Building A Healthy Coding Lifestyle

You get hired by a company. They supply endless snacks, drinks and you have to become a coding machine so you find yourself never leaving your desk, constantly chugging down energy drinks and snacking . We as developers can fall into this snackhole trap where we never leave our chair and are just stuck to our desk. What can we do to avoid this cause as developer it can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, which can cause health issues later on down the road. Hopefully these tips I have learned over the years can help people be a more health conscious developer.

Park In The Back

One of the small things I do is when I go to a meeting, I always park at the end of the parking lot. Or when the company has me park in a parking garage, I always park on the top level and take the stairs since I might be going in a meeting for a few hours and we might not get up, for hours on end this is a little pre meeting small workout. Its a trick I do that helps with getting those steps done.

Take Your Lunch Away From Your Desk

This is what I tell a lot of developers, do not take lunch at your desk. It can definitely clutter your desk, go have lunch away from your desk. I learned the hard way that it is not the most healthy and efficient way to eat. When you are eating at your desk and working you aren’t giving your brain and body a break. When I worked at my desk and ate I would find myself stressing from worrying about something in my emails that popped up. If you don’t take a breather it can cause stress eating and makes you finish your meal way too fast.

Stand Up So Often

Now this might sound easy but I know from experience when you get sucked into code you can lose track of time. This is where my iWatch definitely comes into play. It notifies me when I have been sitting to long and I definitely do stand up when it tells me I need to actually start moving.The reason for this is cause its very unhealthy to sit for long periods of time and I wouldn’t want to end up like one of those gamers who sits for 48 hours straight and then stands up and dies. This is why I would suggest getting some type of fitness tracker that tells you to stand when you have been idle for too long.

When I was teaching I also put this into my students, cause I would require a break half way through the class or when everyone looked like they were being chair potatoes. They definitely did start to notice how outside of class they would sit for 8 hours and never stand up. Its one of those many things you have to unlearn cause we don’t spend enough time standing or moving anymore due to how much we are tied to a desk.

Less Energy Drinks More Tea

One of the best things I could have done since becoming a developer is throwing aside any and all energy drinks. I drink tea, just straight black tea or green tea with no sugar. I have found that cutting out all energy drinks has helped my stomach and body feel ten times better and less like I am riding the razors edge of exhaustion and not having to worry about the energy drink crash. Now if you do need to add sugar use the stevia instead of sugar, its less calories and a better replacement.

I also have started making my own cold brew which is beyond easy. No need to visit a coffee shop every day and buy a 5 dollar cold brew you can just make your own with a simple container from amazon and just buy some coffee and let it seep for a 24-48 hours. Cutting back on the sugar coffee from starbucks or other coffee places have helped me feel a lot better since I started making my own cold brew.

More Fruit Less Salty Snacks

I am sure we all have been at companies that supply us snacks. From chips to cookies among the other dozen things that are in bag, I have noticed that those type of snacks aren’t really healthy. Even some we might think that are healthy. What I have found as a great replacer is fruit or sugarfree yogurt with fruit. I think the reason why I depended on them is they would provide a temporary high from the sugar in them and it helped me to keep going non stop. Even getting trailmix that focuses more on dried fruit and with less sugar can help curb the hunger.

Getting Some Good Rest

Now this might sound easy but as you become a developer it can be very tough to do. Especially when your phone goes off or your boss is telling you to get stuff done over the weekend. There comes a time where you need to unplug and get a decent nights rest. One of the best things you can do is to not leave your phone next to your bed when you go to sleep, it adds unnecessary stress. And when you have your phone right next to your bed, its always the first thing you look at when you wake up. Doing this and seeing that list of 100 emails from your boss with the subject line “GET THIS DONE” can contribute to developing a type of work PTSD.

I have even talked to a few developers who went through some intense stress from their jobs and had to literally leave their phones in the other rooms and would not really sleep and would be half awake for fear their bosses would email me in the middle of the night. Now even after they left these companies they would still be having these issues cause stress and some PTSD lead to many sleepless nights. It does take a while to get over this and I will definitely write about it in another blog.

Going Outside

Now this is one of those things that might sound crazy, but yes going outside and actually experiencing nature can help bring down the stress. I always find going on a walk through the park or even just going on a small little hike can help the stress melt off of you. Getting away from technology and going outside have helped me cut down on the stress many times over so invest in some running shoes and workout gear and go enjoy nature.

In Closing

The reason why I am writing about these small little life tips is so that other developers don’t fall into the typical developer lifestyle that we see stereotyped in movies and television. The chips, the look like they have never seen light, or don’t take care of themselves cause it does come back and bite you down the road. Its one of those things you kind of have to slowly move into, but as you get use to eating healthy and living healthy. It becomes second nature.

see you space cowboy…