how to reduce stress at work as a developer

Ideas to Reduce Stress at Work as a Software Developer

We all know- “Health is the root of all happiness.” No matter how good you really are at pursuing your dreams sticking to your passion or earning a massive amount of money, once you lose your health, your happiness will all be gone!

The same goes for all the software developers who work relentlessly around the clock if not 8+ hours sitting on their chairs. Due to the lack of proper movement, you start to expand your belly and shrink your muscles. In addition to that, you also start to feel body ache all the time if not every now and then.

Most importantly, as you are bombarded with tasks in different projects, you eventually discover yourself under an enormous amount of stress. So, how can you get rid of all these and keep your anxiety at bay?

Well, we will craft this article to answer this million-dollar question on how to reduce developer stress shortly in a while. So, sit tight and give it a read!

Me- Juggling With Multiple Tasks and Undergoing Developer Stress

I used to be a frontend website developer from 2016 to 2017. At around that time, I had to wake up early in the morning, make and have my breakfast at around 8 am. And after that, I started to work till 1 pm.

After preparing and having lunch, started to work again from 2 pm to 6 pm. But then again after a 2-hour break, I started to work again sticking my butt on the chair. This elongated exposure to work led my physiological and psychological health to go through the ultimate stress.

I was also reading and writing a lot of content for my job. In fact, I was juggling too much stuff at once. I started to go through acid reflux, heart palpitations, and insomnia at night. I understood that I had to do something to fix those issues.

Soon after, I had to go to the gastroenterologist to fix the physiological stress and was also counseled with a psychologist on how to remove mental stress. The doctors mainly recommended a healthy lifestyle with fewer medications.

How to Reduce Software Developer Stress: 14 Ways You Must Follow

I was experimenting with all the ideas and suggestions from the doctors. After incorporating the following ideas, I eventually became able to get my lifestyle fixed and get rid of all the stresses.

I’ve been incorporating the following techniques and it has helped me a lot to cope with work pressure! Hope they can help you, too!

1. Have Adequate Sleep

have adequate sleep - developer stress

When we are talking about productivity and staying aloof from stress, no tonic can be as good as other than a sound sleep.

But then again, many think that sleeping less will give them much room to carry out extra tasks. But it is a paradox that actually suppresses the productivity of your neurons. Working during sleep time disrupts your sleep pattern. It causes harm to your neurons and heart.

A healthy and even sleep pattern is imperative. While sleeping your heart rate drops around 20% and the damaged brain cells get repaired.

During sleep, there are enzymes that repair brain cell damage caused by free radicals. In contrast, lack of sleep does not allow our brain to function normally because of the neurotransmitters, and neurons that are unable to rest or regenerate.

Source: NCBI

A good rule of thumb is to try to sleep at the same time each night. And you should get 7 hours of sleep on average. The maximum sleeping time is 8 hours and the minimum is 6 hours. You should also eat easily digestive food before 2-3 hours of going to bed. Avoid large meals and rich food after the evening.

2. Walk At least 25 Minutes Every Day

walk - developer stress

It’s quite normal that after working a long time with uninterrupted sitting, you will see that the concentration level will start to decline. This is why you need to move around for 5 minutes after every 25 minutes or 10 minutes after every 50 minutes.

This way, you can prevent your productivity from dropping and boost your energy in an excellent way. Always remember that timely movement increases your productivity. This technique is known as the Pomodoro technique.

Have you noticed that your energy levels and concentration start to drop after a long time sitting?

Taking a little break to get some movement is an excellent way to boost your productivity!

Now that you know the importance of movement, you are to remember to start walking in time. Unfortunately, when you start coding you can easily get carried away due to the immense pressure to meet the deadline. To get a volunteer, you can use alarm apps on your smartphone to remember you.

Please note that, if you start working out at the gym after attending the day-long office, you can not compensate for the incessant sitting hours. That’s because, after sitting on the chair you inclined to stay static for a prolonged time. This will make your muscles feel pained and thus resulting in crippling. Hence, you must walk around at least every 1 hour.

3. Reduce Eye Strain

eye strain - developer stress

Staring at the monitor for more than 20 minutes at a stretch may make your eyesight stressed. It can trigger pain in the eyes. Moreover, if you are working for too long looking at the monitor, your eyes may get dry.

