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What do you code to relax?

edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y
I'm a creative programmer and puzzles designer. I cook monsters.
・1 min read

My projects have me jumping through hoops of a wide variety of technology, talking to people, writing, and even designing graphics. Sometimes I like to sit down and write something simple, as a way to relax.

Sometimes I find my own code projects to be relaxing. The MDL parser I'm working on now is one of them. I don't have any timelines, nor pressure to get it done.

Oddly, the pressure to get something done is one of the reasons why I gave up on my programming language. Perhaps it's the size of the project that makes a difference. My MDL project is small in scope and is useful almost immediately.

I used to code on Twitch streams as well. At first, it was relaxing, but I found an audience took that away somewhat. It wasn't stressful, but it wasn't relaxing either. As I coded the bots to fight others, I could feel people depending on me -- it really made no difference how few there were!

But MDL is relaxing, which leads to a problem other workaholics will identify with. Because it's relaxing, that work part of my brain isn't satisfied and continues questioning whether I should work on it, and often doesn't even let me start working on it. Though, I suppose this is another tale altogether.

Do you code to relax? If yes, then what do you code?

Discussion (36)

jackharner profile image
Jack Harner 🚀

My coding for relaxation typically revolves around my CodePen. Just the little "Hey is this possible" or playing around with new tech just to get more familiar with it:

or recreating things as closely as I can with CSS (looks better on CodePen or hit the 0.5x button):

(That was a fun project that forced me to learn a lot, plus it blew up on CodePen. 33k views?! What?!)

I find it most relaxing when it's not really related to anything I'm currently working on, but still mentally stimulating and helps me learn.

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y Author

Playing with animation is fun!

jackharner profile image
Jack Harner 🚀

Most definitely. Started playing around with GSAP recently, and holy cow, it's amazing.

johannesjo profile image
Johannes Millan

Wow! This is really impressive!

mjordancodes profile image

I was in an interview recently that didn’t like the idea of coding to relax. They wanted to see open source contributions, community involvement, and projects showing I know the new shinny things, but also wanted me to talk about the non-tech things I do to relax. That stressed me out. Why can’t silly or fun projects be relaxing?! Glad to see other people like to code to relax!

gualtierofr profile image
Gualtiero Frigerio

I wouldn't talk about coding to relax. I do side projects to learn new things, it is funny and not stressful, but I'm still working on my computer.
Relax is something different, and at least in my case doesn't involve technology.
If I need to name a relaxing activity I do on my computer is watching video or reading something, but coding requires attention, even if is not demanding and there are no deadlines.

jsn1nj4 profile image

This 100%

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

My code livelihood is fairly intertwined with DEV these days, so my "relaxation" time is often interesting things related to the health and future of the project, as opposed to my day-to-day which is mostly coordinating the important/urgent things for the short term health of the community and sustainability of the business.

Before we went open source, I would spend relaxing time hacking away at little things that needed to happen before we did that. These days, if I sit down to have a relaxing code session, it revolves around "generalization" of the product—where different people can create community platforms based on our work.

For example, this PR serves some immediate value, but my mindset was that it gets us closer to "generalization" by removing hardcoded static pages from the codebase.

Add application "page" model #2657

What type of PR is this? (check all applicable)

  • [ ] Refactor
  • [x] Feature
  • [ ] Bug Fix
  • [ ] Documentation Update


This PR allows admins to generate "pages" about anything, such as "about".

Currently all generated pages live at /page/:slug in terms of routes, except I did add new functionality to /about in order to generate that one with the current about page being the fallback.

Eventually everything considered a "page" for community or marketing purposes can live in a model. We will have some questions about how we ultimately want to route everything.

Once this part of what we're doing gets close enough to reality, we'll pull this project in and make it something we talk about and do as "work". For now, I treat it as relaxing "me time" with no deadline or purpose outside of the interesting code arrangement questions.

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y Author

That's great. I've been on several projects where I was relaxed working on the side-features. It has the added value of keeping spirits up about the necessary work, since it all feels more worthwhile as a whole then.

amit_savani profile image
Amit Patel

I go to stackoverflow and search for unanswered questions especially negative votes and questions marked for on hold or close. Those are the questions asked generally by novice developers where they are really stuck and doesn't have enough knowledge.

I feel satisfied(relax!) when they find the solution. Sometime I create quick dirty PR to help them so they can move.

foodogsquared profile image
Gabriel Arazas

I mostly do creative coding to relax with Processing (or p5.js). If I can't find an inspiration, then I just go on The Coding Train channel and a watch a video then recreating it without looking back as much as possible. Not only it's a fun way of relaxation but it's also a challenging one without putting much pressure to myself.

thatjoemoore profile image
Joseph Moore

Call me crazy, but I write unit tests. There's something about the cycle of red -> green -> refactor that I find incredibly soothing (which is also one reason why I love TDD).

