It’s easy being an unhealthy developer
NOTE: These are my views, based on my experience. Your experience will probably differ.
I just want to point out now that there is nothing inherently unhealthy about being a developer. No more than any other office-based profession. Office based professions encourage bad habits that may lead to becoming unhealthy.
Since I became a programmer 5 years ago my lifestyle has changed a lot. I used to run a nightclub (which comes with a completely different set of bad habits 😃) which consisted of long shifts, hours of standing and running around, lugging around crates of beer and generally being pretty active. Now I no longer work in that industry I have picked up a few bad habits that I am now looking to break.
#1. Too much caffeine ☕️
I drink too much coffee. Not obscene amounts but I am definitely at the higher end of what is deemed healthy to consume. Add the occasional monster into the mix and you have some serious caffeine consumption. I am still not exactly sure how to tackle this as I LOVE coffee but I am starting by trying not to have coffee after lunch. This hopefully limits the effect the excess caffeine has on my sleep. If I could get it down to 2 a day then I think I would be happy. Here’s to hoping.
#2. Sitting down
I don't have the pleasure of a standing desk and so spend considerable amounts of time sitting on my arse! This plays havoc with your body and health. I do have the benefit of an awesome Herman Miller Aeron chair that definitely helps keep me sitting straight but I definitely still slouch, particularly when I am deep into a problem or when I get tired.
The first step is realising that you sit badly. Then you just need to take check regularly. Get up and move about regularly and try and get out at lunch even if it is just to walk around the block.
#3. Only interacting with computers
This one might seem a bit silly but it is kind of true. It is very easy to go through a day only really only communicating through your computer. Without realising it you are asking colleges questions via slack but they are sitting right next to you.
Take your headphones off and have a face to face chat. You will probably have a more succinct and enjoyable experience.
This was a short post highlighting a few habits I have picked up since becoming a programmer.
You can let any career push you into an unhealthy lifestyle. Programming doesn't sentence you to an unhealthy, overweight, aching shorter life. It's all about taking care of yourself.
Most of the above can be counteracted by these simple steps mentioned below:
- Take regular breaks
- Practise good ergonomics — Sit correctly
- Exercise regularly. Try to do something every day. Walk, run or ride a bike
- Eat well
- Avoid stress
- Sleep well
- Make an effort to actually talk to people.