To keep your eyesight away from stress, you can incorporate a few eye exercises. For example, after working every 20 minutes, you can take a look at an object that is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to rejuvenate your eyesight from getting strained.

Blinking from time to time keeps your Cornia wet, keeps it clean, and protects it from bacterial infestation.

4. Work Smarter Not Harder

work smarter - developer stress

Almost every developer has faced a time when they are stuck with an error (For example, syntax error, logical errors, semantic errors etc.). If you have ever run into such errors, worry not! All you have to do is to solve your problem in an alternative way so that you can meet deadlines faster.

Besides, you have to plan properly beforehand so that you can finish your tasks the best way possible.

5. Thinking about Writing Perfect Code

Developers want to deliver quality source code consistently. There is no doubt that high-quality source files are maintainable and simple to read or customize. When you are in a company, the employer has hired you because you have the potential to write fantastic code. Along with this, you have to accept that you can not write perfect code every day. 

If your code is optimized, well maintained, passed all the tests, and at there are a few bugs that can be resolved, then your code is enough to break the ground. Don’t need to write codes by assuming future requirements and defining requirements. 

6. Break Down Your Tasks in Subtasks

split tasks - developer stress

Gamify your tasks by breaking down them. Now, if you can complete the subtasks one by one you will feel a sense of satisfaction.

Breaking down or splitting your tasks into smaller subtasks will keep you stress-free as a developer and will make your estimation more accurate too. It will also make your objective look less daunting and overwhelming.

One way to get better at dividing your tasks can be splitting the task at night before you are going to start it.

7. Apply 80/ 20 Principles Recursively

We often get juggled with an endless to-do list involving all the tasks under the sun. In this situation, you can comply with the Pareto Principle. That means we have to complete only the most important 20% of the to-do list. When the most important works are done you will see that you can accomplish the rest (80%) with less stress.

8. Always Stay Hydrated

stay hydrated - developer stress

Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.

But our body continuously loses its water because it has to remove the waste materials from the body all the time. This is the reason you should often drink to keep your body hydrated.

But how much water do you have to take? Well, a good rule of thumb can be half of your weight but in ounces. For example, if your body weight is 200 pounds then you have to drink (200/2)ounces = 100 ounces. (100 ounces means = 2957.35 ml).

Another way to know when to drink water is when your urine takes a pale yellow hue. Sounds crazy, right?

9. Try to Take a Proper Balanced Diet

balanced diet - developer stress

To avoid stress, you should avoid rich food, which takes a lot of time to digest. Avoid too much oil and spicy foods.

Always supplement your food with fruits that are enriched with Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and other necessary minerals. Fruits are great in the sense that they cater to you with necessary antioxidants and give an instant boost to your energy.

In addition to that, you can take leafy greens and vegetables that provide you with Magnesium required to relax your muscles. You can take a glass of milk with cocoa powder with Flavonoids for an instant boost in your work mood. However, if you can’t digest milk properly then you should avoid it.

Always remember that the less sick you are, the more productive you are.

10. Stretch Often to Boost Stamina

stretch - developer stress

Stretching after every half an hour revives your physical and mental stamina. Even though you stretch for half an hour before and after that won’t take you to the rescue!

Prolonged sitting is bad. So try to do some stretching every 30 minutes just after having 5 minutes of work as I said before.

11. Meditate, Workout, & Play

workout - developer stresss

Meditations are important to focus on the present rather than fearing the uncertain future or regretting the past. While meditating you will often take a deep breath which is imperative to boost your physical and mental strength.

Working out or just simply playing soccer will help your body release endorphins which is helpful in alleviating depression, and reducing stress and anxiety. This is why you should move your limbs at the gym and get some sweat on your forehead. But, before lifting weights you should do some stretching.

But don’t overdo them as they can backfire on you. While working out, you should get help from the coach so that you can target each and every muscle of your body to pump them up evenly.

12. Green Tea Can be Your Healer

green tea - developer stress

Drinking green tea can reduce your stress as it contains L-theanine, which is an amino acid. Studies suggest that L-theanine is adept at removing both physiological and psychological stress. While preparing it try to consume it without sugar.

But then again don’t drink too much green tea as it can over-stimulate your nervous system leading to additional stress rather than improvement.

