A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Engaging the Erotic to Make Mutual Aid a Sustainable Part of Your Life

Christina Tesoro, LMSW

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

In my last piece, I wrote about how we can prepare, as a collective, to better support the ever-growing number of people who are suffering persistent symptoms of long COVID, also known as PASC (or post-acute sequelae disease). I spoke with a friend of mine, who has lived with a chronic illness for years and who is involved in online disability justice communities. They offered helpful tips that we can all incorporate into our lives in order to reorient ourselves toward a more collectivist mindset, both in our interpersonal relationships, and also in how we understand ourselves and what shifts we need to make in order to truly live our values.

As a therapist, I work with a lot of folks who are similarly committed to mutual aid, either as part of their own cultural practice and political beliefs, or who are newly involved in mutual aid efforts as a result of the pandemic itself. Some have found participating in mutual aid a valuable and indeed indispensable adaptation to the stress brought on by the pandemic, helping them form social connections and mitigate the chronic stress response we all feel during this unprecedented and ongoing crisis.

Regardless of whether mutual aid is something you’ve been raised doing, have long committed to out of necessity, or is something you’re new to, the most important aspect of our mutual aid efforts is that we are able to engage consistently and sustainably. As such, I’ve been thinking of what has helped me make participate in mutual aid something I’m able to do regularly. Here’s what has come to mind.

What Work Are You Already Doing?

As a therapist, the work that I do is, obviously, emotionally intense. When I started to become involved in local mutual aid efforts, I noted immediately the call for mental health first aid and support, particularly for elders in my neighborhood. Organizers were trying to get people in contact with older folks in the neighborhood who were isolating alone and needed someone to call to check in on them weekly or a couple of times a week. And while my training and years as a therapist might have made me perfect for this role, I knew that to take on additional hours of emotional…

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Christina Tesoro, LMSW

Christina Tesoro is a New York City-based writer, sex educator, and therapist.