The Couple’s Survival Kit

During this pandemic, many of our friends, neighbors, and family members will need our help and love. So we need to figure out how to take good care of ourselves and others while at the same practicing social distancing. Here are some tips that my family, friends, and patients have found helpful:

Make your home comfortable and safe, stock your pantry and fridge, keep your favorite cookbooks handy. Get plenty of sleep, take walks, exercise. Check in with your partner, create a routine, be patient, caring, and supportive.

If you and your partner are not used to being together 24/7, negotiate some “me” time and create opportunities to connect with each other emotionally and physically. In the times of stress and uncertainty, few things are as comforting and reassuring as physical touch, a conversation, a tasty
family meal, and a good laugh.

Call, email, or text your friends and extended family. All of us need a lot of moral support right now. It’s important to stay connected, to reach out to people who might be feeling vulnerable or alone.

Max Belkin, PhD, is fellow and supervisor of psychotherapy at the William Alanson White Institute;
teaching faculty at New York University, associate editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis; editor, with
Cleonie White, of Intersectionality and Relational Psychoanalysis: New Perspectives on Race, Gender,
and Sexuality. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City, specializing
in treating individuals and couples.