My Wellness Check is a global open science project to learn how the COVID19 pandemic is affecting human well-being.
A month of collecting wellbeing data has passed. If you participated, thank you for sharing your voice! What have we learned?
First let’s go back to the purpose of this project, which is to better understand our diverse and rapidly changing needs in times of a global pandemic. What are those needs? Freedom? Social interaction? You might assume that since “we’re all in this together,” we all need the same things, right? Let’s find out…
My Wellness Check
Our survey aimed to address the topics that are important for our wellbeing in times of a global pandemic. The survey questions that we’ve asked you can roughly be broken down into three categories: behavioral health, short-term wellbeing, and general wellbeing.
Fig 1. Physical Health Data. From the behavioral questions, we can see that people are doing okay, not great, but not bad either. Apparently many people are having some issues with sleeping and exercising, but most report eating well.
So what is everyone saying about it?
A person that rated their sleep quality as very poor responded: “My sleep has been severely affected. I’ve been waking up at 3 or 4 in the night, regardless of when I go to bed the night before, for the last several weeks. I think this is tied to anxiety.” They are not alone. The theme of anxiety seems to play a major role, and is affecting our sleep across the board: “My anxiety has peaked again, where it had been at bay for years”.
The lack of rhythm and a regular schedule is influencing our ability to exercise: “My former schedule is ruined, therefore I have a lack of exercise, it has made me out of energy and enthusiasm”. Aside from it being an issue that has been affected by the pandemic, a lot of people also report it as one of their high priority needs.
One person, accounting for their wellbeing, puts cooking as a positive note: “Lonely. Sleeping too much and not exercising. Cooking healthier.” Because of the large amount of time we spend at our house, people seem to have more time to cook healthy food. Though most report eating well, a few express concern about overeating.
Short term wellbeing effects
Fig 2. Short term wellbeing data
Many participants mentioned lifestyle benefits during the lockdown: “It has especially affected my way of life. I would say that it has affected my wellbeing positively by consuming less alcohol, getting more sleep and engaging in social activities more consciously than before. I find that I am spending more time with good friends and less with 'acquaintance' friends.”
And for some of the introverts among us, the lockdown is a blessing: “As a natural introvert, it has been great. [...] I can do all my normal work virtually and have more time to play with the kids, work out at any time.”
But Also Negative
While in general people are doing okay, there are some of us who are really struggling, reporting “toxic” relationships, job loss, depression and lots of anxiety. We are dealing with a plague, aren’t we? COVID19 has taught us that we are all affected by mental health, but some people face special challenges: “If I wasn’t terrified to leave my house before as someone with anxiety, depression, and ocd — I sure am now. Terrified at the thought of going back to work in person. Terrified.”
Reading over the responses, we were moved by pain that so many are feeling. We are looking at ways of getting the right resources to those of us who are in need. These design improvements will be shared in an upcoming post. However, if you have any thoughts about how we should approach this, or what you would like to see in our service, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to learn what you want to know about wellbeing and how you want to engage.
Fig 3. Long term wellbeing data
As we see in the graph above, we’re a little bit split up when it comes to our long-term wellbeing related factors. On the one hand, some people respond that they are enjoying quality time alone. But on the other hand it seems that it is hard to keep our lives in balances when there is so much uncertainty. However, it seems that, in general, we are optimistic about the future.
Correlation of different factors
We also examined whether certain questions are related to each other. For example, the data show that “I am engaged and interested in my daily activities” has the highest correlation with other questions in general. Suggesting that we find engagement very important for our wellbeing in general. Specifically, it was related to what we called long-term wellbeing: “Most aspects of my life are in balance,” “I am optimistic about my future,” and “I am satisfied with my life.”.
Mental health was also closely related to these questions. Moreover, the question “Rate your mental health at the present time” was even more strongly related to the question of “How are you doing today”, suggesting that we find our mental health most important for our short-term wellbeing.
In short, we can see that even though “we’re all in this together”, we have many diverse issues. This post highlighted a number of wellbeing needs, but what can we do about it? This will be the topic of upcoming blog posts.
Over the next few months, we will be making continued updates to My Wellness Check so that it reflects your needs. For instance, we will be sending out a new set of questions this week and a super-short version. We have included emojis and more variety in the questions. And we are working hard to make sure that you will be able to see your own data. What would you like to see? And how do you think we can help?
In closing, please encourage your social networks to sign up at www.mywellnesscheck.org so we can continue to gather more data on a more global scale!
Please share your thoughts with us or send an email at email@example.com
Fig 4. A word cloud from the question “What are your most urgent needs right now?”