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5 Techniques I Use To Manage Stress As A Software Engineer

Nick Bull on October 20, 2020

If you are not a monk, stress is a part of your life. We face it constantly, at work, at home, in various life situations. And if we don't know ho...
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Doaa Mahely

I’ve personally noticed how journaling helps clear the mind. I’m not doing it regularly yet, only when I feel the need for it.

I turned off most non-critical notifications after watching The Social Dilemma. That’s how they get you! 👽

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Doaa!

Journaling is my ❤️ habit

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Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

I like the content, but the title is off IMHO.
Our bodies are not built for permanent stress.
They are built for peak of stress to avoid an imminent danger.
It's the switch to go in survival mode for a limited amount of time.
Therefore, permanent stress is a poison for our bodies.
Therefore, stress should not be "managed", it should be eliminated, resolved, taking care of

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Thijs Brobbel

I'm already using some of these things (disabling notifications, doing pomodoro time), and absolutely agree that that helps. I stopped doing the "goal at beginning of the day/week" approach, but I'm gonna start with that. Really useful.

Didn't really have a name for the "brain fog" experience, at the end of the day, but that's a good name for it! Glad to find out that this is a known thing, and my goal for the upcoming period is to prevent that by applying these practices more deliberately.

Thank you!

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Thijs Brobbel

Actually, I didn't completely finish reading the post, but just read 5: Clean Desk. That's even more true for me, on the digital level. I notice when my desk is filled with windows, and the browser with dozens of tabs, then I'm also stressed and anxious. Clearing everything up, closing all tabs let's that melt away!

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks for reading!

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Tomas Sirio

The logging every day, walking and stretching are SO true. I'll be trying the flight mode for a couple hours a day. Thanks for the idea

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Nick Bull Author

Hope it will help you 🥂

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David Kyle Choe

I love that so many of these tips are applicable for non-devs as well.

One practice that I've started that I've found incredible benefit from is breathing. It's ridiculous how simple it is but really found that 90 seconds of deep breathing where I feel my stomach contract and expand, make me feel fundamentally different.

Apparently, 90 seconds of breathing makes the body feel as safe as if it had just done a full workout.

Linked the podcast here to learn more: brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-...

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Phong Duong

Your post is really good. I usually take a 10-minutes break after working for 50 minutes. It is good for me. When I try to work for a long time, both my mental and physical health are tired. Thank you for your techniques

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Lesley Hilton

Thank you for these helpful tips!
I used to work for an attorney who cleaned his desk every day before leaving for home. And he was fastidious about it—-not one scrap of paper on his desk at the end of the day.
I have been employing that technique since that time, and found it a very useful way to manage stress!
I don’t know how people work with piles of papers everywhere; just looking at it makes me uncomfortable. Our environment affects our mood.
Thanks again for the article!

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Stojanovski Petar

The Flight mode is a great idea! I have been using the "Digital Wellbeing" app, which basically let's you select apps that will be disabled for a certain period of time. I found this helpful, as well!
Good read!

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Petar!

Great that you found what works for you! I just use my willpower 😅

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Dany Tulumidis

Nice Article!
I can recommend the book "Atomic Habits" from James Clear for anyone who is interested how to stop bad habits and stick to good ones. Habits are one, if not the, most important thing when it comes to productivity.
Have a nice day :)

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Nick Bull Author

Recommend it too. Habits control 50%+ of our life, if you can master it, you can master most of your life.

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LyAVALE95

The best tip i've never followed: DON'T eat over the desk

It sounds like an amazing way to save time. But for your health, it would be the worst mistake that you can take over your personal habits.

I being eating in front of the computer during 10 years (I'm 25), and I can see the difference (I have phone issues sometimes).

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Chris Raser

These are all great tips for managing short-term stress, but as someone suffering the long-term health consequences of several stressful jobs, it's monumentally important to be clear that if a job is stressful enough that it requires you to practice "stress management" techniques, the best course of action is to get a new job.

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Cesar Aguirre

Thanks for the tips. I've used the journal, but I found it for the first time as "brain dump". Also, I've started to use Stretchly to add pauses along my day. Happy coding

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Cesar!

Never heard about Stretchly, what's good about it?

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Cesar Aguirre

It's a free and opensource app that reminds you to take pauses. You can configure the schedule and duration of your pauses. And it shows activity suggestions during the pauses: stretch your arms, grab a glass of water, etc. Hope you find it helpful too

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Felipe Schossler

Really thank you about this post. There are many technical posts on the internet but when you achieve your worst stress scenario you learn that every tip here is extreme important.

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Felipe!

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Sam Borick

In guessing by 'Flight Mode' you mean 'Airplane Mode' but for me it has an important other meaning. Checking Notifications can be a form of avoidance for stressful tasks.

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Nick Bull Author

Yes, I mean Airplane mode.

If you check notifications as a response to stress, you can form a bad habit.

Trigger – stress.
Response – check notifications.

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Brian Juul Andersen

Nice article. Thank you 🙂👍

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Brian, appreciate that 🌟

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Stephanie Morillo

I love the morning journal idea, Nick!

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Stephanie 🌟

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Arc Angelo Ibalio

I find meditation and doing side project with friends help me get out stress.

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Nick Bull Author

Meditation is an interesting topic, maybe I will write about it too.

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chrismane

Good ones. Especially flight mode.

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Kayvon Ranjbar

Thanks for sharing this! I can say that I have been practicing a habit of doing breathing exercises for 3 minutes each morning, and I notice the difference on days that I skip it.

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Nick Bull Author

I do it too between working session, 4x4 and Wim Hof breathing.

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Billy Chan

nice article, it helped me a lot

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Anja

Great tips! I also occasionally write down affirmations like 'I pass the exam' e.g., it helps to put yourself in the right mindset.

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Anja!

Affirmations are huge. They can put you into "success" frame.

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Melissa Heying

Love this. Thank you!

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Melissa!

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Mark Harr

Bourbon. Period.

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Valentin Baca

All wonderful tips and ones I find invaluable in my work as well.

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Nick Bull Author

Thank you Valentin, appreciate that 🙌

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Tharindu Sathischandra

Actually a nice article.
Small question, Do you use an app, or just paper for Morning Journal? What do you suggest?

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elizabethmorrison56

Wow, these tips seem to be very effective. I'll definitely try them out!

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rajeshmbg3

Nice Article I liked it

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Omar White

I recently started turning of my notifications for certain apps, mostly social media. I think it’s reduced my anxiety and increased my focus considerably.

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komkanit

Can you explain more about Brain dump? how do you write it's or the example of it's.

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Nick Bull Author

Just write down everything that's on your mind. Clean your head from all your thoughts.

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khacywin

I think we also need a good diet.

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Nick Bull Author

Yes, diet and exercising playing a huge role.

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Daniel

Hi Nick, interesting techniques, I'll try em out. Thanks for sharing.

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Nick Bull Author

Thanks Deniel!

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spacePersonal364

thaks for the advice, i realy appreciate that.

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NomaXxRe

For software engineers it is very hard to find something that will really help with their stress except changing their job, kidding. It will be very hard for them to do so. I know that coffee and Red Bull are not the best solutions, on contrary the worst possible ways to stay on tune with their work and themselves due to their workload. I and my friends found a solution on another forum for several months ago, and that was bali red kratom. We were skeptic at first but after some research and positive feedback decided to take the risk, and how good it went afterwards. We used to be aggressive and headache was something normal to us. After a short time we find out ourselves so much more focused in work and the quality of daily work flow. No more anxiety, everything just flew away.