Health issues Software Developers face and preventive measures
The impact that Software Developers have on our lives is immense. Be it sophisticated apps, or mind boggling websites all credit has to go to the field of Software Development. It is a field that is rewarding as well. The post-covid era has seen a raise in developers who work remotely. In a whole it has all the benefits a person can look for.
Software Development, however, involves sitting for long durations and constantly looking at the screen, both of which might cause a host of health related problems. These issues are mostly related to unhealthy habits and lack of attention to one's health.
Most developers don't pay attention to their health until it's way too late. The reason being these health related issues are not faced by beginners but by seasoned developers who not only have been neglecting their health for long, but also can't do much about it because of their age.
Here we bring you top 5 most common issues face by Software Developers along with ways to tackle it.
Back aches are a common reason for taking leaves from work. It can be highly discomforting. With age, the chances of developing lower back pain can increase drastically.
Sitting for too long and especially having a bad posture consistently, can cause problems with the back. Poor posture may also cause poor spine health such as compression in the discs in your spine, leading to premature degeneration, which can be very painful.
Maintaining a good posture while working, taking frequent brakes, and using ergonomically designed chairs are some of the ways the damage could be reduced.
Computer Vision Syndrome
A typical software developer works for 8-9 hours a day. And most of this time is spent looking at the screen. Many software developers complain about itchy eyes and discomfort. This is mainly due to Computer Vision Syndrome.
Computer Vision Syndrome is a group of related eye and vision problems caused by extended computer or digital device use. Symptoms include eye discomfort and fatigue, dry eye, blurry vision, and headaches.
The 20-20-20 rule is something thats very famous and generally mentioned by doctors to avoid Computer Vision Syndrome.
Software Developers live a very sedentary lifestyle. There's practically no reason a software developer would have to get up, other than excretion. I've seen people hoard up snacks besides their system so that they don't have to get up to fetch food.
It's not just a lazy attitude that causes developers to sit and work all day. Moving away from their desk causes a loss of concentration which in this particular profession is very important. Added to that are constant deadlines and high pressure situations that they are generally exposed to.
All of these factors contribute to obesity in one way or another. Obesity can in turn lead to a lot of other health issues which might even be fatal in the long run. Lifestyle changes are a must to prevent obesity in any form.
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
Developers are always in stress. Be it constant changes in the product, ever changing requirements, or meeting deadlines, all of these add to constant stress. Beginners enjoy this, but as time passes it take a mental toll on the health of most people.
Burnouts can be scary and extremely difficult to come out of. It's important to prevent them from the very beginning. Understanding the symptoms and taking immediate actions is another way to go about it.
Irregular sleeping patterns
Symptoms of sleep-wake syndrome include irregular periods of sleep and wakefulness which disrupt the normal daily sleep-wake cycle. It may be caused by brain dysfunction or not following a normal sleep schedule, ultimately leading to a pattern of insomnia and frequent daytime napping.
Having irregular sleeping patterns is very common in the Software Industry. There might be different factors contributing to it. Developers might have to collaborate with people working in a different time zone, or the product might demand extra work on certain days.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule
The 20-20-20 rule basically says that, every 20 minutes spent using a screen; you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds. The beauty of this rule is that it is extremely easy to remember and equally easy to follow.
Use ergonomically designed chairs
Ergonomically designed chairs help to maintain a good posture. They help with reducing back pain and neck pain. They are designed in such a way that they relieve the pressure on the hips. It is also said to improve the blood circulation in one's body.
Take frequent breaks, and don't sit for too long
This is something extremely difficult to adapt. Taking frequent brakes might not always be possible. This might be because of long meetings or procrastination. The only way that this could be achieved is by trying. To help you do this you could design your system in such a way that you automatically have to take breaks. This could include sitting away from the water dispenser so that as soon as you get thirsty you get up take a spree and come back.
You could also use reminders to do the same. Start with 45 mins, and try decreasing this by 5 mins every week until you hit a time that you find suitable. You could also try using standing desks. This way you could work by sitting for some time and then standing for some time.
Working out regularly can help one with keeping checks on their sedentary lifestyle. It helps one control weight and combat health conditions and diseases. It also helps in relaxing the brain and in improving mood.
Make your peers aware about these issues
Most software developers fail to pay heed to their health until it's too late. Work can always wait. Health should always be prioritised over work. Senior and seasoned developers who have faced such issues should come up and share their experiences with their juniors so that they could be more cautious.
Companies also need to understand that an employee might lose all of his productivity and shine if he is continually stressed. Companies should setup camps and workshops to make developers more aware about the issues.
All of this is only possible if this issue is talked about more and with seriousness. As more and more people become aware about these issues they would not only be able to take care of themselves but their peers as well.
Thanks for reading! If this blog gave you some values please do consider sharing it with other Software Developers who might benefit from it.
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