Self-Care in the Age of Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shelter in place that has been going on for the past 4-5 months in the United States has been incredibly stressful for many of us.

  • Those of us lucky enough to work from home experience challenges in the overlap of home life and work life.
  • Parents were tasked with teaching their kids at home for the last 3 months of the school year, then facing ever changing options for the upcoming academic year.
  • People out of work due to a shrinking economy are experiencing extreme economic stress.
  • Essential workers who have to venture out daily to make a living face daily decisions that can be stressful.

I’ve been writing and speaking about self-care for over 20 years, since I was a graduate student in psychology. As an association executive, I’ve been interviewed on self-care for association executives. 

In light of the extra stress that we are facing as a society during the coronavirus age, I’ve been sharing resources about self-care to the association industry. ASAE published an article listing 8 strategies for self-care during this time. I gave a presentation to CalSAE on self-care for association staff in May 2020.

With my own team at the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, I’ve been posting videos daily to keep the team motivated and connected. Many of my messages have been about self-care strategies. My first message to staff on March 16, the first full day of remote optional work, I spoke about giving ourselves compassion during the transition to remote work.

I hope you can remember to give yourself compassion and self-care during this stressful time. One of my favorite artists, WRDSMTH, describes self-care well in the following street art piece.

By WRDSMTH in Chicago, IL.




Inspirations from Street Art – Part 1

If you’ve checked out my Instagram (@DrNabil), you’ll discover that I love street art. I have found street art to be a great hobby and an interesting way to check out new places. Neighborhoods that have street art and graffiti are often off the beaten path of tourists, so this takes me to novel places.

One of my favorite artists is WRDSMTH. I discovered his work a few years ago on Instagram, and started following him then. As I’ve traveled, I’ve found more and more of his work across the country and even in Canada.

First WRDSMTH piece I discovered, in San Diego, CA.

San Diego discovery.

Found this in Chicago. I literally yelled “Stop the car” to the Uber driver when I saw this!

Found this in Toronto in a restaurant.

From Carlsbad, CA, near where my parents live.

Christmas exhibit at The Bloc in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA

There is a motivational message in many of these posts that truly resonate for me as an association executive director and a leader.

Whenever I go to LA, I am always on the lookout for WRDSMTH pieces. You’ll certainly see more @WRDSMTH photos on my Instagram!

What I Have Learned From My Brother With Autism

Everything I Need To Know About Being An Association Executive I Learned From My Brother with Autism

At the recent Great Ideas Conference by the American Society of Association Executives, I was asked to give an Ignite presentation. This is a 5 minute presentation with 20 slides in a PowerPoint, on a timer so that each slide is up for 15 seconds. I decided to present an idea I’ve been nurturing for 20 years, since I’ve been in graduate school. This idea is about the lessons that I’ve learned from Omar. Below is my result.

As you can see, this is a testament to my brother. What I loved about this presentation was the opportunity to merge my two worlds, the autism world and the associations world. I am grateful to ASAE for the opportunity to give this presentation and share my affection and admiration of my brother.


How I Came to Work at an Association

If you had told me 20 years ago that I would one day work at the American Psychological Association, I would have laughed and said, “No way!” I was committed to one day working as a mental health provider. But after 8 years as Associate Executive Director of APAGS, I can say that this is a job that I have relished. Who knew?


Developing the APAGS Strategic Plan with the APAGS Committee, Washington, DC, 2012.








How did I get to APA as a staff member? Primarily, it was because I got involved. I served 4 years on the APAGS Committee as Member at Large and Chair of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns. I also was the student representative on the Ethics Code Task Force, revising the APA Ethics Code. After 4 years as a student leader, I took some time off from APA while I started my dream job in a department of pediatrics at a county hospital. I returned to APA leadership a few years later as a founding member of the Committee on Early Career Psychologists, followed by a term on the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA). It was halfway through my term on BPA that the AED position opened up at APAGS. My leadership experience at APA and other organizations (primarily Ohio Psychological Association and the Society of Pediatric Psychology) opened up the doors.  Continue reading


People often ask me why did I become a psychologist.

And the answer is simple – I wanted to learn more about autism because I have a brother with autism.

Omar, March 2013

Omar, March 2013

When I was younger, autism was pretty rare, and because I was embarrassed by Omar, I kept quiet about him. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve learned a lot more about autism, and autism has become more mainstream and less hidden than it used to be. My friends and colleagues are always very interested to hear about Omar.

Many of my blog posts will revolve around Omar. I’ll include stories about being a sibling. But I’m most excited to share what I have learned from Omar – I’ll call these posts “Lessons from Omar”.

Omar continues to be my inspiration.

Welcome to Doctor Nabil’s blog!

My name is Nabil El-Ghoroury and I am a IMG_0060psychologist with personal and professional expertise in autism spectrum disorders. In addition to having 20 years of experience with individuals with autism, I have a brother with autism. His name is Omar and he is two years younger than me.

In this blog, I hope to write about a variety of topics:

  • Summarize current research on autism spectrum disorders
  • Health disparities and autism
  • Thoughts on interventions in autism
  • Media representations of autism spectrum disorders

But I also plan to write about some personal topics:

  • Lessons from Omar – important lessons I’ve learned from Omar
  • Personal stories – reflections on having a sibling with autism

I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Wilkommen, bienvenu, welcome!