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Henry Boisdequin
Henry Boisdequin

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How to Come Back From Burnout

Burnout is tough. When you are burnt out from something, you resent it, and don't want touch it again. This unhealthy relationship with that thing only decreases your productivity and your mental health. Well, this exactly happened with me and programming. Learning to code over 2 years ago, I thought my relationship with code was great. In that short 1 year span that I did code, it was my #1 priority, making a stark imbalance in my life. This imbalance led me to not write another line of code for 2 years, until recently. After a long break, I feel the urge to come back into coding, and rekindle my passion that I used to love. In this article, I will go over the most important things that I kept in mind over this journey of relearning and rediscovering. I hope these help you too :)

1. Address the reasons why you want to come back to coding

thinking

To make sure that you will have a healthy relationship with code, you need to make sure that you are coming back from burnout for yourself, and your needs. If you are doing it for other people, or purely for the sake of getting a job, for example, it will be much harder to devote time and effort into coding consistently. This would lead to another burnout, which is the main thing we are trying to avoid! In my case, I felt that I had extra time in my life, that I wanted to dedicate to a hobby. Since programming is something I used to love, I wanted to try it again, as in combination with me finding it very interesting and worthwhile, it is a practical skill for the future. In summary, make sure that you are coming back from burnout for you, and what you want to do. This will keep you motivated and interesting in coding.

2. Make a plan

planning

Learning to code, and relearning to code is no different, you need to make a plan! To make sure you aren't all over the place, scrambling to learn every technology that you knew previously, you need to assemble a plan. Something very common with burnout is feeling overwhelmed with all the things you need to do to get back to where you were prior. To prevent this feeling, you need to take it one step at a time, to make your foundations strong but also to maintain that healthy relationship. In my case, for the past few weeks, I've just been relearning Python, the first programming language I learned. Since Python is easy to learn, I thought it would be a logical starting point for me. Although my main programming language was Rust, I felt like that would be a harder starting point, leading to more roadblocks and possibly being overwhelmed. Before you start getting into coding again, outline the languages/concepts/frameworks you want to relearn, and the resources that you will use. This will keep you on track, but also prevent you from being overwhelmed as you have a clear plan to get back to where you were before. Furthermore, it's rewarding to tick off the tasks that you have completed, giving yourself more motivation to continue.

3. Make it fun for yourself

project

In my journey of returning to coding, I have been learning by doing. I started off super basic, wanting to make a command-line contact book in Python. I outlined the different things that I would need to do in order to complete this project, and just went into it, attempting to rekindle my knowledge along the way. If you don't know how to do something, AI and documentation is your friend! This made the process of relearning the nitty-gritty of Python more fun and enjoyable for me. Joining communities is another amazing way to make the experience fun. There is a great community here on DEV, and writing blog posts, about your experiences for example, will help you 1) stay accountable to your relearning process, but also 2) engage with the community by asking for questions or just sharing how you have been recovering from burn out. Find a supportive community that will lift you up, and be there if you have any questions or concerns.

4. Take breaks

break

In order to ensure that you don't get burned out again, you need to take breaks. Maintaining a healthy relationship with code relies on the fact that you have other things to turn too when you get stumped or just need a break. For me, I enjoy physical exercise/sports and spending time with family and friends. These activities take my mind off coding, and allow me to take a break. Finding what works for you is crucial to maintaining that healthy relationship. Here are some ideas of activities you can do to get your mind off coding: physical exercise, spending time with friends/family, meditation, reading, art, music, etc.

5. Check in once in a while, to see if your relationship with code is healthy

reflection

For me, this is the most important point to ensure that your relationship with code stays healthy. You need to check in once in a while, to see if your life is balanced and your relationship with code is healthy. Whether this be scheduled breaks or just reflecting on your mental health, taking some time to think about how you can prevent burnout and just enjoy coding is crucial. Two years ago, when I was doing an immense amount of coding, everything seemed perfect, as I flew from language to language, framework to framework. It is not until I was suddenly hit by burnout that I realized that this obsessive learning was unhealthy for me. If I took a pause ever so often in my learning journey, it would've allowed me to prevent burnout and have a healthy relationship with coding.


To conclude, make sure you keep these five points in mind when coming back from a burnout. Reflection and keeping one's relationship with code healthy is something we oftentimes take for granted. That is why it is essential to check in once in a while, stay streamlined, and always have fun. Good luck to all of you coming back from burnout, it's always hard! You can always reach out to me, boisdequinhenry19@gmail.com, for any questions. Thanks for reading.

Henry Boisdequin

Top comments (25)

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fadzliahmad profile image
FadzliAhmad

For real though, just as I'm starting to recode again this article first popped out. It is like a sign to really go back into coding.

