet

Georgetown Running Company Fleet Feet Gift Card

“I’ve never paid much attention to the quality of my shoes. Now at the ripe old age of 26, I am paying for it. I began running again this fall, and I want to make sure I’m wearing shoes that 1) fit properly and 2) are supportive enough. Getting to do a fitting with a pro at Georgetown Running Company will help me do that.”

$200 Spa Credit

King Spa Gift Card

“I’m a workaholic. If I have a day off work, I’ll pick up a doula shift. If there isn’t a doula shift that day, I will volunteer to escort patients into the abortion clinic to avoid protestors. The thought of taking an entire day to spend at the spa is kind of mind-blowing to me. In a good way!”

$30 Healthy Food Credit

South Block

South Block Gift Card

“South Block is my absolute favorite healthy food option in the DMV (D.C/Maryland/Virginia) area.  The avocado toast and apple crisp acai bowl are the best!”

Total: $999.96

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