Eklund R, Bondjers K, Hensler I, Bragesjö M, Johannesson KB, Arnberg FK, Sveen J
BMC Public Health 22 (1) 85 [2022-01-13; online 2022-01-13]
Knowledge of what is uplifting and helpful during pandemics could inform the design of sustainable pandemic recommendations in the future. We have explored individuals' views on helpful and uplifting aspects of everyday life during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Participants answered a brief, daily survey via text messages during 14 consecutive days in July-August, 2020. The survey included the question: "During the past 24 hours, is there anything that has made you feel good or helped you in your life?" We used content analysis to compile responses from 693 participants, who provided 4,490 free-text answers, which resulted in 24 categories subsumed under 7 themes. Positive aspects during the COVID-19 pandemic primarily related to social interactions, in real life or digitally, with family, friends and others. Other important aspects concerning work, colleagues and maintaining everyday life routines. One theme concerning vacations, going on excursions and being in nature. Leisure and recreation activities, such as hobbies and physical exercise, also emerged as important, as did health-related factors. Bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings and activities that benefited well-being were mentioned frequently. Lastly, people commented on the government strategies for containing COVID-19, and whether to comply with restrictions. To summarize, daily uplifts and helpful aspects of everyday life centered around social relationships. To comply with recommendations on physical distancing, people found creative ways to maintain social connections both digitally and face-to-face. Social interaction, maintenance of everyday life routines, hobbies and physical activity appeared to be important for well-being.