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A collection of guides to help with developer burnout.

Developer burnout is an experience that's too prevalent in the tech industry. It often results from stress, a lack of psychological safety, negative experiences, or feedback in the workplace. The results include exhaustion, an inability to complete work tasks effectively, a lack of desire to work, ambivalence towards work or teammates, and more.

Removing yourself from the situation might be the best way to recover from burnout. However, that’s not always an option. You can find some tips to navigate burnout in this article.

We often find that shame influences our interactions and what we agree to. Identifying where you feel shame and how it impacts your burnout is a good first step. Let go of the guilt of needing a break, saying no, passing a project to another colleague, etc.

Sometimes you must step away from the things you can no longer sustain. You may have taken on too much, or you changed your priorities. That’s ok. Learning to pause and step away from things is important. Trying to do too much will accelerate burnout.

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Counteracting the negative influences in your life by investing in the people and things that bring you energy or happiness can help to navigate burnout. Find the activities that bring you joy and comfort, and incorporate those into your week. Put them on your schedule as you would work meetings or interviews to signify their importance and necessity. This might be playing games, watching movies, hanging out with friends and family, heading to the gym, or doing any activity that gives you energy. Along with that, it’s ok and good to rest. Finding space not to do things is equally essential in replenishing your energy.

Sometimes, physically staying in the same place increases feelings of burnout and being trapped. Try moving your workspace and incorporating regular body movement. It might help to set some achievable physical goals like walking X every week or starting a 100-day push-up challenge.

Create adequate time to wind down every day. This will also contribute to much better sleep, which is essential for burnout recovery.

Let yourself be bored! Daydream, dream about new projects, think abstractly about concepts you’ve learned, identify new connections between parts of yourself, reflect on what learning approaches worked well, and even pursue some opportunities you hadn’t considered.

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Boundaries help to keep us healthy, but often we find that we’ve let things cross our boundaries or the boundaries have blurred. You may have worked late one week to hit a big goal for your job. Suddenly, you find that you’re being asked to do that—or worse, you’re being expected to do it without your consent—for everyday tasks. It’s not in your contract, and you value work-life harmony.

Regularly assessing your upcoming week and retrospect to identify the biggest stressors can help prevent this from continuing. You may identify ways to improve your stressors by reducing hours, taking more breaks, setting a day without meetings, or finding space to work in an environment conducive to doing your best work. Consider doing a self-reflection as well.

To assess your week, set a stop time for every day. Although it may be necessary to push past that in some instances, it’s important to make that the exception and not the rule.

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Identify affirmations that feel authentic to you, such as:

  • I matter.
  • My worth isn't tied to my productivity, side projects, or job title.
  • I am more than my rejections.
  • I am important.

Then, make it a habit, like repeating these affirmations for 3-5 minutes once or twice a day. If affirmations feel inauthentic to you, try writing down one thing you're grateful for every day. These habits help you remember that you have something you cherish and your life is multi-dimensional.

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Thanks to all our members who contributed to this conversation, especially Julia Seidman and Kieran(they/them)!

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