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Dylan Oh
Dylan Oh

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How to avoid burnout as a Developer

Let's pause the technical stuff for a week and talk about how should we maintain our mental health as a developer (as a human).

I have always been a self-motivated person and wanting to push myself to do more and learn more in life. Besides, I had a bad habit where I tend to blame myself so much and felt guilty when I failed to make good use of time. My friends told me that I should get some chill and it's ok to be relax sometimes. However, I did not listen to that and felt that I should not waste any little piece of my time in my 20's. In turn, I slept lesser, kept on forcing myself to sit in front of the computer even though I did not feel like in on that day.

It was just a random night that I suddenly had breathlessness.

I was kinda panic and almost wanted to call the ambulance. As one of my best friends, I reached out to Mr.Google to seek for some self-help methods (bad example, please get help from medical experts) and luckily it did reduce my symptom. Started from that day, I kept having a chest distress and feeling difficult in breathing. I started being suspicious on every part of my body where I felt like none of them is working well. I had seek countless medical help (even a full body checkup). However, all the doctors came out with the same diagnosis: You do not have any issue with your physical health, but it seems like your are experiencing some ANXIETY issues.

I started to think where did this anxiety come from. I did not have too much stress at work as the projects were still manageable, and all my colleagues are awesome. By then, I realized that the source of stress is me, from myself. I had been in the loop of forcing myself to make use of every single second of my life, then I failed and blamed myself for being such an indiscipline person. I believed that I am not the only one having this issue. As a developer, most of us have IMPOSTER SYNDROME, where we always feel like we know nothing and we must be on the lowest end of the curve. This feeling of self-abasement has caused us to wanting to improve and exhaust ourselves.

We all forget this one thing: No one is PERFECT.

When having this imaginery self of being the best programmer in the world, we also have that sense of disappointment to ourselves for not reaching to that level.

One thing that I do to overcome this, is to write down reflections.

Look back at yourself a few years / months ago, just how much have you improved? We don't compare ourselves to others as everyone has a different set of situations and starting point. Who we should compare to is the yesterday self. As long as we are 1% better than that, it is something worth celebrating. By doing this, there is no way that you could not become a better person in the LONG RUN.

Another thing that helps me a lot is to get rid of my social media apps on phone.

People tend to show us the better side of their life and we might start doing comparison subconciously. "Look at these people, they are all living fulfilling and productive lives ... I am such a loser." If you are able to turn all these into motivation to go forward, I think that is good for you. However, most of us will just feel the frustration. Thus, I would suggest that you may uninstall those applications from your phone, but access them through the phone browser if you have to do some catchups with friends. With this, you can increase the resistance of turning them on and get your own life back. It works for me and highly recommended that you try it out.

Lastly, take a break if you have to.

The activities that I would suggest is to have a casual walk (it would be even better to walk in the nature), just flex your brain a little bit. It is totally fine to grab a cup of coffee with friends, to watch a great movie or take a short nap. Exercising is also a great way to reduce the anxiety.

Fortunately, I have been feeling much better nowadays and I am able to share these with all of you. I treat myself much better and I have learnt how to slot resting time into my time blocks. Hope this article helps.

Do follow me for more future articles on web design, programming and self-improvement 😊

Discussion (8)

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aaronmccollum profile image
Aaron McCollum

I have also deleted all social media apps (Reddit was the last to go yesterday in fact) from my phone. Not only does it help reduce time on the site/app and make me happier, but it also removes some of the tracking each of these apps do.

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ohdylan profile image
Dylan Oh Author

Totally agree! 🙌

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antonijodod profile image
Antonijo Đođ

Thank you for this post

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ohdylan profile image
Dylan Oh Author

Thanks for reading too :)

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eng_mrefaie profile image
Mohamed El-Refaie

Awesome. That is exactly me!

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ohdylan profile image
Dylan Oh Author

Yep, I guess most of us are :D

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arsenmazmanyan1104 profile image
Arsen Mazmanyan

As someone, who (unfortunately) had experienced burnout a couple of times, I totally agree with all these points. They really help a lot 🙌

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Dylan Oh Author

I feel you 🤣