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Ayu Adiati
Ayu Adiati

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Building Habits To Be Healthier Developers

Hello Fellow Developers & Codenewbies πŸ‘‹,

It has been a while since the last time I wrote, so it's good to be back!

Where have I been?
6 weeks of school's summer holiday means all plans to go west πŸ˜….

My learning time was all over the place. My daughter had playdates. And I had to entertain my daughter on top of house chores, which I had to abandon many times. In the time that I blocked for learning, I was already exhausted.
I felt guilty for not having more energy to learn or write. But there was not much that I could do except keep telling myself, "It's only for 6 weeks." πŸ˜‚

And to be honest, getting back to the routine after having some time off is so hard! πŸ˜“


The community I'm in, Virtual Coffee, holds monthly challenges.
And the monthly theme for August's challenge was Healthy Habits for Healthy Devs. We take baby steps to build new habits to be healthier developers.

It was a perfect time to do some self-care and build small healthy habits for myself during the summer break. Not only as a developer but also as a mom, as a person! πŸ˜„

Start Building Healthy Habits

Pomodoro Time

Image: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

I started to take Pomodoro time more seriously.
The 25 minutes coding with 5 minutes break doesn't work for me. I tend to do more than that and even forget to take a break.

What works for me is to do 1-hour coding with 10 minutes break to walk away from my computer and do some stretching.
This helps me move my body and rest my eyes and brain.

Weekend Time Off

Image: Sincerely Media/Unsplash

I used to learn every day, including weekends, ranging from 1 until 3 hours in a day.
I would feel very guilty if I missed it even for one day and beat myself up.

Now I started to loosen up.
People have weekends to take a break from work. Why can't I also have that for myself?

Since I started to take weekends off from learning, my stress level decreased. I'm more present and enjoy my weekends more with my family.

Bullet Journaling/Scrapbooking

Image: Ayu Adiati/personal doc.

I love writing with pen and paper. It's one of the things that makes me happy!
I write down what I learned in notebooks.
And though I put my schedules on my phone, I still write them down in a physical plan.

Not long ago, I bumped into some videos on YouTube about bullet journaling and scrapbooking. They seemed relaxing and mind-calming.
So I decided to combine them, dumping my brain on there and letting my creativity wander.
To my surprise, it helps me organize my tasks and lighten myself up.

Since then, I block 20 - 30 minutes a day for bullet journaling and scrapbooking.


Image: Ethan Robertson/Unsplash

My family and I were fortunate to take 2 weeks' vacation during the school's summer holiday.
Having a vacation without feeling guilty about taking it is the key. It helped me a lot in reminding myself that we need to disconnect ourselves from our routine once in a while. Take a break, live in the moment with our loved ones, and have fun!

Sleep Earlier

Image: Lux Graves/Unsplash

Since I learn to code, I have become a night owl. The best time for me to learn is at night after my family sleeps, around 11 PM until 1 or 2 AM, sometimes even later.

Since my daughter started school, I have tried to use her school time to do both house chores and learning. My goal is to don't have to sleep too late at night.
But I failed! I still can't let go of the habit of going to bed super late πŸ˜†

I brought my laptop on a vacation to squeeze in some time to learn.
The bungalow where we stayed during vacation was lovely. Only at night, it somehow gave me some creepy feelings. And that helped me! I didn't want to stay awake alone in the living room, so I went to bed before midnight for 2 weeks! 😁

Sleep earlier and wake up after my body takes enough rest do make a difference! My body feels much fresher, and my mind gets clearer. And because I have a clearer sense, I gain more confidence and get stronger motivation in what I'm doing.
This is one habit that I should do my best to keep up.

Take Power Nap

Image: Hernan Sanchez/Unsplash

It's most likely not a habit that I would keep in the future. But it's something I would do if I have the chance and time. Or, I would try meditation to relax my body and mind.

My daughter is transitioning to not taking a nap since she goes to school. When she's exhausted, I will take her for a half to one hour nap and nap with her. We cuddle until we both fall asleep.

Having the chance to relax my body and mind through naps gives me more energy to do things for the rest of the day.
One other benefit for me, I build a stronger bond with my daughter.

Hobbies Matter!

Image: Ayu Adiati/personal doc.

I like photography a lot!
But since COVID hit with the lockdowns and we have to stay at home as much as possible, I don't have the chance to touch my camera. The vacation gave me back that chance. I took so many pictures and felt so happy! Adding to my happiness, my daughter shows that she also has an interest in photography!

Busy growing up, we sometimes forget that we all have an inner child that we need to feed once in a while to keep us sane. And that's what hobbies are for.
We should give ourselves a little time to do our hobbies for our mental health.


Image: JESHOOTS.COM/Unsplash

I started to give myself a regular me-time at least 3 times a week.
My me-time happens after I finish all tasks at night before going to bed.
I would watch some videos on YouTube, watch an episode of a series, or listen to a podcast.

Doing something for myself reminds me that I and my time are as important as others. And that I'm acknowledging and appreciating myself after the hard work I've done.

Benefits of Building Healthy Habits

We heard a lot about developers who get burnout.
One of the big reasons that I experienced myself is not taking a proper break to nurture ourselves.

We need to be able to concentrate and focus when we do coding.
But how can we reach these when we're too exhausted or not happy?

I have started to see the benefits of building my healthy habits:

  • Decrease stress level.
  • Have a clearer mind.
  • Stronger motivation.
  • Gain more confidence.
  • Bigger energy to code and learn.
  • Feel healthier and happier.
  • Build better and stronger relationships with loved ones.

I do my best to keep the habits that help me be a healthier developer while trying to discover other things.

And how about you? Have you built healthy habits for yourself? What are you doing, or what will you do to be a healthier developer?
Do share in the comment below and give us some inspiration! πŸ˜„

Thank you for reading!
Last but not least, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊

Top comments (2)

dianale profile image
Diana Le

I agree, it's good to take breaks and do other things you enjoy. Two years ago when I started focusing on learning web development in my spare time, I wanted to learn as much as possible as fast as I could. So I devoted all my free time to learning. I stopped doing a lot of hobbies because I felt those weren't productive to my career, which was a high priority. This made me feel burnt out eventually, and then I felt tired of learning and was unable to focus for weeks.

Within the past year I've learned to keep doing other hobbies and make sure I schedule a day in the week where I don't code at all and just take a break. This has helped me stay focused long-term. Within the past month I've joined and started doing weekly Codepen challenges because I feel much more energized. Taking these breaks and enjoying other activities has made me enjoy web development a lot more and improved my mental health.

adiatiayu profile image
Ayu Adiati

That's exactly what happened to me as well, Diana!

I got burnout from not taking proper break and wanting to accelerate my learning.
But learning is different as working. Learning is where we need to understand new concepts and information. So our brain works harder to retain as many new information than its capacity. And when we don't take proper breaks, it would just shut down.

Good to know that you manage to keep your hobby, have a day off break in a week and improved your mental health! πŸ˜„