I consider myself lucky every morning when I wake up and get out of bed. I remind myself that I am a web developer, and every day is another day to make the internet better. I hope you feel the same. If you are a developer/designer, lead, project manager, or executive, you play your part in making the internet better, too. With these parts we play, we spend a good amount of our day in front of computers. Our time tends to be pretty sedentary. Some will counteract that with standing desks, but that is still not a lot. We need to take special considerations to stay healthy so we can keep doing what we do!
Here are a few ways I’ve found help me make my health a priority, while still working all the while.
Please note: I am not a licensed professional or “expert” on the topics that follow. Take the presented information as general information and things to consider.
The small stuff
Throughout our days, we should be making sure to take small breaks to get up and move around. A little bit of stretching goes a long way. Even just a walk around the house for a little bit helps us get moving and alleviate stress on the body.
This keeps us active and provides a break for our brains.
It’s such phenomeNOM…join us for the nomathon!
Diet and nutrition have been topics of discussion for decades.
No matter how often the topic gets hammered into our minds, most of us are still not as on top of it as we should be.
You can still do your part to limit detrimental effects that your diet can have. Strive to eat healthy foods instead of junk food as much as possible. Limit or completely remove sugary drinks from your daily intake. The benefits are not fast-acting and immedaite, but give it enough time and they will present themselves. When in doubt, talk to a nutritionist or your doctor about what is best for you.
Do you even ___, yo?
Short breaks are necessary, and a good place to get started, but longer duration physical activity is important, too.
The type of activity is up to you, and there are many types available. A mixture of walking, jogging, and running is a popular activity that many use, but it is not the only option. Visiting a gym for other forms of cardio or weight training offer nice ways to take a break from your day.
When you do this is totally up to you! Some people prefer early morning and before work. I prefer right after work, even if it is during “rush hour.” Hiring a trainer or joining a fitness group can also help you reach your goals and keep you motivated.
If you have talked to me at all since September of last year, you know that I have taken a proactive approach to my physical health. Through both diet change and active gym attendance, I have slimmed down significantly, and the impact has definitely helped me throughout any given work day. I feel all in all better throughout my workday, which helps me get my job done. It also provides me a well earned mental break every afternoon.
It will be in your best interest to find activities that you enjoy, or at least tolerate. If you are doing something that you hate, you will have minimal motivation to continue or will stop completely. Doing physical activities that you enjoy–or at least do not hate–will help you return regularly.
It’s not all physical
It takes more than just brief breaks throughout the day to keep your mental health in check.
If you already have pursued mental health support (as needed!), then you are already a step ahead. Whether you have a general anxiety disorder, adult ADHD, or any of the other potential illnesses that impact your mental health, the effects impact your day to day, and those around you. By pursuing your own wellness and, if applicable, a diagnosis, your self-awareness will help you move forward into a better state of being.
If you’re struggling with stress, signs of depression or anxiety, or generally feeling as though your focus, mental clarity, or emotional well-being are at risk, consider seeking professional support.
There is nothing shameful or wrong in pursuing mental wellness. It does not make you less of a person. I would argue it makes you more of a person–one who is taking care of themselves proactively, which is what we all should be doing.
If you are suffering, I hope you have already sought help, but if not, check out a few of these resources:
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Health
- How to Choose a Psychologist
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are worried you may be a risk to yourself, please take a moment to breathe, and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.
Find out if your insurance can cover supporting you; if not, there are often low-cost options available in major metropolitan areas. If it’s impacting your work negatively, and you trust the people you work with, pull aside your supervisor and have a conversation about what is going on with you so you can get the support you need.
We need you around and well to keep creating amazing things.
I’m not able to cover every aspect or area for what goes into personal physical and mental health. I do hope you’re thinking about it though, and what you can do to take care of yourself a little better.
Here are some other resources that cover these topics in greater detail:
- How Technology Can Help Your Health – Allison covered some tech-based methods for health tracking back in December.
- Open Sourcing Mental Health – Changing how we talk about mental health in the tech community.
- MyFitnessPal – Nutrition and exercise tracking throughout the day.
- MyFitnessPal Blog – MyFitnessPal’s blog with regular posts about exercise and recipes.
What are some things you do to take care of yourself?