Fortunately the stereotypical image of web developers in popular culture as nerds that do nothing but spend hours in front of the computer coding, is gradually dying away.
However, don’t get it wrong, coders still often work extreme long hours to meet deadlines, this often leads to a poor diet, limited exercise, a lack of time spent outdoors and broken sleep. The result of all of this can of course result in poor health.
What can be done? Well, read on below and I’ll dish out some very common and sensible advice to you. Some of the tips below may seem obvious, but then again the things that are best for us are usually the most simple.
Don’t go to bed with your laptop
We’ve always known sleep is good for us. Yet we are only just beginning to understand exactly how good for us it actually is. The irony is just as our awareness of the power of sleep increases, as a society we’ve never slept worse. A full one third of all Americans don’t get the doctor-recommended eight hours a night.
The reasons for this epidemic of sleeplessness has a lot to do with the all pervasiveness of technology and our addiction to screens. This is obviously bad news for web developers as screens play a fairly central role in their life.
The solution is to work harder at scheduling wind-down time into an evening routine. Going straight from looking at screens to flicking the lights off and trying to sleep is a fool’s errand. The brain needs time to wind-down and get into the mood for sleep.
Try and keep the bedroom a screen free zone. If you have to work, watch films, scroll through your social media or respond to emails, do so in another room. Leave your phone and laptop at the bedroom door, this way your brain we begin to re-associate your bed with sleep again, and sleep alone.
For more tips on how to get the most out of your sleep give these handy tips a quick read.
Ah, where would most web developers be without takeaway food, starved half to death probably. Working long hours on projects often means that the concept of healthy eating becomes a very foreign one. When we are stressed and are tired, we crave things that will give us a boost both in terms of mood and energy, unfortunately that often means we reach for food that is high in calories and low in nutrition. Pizza anyone?
What’s the solution then, if you no time to cook for yourself? Well the answer is obviously to order more smartly. The trick to doing this is to make your food choices at a time in the day when you are not yet feeling overtired and overworked, that way you are likely to make far more sensible decisions.
Why not make ordering your lunch one of the first things you do when you sit at your desk in the morning.
Get enough sunshine
When in the midst of a project it is not unusual for many web developers to pull 12-14 hour days or longer. The result of this is that they rarely see the sun.
Try to get out and about into the wider world at least once a day. Even if this is just choosing to walk to the office instead of taking the bus. If you have a park nearby, take a detour through it. Not only will seeing daylight once a day do great things for regulating the circadian rhythms that dictate how well you sleep, being in nature has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
If you work from home, put down the laptop for an hour and go sit on the grass and listen to the birds, it sounds ridiculous but it will actually do your health a lot of good.
Along with quality unbroken sleep and a proper diet, getting sufficient exercise in a day is essential to maintaining a healthy life.
It doesn’t really matter what the exercise is; cycle, swim, run, jump, dunk, climb a big tree, chase squirrels in the park, dance the salsa, or even just run up and down the stairs. Whatever you do just make sure you do enough of it to get out of breath.
That said, some forms or exercise are better than others for desk-based professions such as web developers. Yoga in particular ticks two very important boxes. It will help stretch out your body, combating the negative effects of a day spent hunched over a keyboard. And the deep breathing and relaxation involved will do wonders for a mind overstimulated by the bluelight and interactive nature of too many screens.
Well, there you go – four very simple tips on how to become a healthy web developer. As I said at the start all are quite obvious but considering how few people follow them they clearly bear repeating over and over again. The best web developers are the ones that spend at least a portion of their day developing themselves. Now go get sweaty, code fans!