What do you do when you feel overwhelmed and stressed? Sometimes life, work, responsibility and timelines can make you feel overwhelmed. Software development as a career can be VERY STRESSFUL. Constant problem solving, evolving programming tools and methodologies, and burdensome expectations of constant perfection can really take a toll on your mind and body. On top of that there are also the stresses of life to deal with (family, bills, etc). We really need to take care of ourselves in this line of business.
I know what stress feels like
You don’t last a decade in this business without going through some stressful situations. Here are some stressful moments off the top of my head that I’ve dealt with.
Everything seems to work in the development environment, but when moved to production nothing works…
Key pieces of software stop working for no “apparent” reason.
Having to debug an issue for a user that needs software to be fixed instantly.
Dealing with disrespectful people
Dealing with micro managers
Working through the night and getting no sleep
Not being compensated for the overtime that you have to put in
How I deal with stress as a Developer
Times like these make you question why you chose this career to begin with, and what you can do to cope with the stress. It will never be completely removed, but you can deal with it. Here are some things I do when feel overwhelmed and stressed:
The first thing I do is Pray. You may not believe in prayer or a higher power but praying actually works for me. It calms my mind and helps me feel like I’m not alone.
I go for walks even if it is just to the washroom. This is vital for me. Walking helps me to clear my mind and relax. I’m fortunate to have a park near my place of work and I find that walking through nature helps to calm me down.
I try to get proper rest at night! I do my best development work in the wee hours of the night/early morning, but I find that staying up to late at night is not good if you are dealing with stress. Check out this post for more information about the results of sleep deprivation https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss
I vent to a loved one. My wife is not a developer, but having her there to listen and to be my biggest supporter helps .
I try not to think about work in my off hours. That is my time.
Stress Prevention as a Developer
There are times when we will not be able to control the circumstances that come your way. However, there are also times when there could have been some preventative measures to your stressful situation.
Time Management is very important, and if truth be told, at times this could be the cause of the late nights and lack of sleep. Try not to procrastinate.
Ask questions to those who know more than you! Don’t be a hero. If a problem has already been solved get the solution and give credit where credit is due.
Show respect to the users of your applications. Developing rapport with your users can go a long way if an issue arises with the software.