Also, if I've got an extended period of down time that I can't spend in the mountains, I learn new languages. I often don't use them after an initial period of learning (I've never written a line of Clojure that wasn't in my book!), but it fills my need to solve problems without the pressure of deadlines and such.

stojakovic99 profile image
Nikola Stojaković • Edited

I enjoy writing tests and documentation. Most colleagues would call me crazy, but I just enjoy all parts of software development process (well, almost all; the only thing I hate is deployment without containers).

alexpogrebinsky profile image
Alexander A Pogrebinsky

Great question - After a long day at work I try to stay away from all work related projects. The best coding I do to "relax" would be studying new languages, theories, and concepts. I picked up a book on Machine Learning last month and have been engrossed in that, and have also been learning Python on the side (I mostly work in C# and JS frameworks at work). I think getting out of the comfort zone is really important for developers to hone in new schools, expand their knowledge, and also it doesn't feel like work.

mrtnrdl profile image
Martin Riedel

I don't do that, and i felt like an imposter. It took a few years to realize, that everybody is different. That helped me quite a bit, to enjoy my hobbies (again). I now just play guitar and do photography without a bad conscience nagging me :)

torresjrjr profile image
Byron Torres

I recently wrote for fun some Python code (GitHub | which can plot 3D+ Bezier curves. Basically mathematician's child's play. It's always funny once you've accomplished your vision, and you see all the little tweaks you could do to take it one step further. It just never stops, and it's quite fun.

checkboxoz profile image
Oz Ramos

One of my rituals in the morning is to write a "Daily", which is basically a small journal entry of what my code and personal development goals are for that day.

The benefit of this to me is that by writing it down, I'm hyper aware of my progress. Every few hours or whenever I fall out of flow I'll go back to the entry and add a comment or two of new libraries I found or lessons learned while debugging something.

I find that it's super therapeutic because it breaks up my day between coding and non coding sessions that are still centered around the project. It also creates a running devlog of everything I do that I can later either clean up as a blog post or just share on Twitter as a list of cool things I found!

tterb profile image
Brett Stevenson

When I code to relax I usually tweak and experiment with new tech on my personal website. Though I've recently taken on responsibility for some of my companies open source packages and so a lot of my relax-time has been spent doing that lately.

saschadev profile image
Der Sascha

I coding in my free time solutions that makes fun for me like this iot project: (this blog is Witten in german) this läßt Project was an chrsotmas town made from wood. I side them I inserted so e LEDs and controll them via iobroker to turn the houses on or off.

Beside this I have beekeeping as Hobby. So in summer I am working mostly on this Hobby and in Winter I working of Sone small project like the Christ as town :)

dsaw profile image
Devesh Sawant

I usually work on side projects that are interesting and involve new concepts.
Last year, I worked on a tiny library of sorts in Python to compute the next best move in board games, using a minimax tree. The idea just came out in the last minute and I enjoyed making it! Here's the link
Right now am working on cloning a resume using CSS Flexbox.

andreasjakof profile image
Andreas Jakof

I am currently learning some F# and doing the Functional Programming on Hackerrank.
Since I do it for fun and just for me, there is no pressure. And if the test designer was overly clever by giving very short time outs... It‘s either accepting a challange or „Nah, don‘t care. I solved the problem itself“ and move on to the next.

But usually I don’t code in my free time, but rather spend time with my wife.

dianacoman profile image
Diana Coman

Anything in Ada is pure bliss after a while in C/CPP swamps. Other than that though, Eulora encourages players to make their own bots and artists to make their own art so perhaps something you might find relaxing?

Sloan, the sloth mascot
Comment deleted
programazing profile image
Christopher C. Johnson

Right now I'm working on a Hugo theme which I find relaxing.

I'm also working on a tool that watches and compares PDFs for changes. It's a little more hectic than the theme but it's still relaxing.

alzedd profile image

Trying to figure out DDD and Go at the same time, I usually code in PHP with Symfony, so I'm always stuck with the same old MVC pattern over and over again.
Right now I am trying to build a simple Jekyll clone in Go, but I am far from having a finished product right now.

But, basically as long as I am learning something new I don't feel tired.

val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca

I've been going through past years of

It's not unlike most other code challenge websites (leetcode, etc.) but a few things that I like about it:

  • tool/language agnostic: I've been switching between solving in Go, Python, and Common Lisp. I can use whatever tools, languages, or libraries I want. Similar to project Euler but less focused on "just math".
  • simple input, simple output: I can decide if I want the input hardcoded in source, read in as an argument or read from a file
  • examples given: I solve most problems using real TDD
  • choice of problems: some of the problems are simple, almost cute, purely relaxing. Others teach me entirely new algorithms
jenc profile image
jen chan

So far... refactor my old projects -_-

giovannicodes profile image
Giovanni Cortés

Right now, I am creating video games as hobby

roelofjanelsinga profile image
Roelof Jan Elsinga

I can totally relate to that last sentence! I too feel like "should I really be relaxing or just work on it some more?" all the time!

I do code to relax, but relaxation in my head is a bit more like stimulating my brain to come up with creative solutions to self imposed problems. For example: I'm building a CMS that doesn't use a database or any other external tools for that matter. Which means I have to make use of things like JSON and YAML files to persist my data.

Being able to come up with creative solutions is the aspect of it that relaxes me. It sounds silly, but learning is fun.

nijeesh4all profile image
Nijeesh Joshy

I just started my professional career as a programmer. So what i do in my free time is i build my portfolio website. It gives me a platform to learn and experiment with new things.

codebeautify profile image
Code Beautify

Mostly refactoring my old projects, implementing something new that I have learned. Lately working on my last project . No pressure, just pleasure 😄

iagosilva profile image
Iago Silva

I'm developing a gem for Ruby :)

theadambyrne profile image
Adam Byrne

Tiny games w canvas or c#

jmervine profile image
Joshua Mervine • Edited

I like to automate day to day tasks or clean up past scripts all using Bash. Working with a linter and ensuring that it’s well structured, functional, commented and clean.

projectmagenta profile image

What I code for relaxation is mostly practical stuff that I make for myself, like a replacement for Unity mode (VMware) on Linux.