Life as a developer can be both exciting yet exhausting at the same time. We all know what it's like to do something while sitting down. Whether it is programming, doing schoolwork or anything on the chair, it can get really bad for your health. Here are some self-care tips that I've personally been doing to keep myself physically healthy while coding.
Caffeine - I would say - is a developer's best friend. It is always on your desk, on your hand or somewhere near you. I know, it's easy to binge on the caffeine when you're working. But too much can be detrimental for your health. It can cause serious addictions, fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure and more.
Also, I realized that coffee drastically reduces my appetite. It may be different to some people but for me, I found myself eating less food when I consume coffee. So basically, I exchange the opportunity to eat good vitamins and nutrients for a caffeine-filled drink with no nutrition.
Tip 1: Consume a cup of coffee at most per day. Don't overdose on caffeine.
Instead, drink water. It is always recommended by health professionals for a reason. Water can help you stay focused and hydrated. It also regulates your temperature and... all the benefits of water are endless.
Have a cup of water or a bottle on your desk at all times. You will more likely reach for it if it's in front of you.
When you are staring at the computer screen all day, your eyes are exposing themselves to blue light which can penerate the retina can cause eye fatigue.
Taking eye breaks from time to time can help refresh your eyes and relief them from potential fatigue. The best way to keep your eyes healthy is to look far frequently. Look outside. Look at the trees, the roads and the buildings around you. This will keep you from experiencing eye strain.
Tip 2: Look at far objects frequently to refresh your eyes.
If you are like me and often get engrossed in work, you might forget to take frequent eye breaks. As a bonus tip, try using a Pomodoro timer to help remind you to look far. Or in the spirit of being a developer, how about making your own Pomodoro timer? (On second thought, maybe not cuz you'll get engrossed in that project and forget to look far again...)
Our jobs requires us to sit on our chair 80-90% of our day. Poor sitting posture plus the duration of sitting can add up and cause back, shoulders and neck problems too. Trust me, once you have back problems, it is hard to cure. Hence, it is important to spend some time, just 30 minutes each day, to stand up, walk and stretch for your body's well-being.
Tip 3: Light exercises and moving more can help in improving blood circulation and overall health.
If you are not motivated enough to move, invest in a standing desk so you can at least stand up from time to time. Or invite friends to exercise with you so it is more fun.
Wow, this I can't stress enough. Sleep is super important for your physical and mental health. I used to pull all-nighters, sleeping at 11am and waking up at 4pm to start working again through the night. My sleep patterns went all over the place. I feel tired and easily agitated all the time and "horrible" is the best word to describe it.
Now that my sleep is regulated, I feel more energetic during the day and sleep better at night, which shows how important sleep is. I know it is exciting to work on that project late into night. No one is bothering you and you can code by yourself, making that wonderful project. But remember that in the long run, your body will not thank you for those habits. So start sleeping early (no later than 1am) and for 7-8 hours a day.
Tip 4: Sleep! It promotes happiness, good cognitive functions, better metabolism and more!
Yes, I know you love coding. That's why you become a developer. But it is also important to explore out of your comfort zone and enjoy some activities too. As developers, we often build projects that most non-techies would not use or appreciate. If you are a developer looking to start your own business, then you must be out and about. Talking to people outside the tech world and gaining new insights may inspire you to develop something amazing.
If "networking" is a scary word for you (like it is for me), then try finding new hobbies and meet new people that way. How about sports? Arts? Music? Books? Anything you may enjoy doing. You will meet people with the same interests and make friends that way. So have fun. Love coding, but love your life outside coding too!
As for me, I often read books, play video games with friends or paint whenever I take a break from coding. It is relaxing to do other things once in a while.
Tip 5: Find and enjoy other activities. It is a great way to meet people outside your circle too.
Thanks for reading this till the end. I hope these are some helpful tips which you can apply immediately to start taking better care of your physical and mental health. A good developer is a healthy developer after all! If you find this helpful, be sure to leave a like and share it around. Also, if you have any good self-care tips besides the ones I mentioned above, please share it in the comments below. Have a happy self-care journey! Cheers!