"I don't want to do this right now. I feel burnout!"
Hello Fellow Codenewbies 👋
Have that word -- burnout -- ever passed your mind or even come out of your mouth?
Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. -- World Health Organization
Whether you are working or in a learning phase, you probably have experienced burnout. I, myself, have experienced this multiple times. Based on what I've been going through, I want to share my experience combating burnout as a self-taught learner in web development.
So Little Time So Much To Learn
I began my learning journey with a Web Development Bootcamp course on Udemy. This course is all about learning full-stack.
Like anybody else who works full time, as a stay-at-home mom, I only have 2 to 3 hours of learning at night a day, while I'm often already exhausted.
Every time I start to learn, I always glimpse at how many chapters I have to go through. Slowly but surely, it started stressing me out when I saw that there were still so many chapters to go after a while. Sometimes I wish I could have more than 24 hours in a day.
The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side
As a newbie, I'm fascinated with so many choices of programming languages out there.
"Try Python. It's very beginner-friendly."
"Deno would take over NodeJS!"
"Swift is awesome, but Flutter is also great!"
"React, Vue, or Angular?"
And guess what? I found myself watching and coding along with many YouTube tutorials on different programming languages. I buy at least one course whenever there's a sale on Udemy. In the end, I got overwhelmed. With so many tutorials I followed, I still feel like I know nothing and stressing out about it.
I didn't have anybody to ask coded-related questions and share my learning journey with.
The course that I took has a discord channel for the students. But hundreds of people on the channel come with questions and hope to get answers. Many times as I asked questions, I got no answer because my question was buried under hundreds of other questions.
Google and YouTube are my best friends on this journey.
I joined a study group on a course that I took. Some quit in the middle of the road, and a few go further, including me.
Why is everybody already a couple of sections away while I'm still repeating this part for the 3rd time and still don't get it? Why is my brain not working? Why is it so difficult for me to grab the concept? Why do people seem to have no problem getting things to click but not me? Why is everyone running while I'm crawling? Help!!!
Besides affecting your health physically and/or mentally, burnout also kills motivation. Without motivation, we could lose our way and have no energy to push through. Without motivation, procrastination or even quitting seems to be the easiest path to follow.
The only way to get out of it is to overcome it.
Take a break and enjoy the break time
Take a break regularly. There's a weekend in a week that lets people take a break between workdays. Go away from your learning routine for a day or two. Or take a vacation if it's possible when you have massive burnout. While you do that, try not to think about anything related to your learning and just enjoy your trip or anything you do for your break time. You will get back to it with a fresher body and mind.
Exercise and have enough rest
Doing exercise has been proven to help in overcoming stress. Maybe it's time to use your fitness membership or try yoga at home. Don't forget to take enough rest too. Having a minimum of 7 hours of sleep in a day is essential for your health.
Do the "Pomodoro Technique"
Set your timer to 25 minutes. Focus on what you need to do in that interval without any distractions. And when the time is up, get up and stay away from your working/study space for 5 minutes. Grab a drink or do some stretching. After 4 sets of Pomodoro, take a 30 minutes break before resetting the Pomodoro. In learning, it is better to learn in small chunks rather than cramming the whole lesson. So this technique is good to be applied.
Hold yourself from lurking around other languages after you decide your path
The programming world is very dynamic and changing fast. There are plenty of programming languages, frameworks, and libraries out there. Maybe you have gotten your hands wet on some languages and decided which one you will go for. When you do, stick with your choice to avoid overwhelming, which can lead to burnout.
Find a community
Self-taught are prone to burnout because we feel alone -- and we are alone -- in our journey. I can't recommend more than try to engage with the tech community on Twitter, even though you're an introvert or dislike social media.
The tech communities there are very friendly and helpful!
If you are learning, try to take part in #100DaysofCode, and learn for at least an hour for 100 days every day.
You will be surprised by how many people are taking the journey and willing to help you whenever possible.
I've found many great people who support me tremendously in my journey. I also found my awesome community Virtual Coffee through Twitter.
Every person's journey and circumstances are different and unique. So stop comparing yourself with others. Comparing steals joy. The more you compare, the more you doubt your ability or are eager to make sprints. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. So enjoy the ride!
Many people have experienced burnout. Acknowledge yours, and don't take it lightly because it can lead to mental health problems. There are ways to overcome burnout. You just need to find some that are effective for you so that you can find your motivation back, the reason that brought you to this path 🙂
Feel free to add more ways to overcome burnout if you have one in the comment below!
Thank you for reading!
Last but not least, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