Today, I sat at my desk working diligently on my portfolio when about a few hours in I began to feel listlessness wash over me. I squirmed around in my seat a bit, cracked my neck side to side, and continued to hack furiously away at my keyboard. Unfortunately, I found that the creative juices had already dissipated and all that was left was a lethargic person staring blankly at the screen. It was already over. For the rest if the night I knew I would only be doing more harm than good by forcing myself to code. It then occurred to me to do some research on methods to get back into my groove, and I wanted to share my newfound wealth of knowledge with all my coder friends.
The 7 Healthy Habits I discovered were: Decompress, Diet, Coffee, Ergonomics, Exercise, Balance, and Sleep.
- Decompress. I love programming, I really do. But to do something you love is to know you’ll develop a love/hate relationship with it, which is why I recommend standing up and walking away from the monitor in hourly intervals. Work steadfastly for an hour and then take a 15 minute break to stretch and walk around. You need time to rest your eyes, and even just a few minutes away will make a world of difference.
- Diet. Developers have a reputation for eating pizza and beer, and while that suffices as sustenance, ultimately it does a disservice to you. Switch up your meals with lighter, healthier alternatives and you’ll find you have a lot more energy to spend thinking about those pesky algorithms!
- Coffee. Or tea if you aren’t a coffee fanatic. Coffee has numerous beneficial qualities if you lay off the sugar. It can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Liver Cancer, Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. It can also boost productivity and set the mood for the entire work day. Trust me, it works.
- Ergonomics. Sitting in the same position and repeating the same motions can put a physical toll on your health. To combat this you should consider an ergonomic arrangement for your desk (check out the infographic above!). If that doesn’t work, try an ergonomic keyboard or mouse. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, consider a standing desk! It’s all the rage in the tech industry!
- Exercise. Pretty self explanatory, but getting the proper amount of daily exercise is important to live a well-rounded life. Studies show that 150 minutes of exercise per week can extend longevity and reduces the chances of: colon cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and numerous other forms of cancer. Plus you’ll look good. And when you look good, you’ll feel good.
- Balance. Finding a perfect work and social life balance can be difficult, but it is an absolute necessity. Divvying time for friends and family will make them and yourself happier, and you’ll come to realize that there is more to life than just developing. Besides, you’re in tech right? Break out the chance purse and use some of that tech money on some fun.
- Sleep. Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. Studies recommend 7–9 hours a day, but quality trumps quantity. Rest assured(get it?), as long as you hit the REM cycle and deep sleep, you’ll function better cognitively. With better motor abilities throughout the day, you’ll find that you can tackle problems and find solutions that much easier.
There is more to life than just programming, especially if you intend on living for a while to complete and future goals. It takes about 66 days to build a habit, so try to work these 7 steps into a daily routine and you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier life!