We all know at least one computer programmer in our life. At times we might assume that all they do is play games or hack into other people’s computers or maybe spy on us through our webcams. We can all blame the movies for that because, in all honesty, a computer programmer’s life can be pretty dense. Most of the time, programmers spend their time writing code or thinking about solving problems such as testing for bugs or thinking of how to create a new feature.
This can be very draining and understandably stressful for a lot of people. At times, the bugs or the errors in the code are so small that it might take a long time for programmers to figure out what went wrong and where. Sometimes, even a little missing bracket can cause a lot of problems for them, and it can be a very stressful situation because it is so small and it is lost in a sea of code. You do your best to look for it and to figure out what is happening, but sometimes our best might not be what we need.
So, if programming is stressful, why are people still doing it? The simplest answer is also the oddest. People find coding very therapeutic. Click, tap, enter – it may seem like a drab. But for programmers, that clicking keyboard sound is so sweet. So, in a way, what is causing them stress is also the same thing that relieves them of their stress. This can be very unhealthy because it can trick our brain into thinking that an activity we once loved doing is not what we want anymore. We lose our passion for the things we love when we find it more stressful than helpful, which is why we should always find a way to cope with stress or other mental health issues in the healthiest way possible.
A few healthy coping mechanisms are exercise, expression through art, music, or dance, journaling, or just even letting it out by talking to people you love. When things get too rough, you have to make sure that you step back and breathe because when you choose to keep at it, you might fall victim to burnout or other mental illnesses.
Coders and programmers can work for hours upon hours on end on projects that their bosses or clients would have preferred to have received yesterday. Programming takes a lot of time and effort because you have to figure out many things and whether or not what you are doing is working and if it is close to what you are being asked to do. This often leads to serious burnout on the programmer’s end, and false expectations from the manager’s or client’s end create frustration, which adds a lot more pressure to the programmer.
Programmers are humans too so that they will experience anxiety or stress just like anyone of us, so it is also important that they can go out and have some time for themselves. This prevents them from burning out, and it helps their mental health a lot. Since the programmers work for such long periods, they often forget that they need human connection too, and that rest might be the one thing they need to figure out why the code is not working finally.
Fully immersing yourself in your work can lead to a lot of issues for your mental health. It can also lead to unhealthy attitudes towards work, family time, time away from work, and leisure. This is because some companies or bosses may start to value the output rather than the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of their coders. Sure, you can make friends at work but revolving your whole life around your job may cause you not to have an external life to your job.
Connecting with other people is important, especially if all you have been staring at is a screen for so long. This is what can bring you back to earth and life outside virtual reality. We must understand that if that one person who we know is a programmer is coming outside the house for the first time in a few days, we should be able to be there to help them get back into reality. We should not be a newfound source for their stress or anxiety. Remember, they are people too, and they need all the love and support they can get.
The most important thing to put into mind is that we all need to take time out of our busy schedules to relax and unwind. Our jobs should never be more important than our physical or mental health. So go on, get out, and enjoy your life.