Thank you for this, it really helped me realign my purpose in code. Kudos to you man.

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

I’m glad you found this article helpful. Best of luck with returning to coding!

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polopopeye profile image
Kenneth Suarez • Edited

You need to enjoy coding, I never stopped coding becouse I have my personal projects that helpme continue in though times. And the most important a healthy environment is needed, great Developers but great people as well makes the difference when u are in your downs or your best

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Well said, I completely agree!

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (agent double)

I want to make an article about mental health in the coming weeks, do you mind if I quote your article?

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Absolutely, no problem! I look forward to reading your article.

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juyn profile image
Xavier Dubois πŸ‡«πŸ‡· • Edited

Thx for this post. I've been trying to write about burnout for a while now, I've a bunch of draft that I can"t manage to finish yet.
Still some work to do on my part before I can speak out loud about this story in a way that may actually be helpful for my fellow coders.

Kudos for this article and for your journey !

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Thank you for reading. I look forward to reading your article on burnout!

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rojas01 profile image
Rojas

To come back from burnout, prioritize self-care and make necessary changes:

Take time off: Rest and recharge by taking a break from work.
Establish boundaries: Set clear limits to avoid excessive work.
Seek support: Talk to a trusted person or therapist.
Gradually return: Start with manageable tasks and slowly increase workload.
Prioritize self-care: Practice stress management, exercise, and engage in activities you enjoy.

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Great tips!

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sentadoensilla profile image
sentadoensilla

Hello guys!
I thinking about it for cuple of years. For me, the code is great but some things address you to bornout:

When you entire day is coding (please do something different without inteligent devices)

When the users access direct to you (You should put a border and limit to users because they make you head off)

When the tools (OS, code base, programmin language, bosses, etc) do not follow a healthy life cicle, example javascript frameworks and crazy upgrade-deprecated cicle was basicly become you a rat into wheel

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cecheverri4 profile image
Cristian Echeverria

Great post!

I have been in similar situation it started 2 years ago for me after working really hard for 6 months with a startup doing everything, this was during Covid time.

I stopped working and moved to another company, then I had two jobs for the period of one year, which was hard, but I needed to pay some debt then I decided to just have one job, it was too much.

Now what I do is that I take time off more often, and make some exercise regularly, I love football so I try to play it often.

Also, I decided to learn something different than coding, Im focused on learning another language, so I'm spending time listening to podcasts and reading books because I want to learn Swedish.

It's not easy to prevent burnout, coding can be a very stressful job, I'm also looking to learn a few other tips on how to deal with stress management, and realize that I'm not the saver of the world. So just relax and take time to go out and meet new people.

Good luck!

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

These are some great tips. It's great to have other activities that you can do when coding is becoming overwhelming. Thank you for the advice!

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adriens profile image
adriens

Thanks for the positive vibes

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Your welcome, best of luck with your coding!

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peterwitham profile image
Peter Witham

Such great advice and tips. By far the most important, in my opinion is to have fun. If you are not doing something because you enjoy it, then it is only a matter of time before burnout repeats.

I also really like the tip about having a plan, I have noticed I start down the path to burning out when I just bounce around on things without questions the how, why, and when.

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

I completely agree, having fun with a plan to fall back on is the best way to go about avoiding burn out. Thanks for reading!

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symon profile image
Symon Michael

This one is a personal issue for me. There's some great ideas in the article - everyone facing this situation will benefit from the moral support of good friends, no what they decide to do in the end.

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

Great article, seems like a good plan to "get back on the horse"...

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Thank you for reading!

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josepedrolorenzini profile image
Jose_Lorenzini • Edited

Excelent post!
Burnout is real and obsession with code too, i have been learning without stop since 2020 and I can recommend to anyone to take a rest , go out , don’t code for 1 or 2 days after a big session of study , then go back and u will realise u have learned a lot.

Sometimes go back to the basics and fundamentals, try to relax, don’t jump from language to language, try to stick with 2 and have fun. 🀩
Saludos

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Henry Boisdequin

I completely agree. Us coders are constantly learning and studying new concepts and frameworks, and taking a break is essential in ensuring our longevity in coding. Thanks for reading!

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Guilherme Carvalho

Very interesting article, in my case coding saved my life as i was an archtect (construction, buildings, interiors, landscape, etc...) and a burnout made me almost forget how to work. Then i got back the profession i had before started to work as architect, and i am slowly updating everything. The most interesting thing is that as i grow up as a coder, some abilities for drawing are also coming back.
But now i go in search of professinal help to recover quickly

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adarshrajpathak profile image
Adarsh Raj Pathak

That was really insightful,
Come back more harder πŸ’ͺ.

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hb profile image
Henry Boisdequin

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the encouragement!