The Data Behind Our Project

  • “pandemic has been tougher on mental health for women than men… the study found women reporting more anxiety and depression” (WebMD)
  • 27% of women had reported increases in challenges in relation to mental illness, compared to 10% of men (Forbes)
  • World Health Organization released a guide on how to cope with stress during the pandemic -> “If you must stay at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle -including proper diet, sleep, exercise - and don’t use smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions” -> importance of building healthy habits
  • With lockdown orders and the need to stay at home, “hobbies become very important in creating a healthy lifestyle, able to reduce the negative effects of [staying at home].” (Medi-Help)
  • Eating habits and lifestyle changes during COVID-19 lockdown: an Italian survey - “The perception of weight gain was observed in 48.6% of the population; 3.3% of smokers decided to quit smoking; a slight increased physical activity has been reported, especially for bodyweight training...15% of respondents turned to farmers or organic, purchasing fruits and vegetables...” (BMC)
  • “...prolonged restrictions can lead to decreased opportunities for outdoor exercise and increased anxiety and depression. During the confinement period, fewer Canadians rated their own mental health highly when compared with a sample of Canadians in 2018…Prior to COVID-19, Canadian adults were already spending the majority of their days engaged in sedentary behaviour… Canadians became increasingly reliant on their home Internet...Global reports estimate that total Internet traffic grew by 40 to 60% during the Spring 2020 global lockdown period” (Statistics Canada)

Sources

Inspiration

It’s been exactly a year since lockdown orders began, and without a doubt, COVID has had a significant impact on all aspects of our well-being. Whether it was the drop in motivation when it all began or the feelings of isolation as we were unable to connect with those that love and empower us. Especially as women, studies have shown that our mental health has been affected more significantly than men.

Thankfully, while the pandemic had initially brought on these negative emotions in us, it has also struck us as an awakening to start living to the fullest. Whether it was making dalgona coffee, or randomly cutting bangs, many of us have caught on the wave of new trends, activities, hobbies, and habits in order to keep ourselves healthy, emotionally and physically.

However, the fact that we’re still apart means that we need additional resources and tools to help us connect, grow, and heal together. And that’s where Kaizen fits in!

What it does

Inspired by the Japanese phrase as “a method for transforming habits incrementally, one step at a time, in order to continuously improve”, our application focuses on connection, diversity, health and growth. Users can create habits, ranging from physical wellness, productivity, mental wellness, social connections, hobbies, and more. The best part, however, is that these are collaborative habits, meaning users can participate in habits together to keep each other accountable and healthy! In particular, habits will only be fully completed if all members of the team participate accordingly!

In addition, users can track their daily progress and view past historical data easily through easy-to-read graphs. Users who are interested in exploring new areas of interest and diversifying their array of habits can look towards the explore feed to see what cool things others are doing!

How we built it

On the backend, we built an ExpressJS web application powered by Firebase Authentication, CockroachDB, Sequelize, MySQL, React, React Hooks, Javascript, HTML, CSS, Google Cloud, Figma, and Chart.js., Sentry, NodeJS, Heroku, Makefile

Challenges we ran into

As a team of full-stack developers, our biggest challenge was the UX/UI design of Kaizen. We had to spend a couple of hours researching design practices to ensure we were providing visual quality and a user-friendly, optimized design. And of course, we also ran into random backend and frontend errors that we spent hours debugging and learning from!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re extremely humbled and proud to have developed a women-centric application that empowers our community during these unique times! In particular, we’re excited about its ability to bring us closer together, and its areas of impact in our everyday lives. Further, with the hours we spent learning and researching about Kaizen’s design, we are extremely proud of the result! We are also proud of jumping into CockroachDB with minimal experience in Sequelize. Further, a few of us had the opportunity to participate in cmd-f last year, and it was extremely rewarding to be able to witness our growth and abilities to contribute further in various new areas!

What we learned

We learned how to use CockroachDB for the first time, how to create user designs, and further developed our skills as full-stack developers! We also learned new concepts like clusters, react hooks, and more.

What's next for Kaizen

Our number one priority for Kaizen is definitely turning it into a mobile application, allowing it to be applicable in our everyday lives, regardless if we’re still in the pandemic or not! We’d also love to add more social aspects to the application for further engagement, like video-calling during the activities or having live chats. We’d also love to partner up with organizations focused on social good to further our contributions!

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