During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers, scholars, and members of the medical field alike found themselves struggling to balance their regular tasks and projects with the additional physical, mental, and emotional stressors of the epidemic. This paper examines the exploratory efforts of a small virtual workspace group—researchers, public health officials, and graduate students alike—to take a more health- and body-centered approach to their to-do lists and researcher commitments. Participants were driven by a question: what does it look like to structure one’s work time and agenda in a more mentally, emotionally, and physically holistic way? What started out as a purely accountability-enhancing weekly virtual workspace ended up developing into a space where participants experimented with a strategy to address this question. Ultimately, this paper explores the process by which a group of researchers developed and implemented the idea of health checks—letting one’s emotional and mental wellness state shape their project priorities just as much as urgency and obligation—at a small scale and in a community-centered environment. Using a chronological narrative, the paper articulates the development of this structure, ending with reflections from all group members about their experiences implementing health checks and their considerations for its future application.



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