13. Connect with Sunshine & Nature

developer stress

Whatever you do, if you don’t expose your body in the mild sunshine then you will feel depressed and will start to feel more stressed.

As a matter of fact, there is a strong negative correlation between sunshine and depression. It is believed that the vitamin D of sunshine helps you to remain mentally active and jolly.

Besides, once you see the blue sky and green landscape, especially at the time of rising sun and setting sun, you will feel that you are connected to nature. I try to enjoy the dawn and afternoon and last but not least the twilight as well. Believe it or not, nature has the incredible power of restoration of our mental and physical health.

14. Take Day-offs

developer stress

Don’t skimp on taking day-offs. And let’s not convert all your annual leaves into money.

Apparently, it seems like you are not doing tasks but rather hanging out with your friends and family. But in reality, you are basically giving your brain time to revert to its normal state and restore its stamina.

4 Special Tips to Manage Stress for Software Developers

All the suggestions above could apply to anybody working at an office or sitting before the monitor. In this segment, we are going to give some more for individuals working with technology that changes abruptly.

1. Use Automation Software

If you are a backend developer, you might want to know the server information like what are the versions of software your users are using. This data will help you refine the user experience by tuning and fine-tuning your solution.

You may also want to manage the license key, and send auto-updates without spending too much time on these. No matter what type of software you are developing, you can get assistance from automated software.

If you are a WordPress developer, you can use Appsero to manage your WordPress plugin release, manage licenses, or get server information in the easiest way.

appsero for wordpress

2. Learn the Relevant Tools and Framework

The landscape of innovation in the tech industry is changing rapidly and it will be accelerating in the days to come. But there are a few popular foundations and principles adopted widely for programming languages. Which means they are not changing any time soon. You must master those skills to stay strong in the competition.

But for frontend developers, new web frameworks may pop up from out of nowhere. To stay ahead of the curve, don’t feel pressured to master those new shiny tools.

Learn the Relevant Tools and Framework

If you are a backend develoer, you might see a drastical shift from monolith to microservices, from server rendered apps to SPA(Single page applications) or hybrids, from desktop app database to PWA (Progressive Web Apps), from serverless to the JAM Stack (JavaScript, APIs, and Markup). The list just keeps growing and growing. However, people are also talking about Docker and Kubernetes.

Whatever, you learn, don’t go all in to rearchitect your stack by learning everything new that comes along the way. It can make you stressed. And make a decision that you really need to learn instead of any hype.

3. Automatic Testing before Sending to QA Team

If you want to enjoy a sound sleep at night, then unit tests and integration/e2e tests are not a good thing to have. To stay stress-free, you can conduct automated tests even though your company has a QA team. This will help you keep a great deal of stress at bay by providing a more bug-free user experience to your users.

4. Refactor the Bare Minimum

By continuously improving the design of code, we make it easier and easier to work with. This is in sharp contrast to what typically happens: little refactoring and a great deal of attention paid to expediently adding new features. If you get into the hygienic habit of refactoring continuously, you’ll find that it is easier to extend and maintain code.

Joshua Kerievsky, Refactoring to Patterns

Refactoring improves the design, structure, and/or implementation of the software while keeping the original functionalities intact. But don’t be a perfectionist to refactor by making drastic changes as it may require additional effort. This extra effort will make you more stressed.

Thus work on only the bare necessities to keep your code abreast of the latest code or tech trends.

The Final Outcome to Reduce Developer Stress

Let’s get a summary on what you should do to handle your stress at work-

  • Have Adequate Sleep & Walk 5/25 minutes
  • Reduce Eye Strain
  • Work Smarter, Not Harder; Break down Your Tasks
  • Apply 80/20 Principles Recursively
  • Take a Balanced Diet & Stretch Often
  • Meditate, Workout, & Play
  • Drink Green Tea
  • Connect with Sunshine & Nature
  • Take Day offs
  • Use Automation Software
  • Learn the Relevant Tools and Framework

This is it! Thanks a lot for reading this far. I have tried to compile all the tips and tricks that I have followed to stay as calm as possible even during the busiest time.

However, if you think that there might be even easier hacks to reduce developer stress, feel free to drop us a line below.

If you liked our article please share this article as a token of appreciation. Thanks in advance!