How to Manage Stress as a Developer: Practical Tips

The Valuable Dev has some good tips for stress management. I will write an in-depth article about my own strategies at some point, but in brief:

  • Go home. My job moved me across the country. Going home a few times a year helps keep me grounded, and reminds me about what actually matters.
  • Make friends at work. Love ‘em or hate ’em, you will spend more time with your coworkers than almost anyone else. At least learn to like them.
  • Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Don’t worry about the things you can, either. You have limited mental bandwidth, so use it well: just act.
  • Have a routine. Especially if you have zero control over your schedule at work, have a routine for those other hours. Save your mental bandwidth for the important things.
  • Eat well. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • Exercise often. Find a way to clear your head: some people like to run or cycle or swim — I like to put a five hundred pound bar on my back.
  • Have a hobby. Find a way to engage your brain for things other than work. I sit at a computer all day, then go home, open my laptop, and write or code all evening. Even this gives me a break from the type of work I do at my job, though, which helps me unwind. For even more of a break, I do something with my hands, like Legos or woodworking.