Improving Mental Well-being As A Software Developer

Tips form a Pharmacist


5/14/20242 min read

People who believe that doing physical work in a job counts as exercise live longer lives, independent of how much exercise they actually get. Likewise, telling people a milkshake they drank was 'indulgent' made them feel more full. The mind is a powerful thing - that's why taking care of it is so important.🧘🏾‍♀️

Whilst software engineering can be a highly rewarding, creative, mentally stimulating and fulfilling career, there are aspects of the role which can compromise one's mental well-being. So what are some well-being practices you should be adopting as a developer?

  1. 🏃🏾‍♀️Embracing Movement: Developers are often sat at a desk for 8 hours a day. A lack of physical activity is linked to poor mental health. When we exercise, ‘feel good’ endorphins are released that can improve our mood as well as our physical capacity.

    Include physical activity into your daily routine. This could mean leaving your house earlier and getting off the tube one stop earlier so you have a longer distance to walk.

    I have personally incorporated ‘lunch walks’ into my day and have recently taken up Muay Thai. By doing this, I am able to gain a new skill and do physical activity (both of which have been shown to improve mental health).

  2. 👯Fostering Connections: Being a software engineer can be highly isolating. Transitioning from a Pharmacist (where I was often talking to multiple people per day including patients, staff, doctors, nurses, carers etc) to the role of a Software Engineer, really highlighted this truth.

    Now don't get me wrong, sometimes the introverted side of the ambivert in me can't think of anything better than to be in deep focus and not having to talk to many people during the day. However, contact is so important for mental well-being and our humanness.

    Schedule regular coffee chats with the people in your company. Not to debug or get something from them, but just to catch up and see how they're doing. Have an intentional lunch. I know it can be tempting to have lunch at your desk - especially when you have a deadline coming up, but that deadline isn't worth more than your mental well-being. Go to lunch with a colleague, call someone, text someone.

    Sometimes we get the urge to scroll on social media and that gives us a false sense of socialising (in fact, I am convinced that many of the social media platforms aren't social at all). So message or call someone directly.

  3. ☀️Sunshine Vitamin: Computers are rarely situated outside. So there is very little incentive to go outside and get vitamin D as a dev. Studies have shown that low levels of this essential nutrient are associated with increased rates of depression and anxiety. So, make it a priority to step outside and soak up some sunshine whenever possible.

I want to leave you with the 5 steps to mental wellbeing:

🤲🏾 Give to others

🏃🏾‍♀️ Keep active

👯Connect with people

🎨Learn a new skill

🧘🏾‍♀️Be in the present moment

Try to incorporate these into your daily practice.

And as a healthcare professional, I want to acknowledge that sometimes, a little extra help is needed to promote wellbeing such as therapy, resources and medication. Don't be afraid to seek these - I encourage you to contact your personal doctor if you need additional help.

Until next time,

take care of yourself,