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 or 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 chair. 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 neck/back pain all the time if not every now and then.
Most importantly, as you are bomarded with tasks in different projects, you eventually discover yourself in an enormous amount of stress. So, how can you get rid of all these and keep your anxiety at bay?
Well, I am crafting 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 & 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 with 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 counseling with a psychologist on how to remove mental stress. The doctors mainly recommended a healthy lifestyle with fewer medications.
Tips to Handle Physiological and Psychological Stress for Software Developers
I was experimenting with all the ideas and suggestions from the doctors. And 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 had helped me a lot to cope with work pressure! Hope they can help you, too!
Have Adequate Sleep
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. Because working in the sleep time disrupts your sleep pattern causing 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.
Walk 5 Minutes/25 Minutes
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 to be dropped 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 after a long time sitting your energy levels and concentration starts to drop?
Taking a little break to get some movements 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 incline 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.
Reduce Eye Strain
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 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 from bacterial infestation.
Work Smarter Not Harder
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.
Break down Your Tasks
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 the night before you are going to start it.
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 todo list. When the most important works are done you will see that you can accomplish the rests (80%) with less stress.
Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.www.usgs.gov
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 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 have to drink water is when your urine takes pale yellow hue. Sounds crazy, right?
Take Balanced Diet
To avoid stress free you should avoid rich food which takes much time to digest. Avoid too much oil and spicey foods.
Always supplement your food with fruits that are enriched with Vitamin B Complex and 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 having Flavonoids for an instant boost up in your work mood. However, if you can’t digest milk properly then you should avoid it.
Always remembe the less you are sick the more you are productive.
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 in every 30 minutes just after having 5 minutes of work as I said before.
Meditate, Workout, & Play
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 boos your physical and mental strength.
Working out or just simply playing soccer will help your body release endorphins which is helpful to alleviate depression, reduce stress and anxiety. This is why you should move your limbs at the gym and get some sweat in your forehead. But, before lifting weight you should do some stretching.
But don’t overdo them as they can backfire you. While working out, you should take help from the coach so that you can target each and every muscle of your body to pump them up evenly.
Drink Green Tea
Drinking green tea can remove your stress as it contains L-theanine content which is an amino acid. Studies suggest that L-theanine is adept at removing both physiological and pshychlological 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.
Connect with Sunshine & Nature
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 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 the nature. I try to enjoy the dawn and afternoon and last but not least the twilight as well. Believe it or not, the nature has an incredible power of restoration of our mental and physical health.
Don’t skimp on taking day-offs. And let not convert all your annual leaves into money.
Apparently it seems like you are not doing tasks 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.
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 without. In this segment, we are going to give some more for individuals working with technology that changes abruptly.
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, send auto-updates without spending too much time on these. No matter what type of software you are developing, you can take assistance from automated software.
If you are a WordPress developer, you can use Appsero to manage your WordPress plugin release, manage license, or get server information in the easiest way.
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 at 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.
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.
Automatic Testing before Sending to QA Team
If you want to enjoy a sound sleep at night, then unit test 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 more bug free user experience to your users.
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
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 I followed to stay as calm as possible even during the busiest time.
However, if you think that there might be even easier hacks to remain stress free, 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!
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