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 min read

What’s Emotional Burnout and How to Avoid it as a Programmer?

Silvana Paneva
December 10, 2019

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, often because of work. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Here are some of the most common work-related causes of burnout:


Burnout reduces productivity, drains your energy, leaving you feeling helpless and hopeless. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to colds and flu.


When feelings of burnout start to occur, many people focus on short-term solutions such as taking a vacation. While this can certainly help, the relief is only temporary.

Let's look at specific strategies that you can use to avoid burnout:

1. Be in good physical health

You probably work long hours, and you need extra energy for that, which usually comes from coffee, snacks, and sugar.

While this may be a short-term fix, it can cause new problems in the long run, such as obesity, cardiovascular issues, back problems from sitting all day, and fatigue because of not getting enough sleep.

To counter this get enough quality sleep, add veggies to your diet, make sure that your schedule is less hectic, and add physical activity in your daily routine even if it’s just walking to and from work.

2. Try new things

If you’re specialised in something which is widely used, like Java or Android, you can expect to have a lot of work, but if you are doing the same stuff over and over, it can get discouraging.

A great solution is to try new technologies and methods, experimenting with them or trying to figure out how a particular library works.

3. Buy yourself a good setup

Most probably your job is stressful enough and you don’t need a slow computer causing you, even more, stress and anger, especially if you’re trying to compile.

Since you’re spending a lot of time on your computer, it’s a good idea to invest in a comfortable office chair that will help your posture. If you work in a noisy environment, invest in high-quality noise-cancelling headphones, this can also improve your work.

4. Take а pause from coding

You should take short breaks to help you clear your head and recharge your batteries so you can deal with new problems.

You can work intensely for an hour and then take a 10-minute break or take a 15-minute break every 90 minutes is up to you. Just make sure to break up the long sessions because they are not doing you any good in terms of productivity.

Furthermore, you should always make time for your hobbies and things that make your life worth living outside of work. Things like watching movies, hiking, painting, taking photographs, travelling or reading. A lot of programmers might think these activities are a waste of time, but they can help you gain energy, feel refreshed

and can even be a source of new ideas.

5. Switch to a different project

If you've been working on the same task for weeks, or you don't have much to do at work - your job can get monotonous, which can make you feel less productive.

You may feel bored if you’ve been assigned to a project that is not aligned with your expectations and interests. If that is the case, you can switch to a different project.

If you’re completely disappointed when it comes to programming, you can explore other relevant fields such as quality assurance, technical writing, or system administration.

6. Establish your limits

Some of your colleagues might be able to work 18 hours a day, every day, that doesn’t mean you can or should even if you do. Programmers are different. Working overtime is something that is expected, but if it becomes a constant, you need to do something about it.

You need to set your limits. While most companies will allow you to limit the number of hours you work, you can expect to be passed over for a promotion or raise because of this

On the other hand, you will spend more time with your friends and family, and you’ll have the opportunity to do something else with your time outside of work.