Overcoming Burnout In Programming Learning
"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 came out from your mouth?
Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. -- World Health Organization
Either 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, in this post, I want to share my own 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.
Just like anybody else who works full time, as a stay home mom, I only have 2 to 3 hours of learning at night a day, while often, I'm already exhausted.
Every time I start to learn, I always take a glimpse at how many chapters left that I have to go through. Slowly but sure, it started to stress me out when I see that there are 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 tutorials of different programming languages on YouTube. I bought at least one course whenever there's a sale on Udemy. In the end, I got overwhelmed. With so many tutorials that I followed along, 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 there are hundreds of people on the channel who come with questions and hoping to get answers. Many times as I asked questions, I got no answer at all 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 everybody is now already a couple of sections away while I'm still repeating this part for the 3rd time and still don't get it? Why my brain is not working? Why is it so difficult for me to grab the concept? Why people seem to have no problem at all in getting things to click but not me? Why everyone is 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.
Take a break and enjoy the break time
Take a break regularly. There's a weekend anyway in a week that letting 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 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 for you to use your fitness membership or try out Yoga at home? Don't forget to take enough rest too. Have 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 distraction. 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 decided 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 then you decided on which one you will go for. When you do, stick with your choice to avoid overwhelming that finally leads to burnout.
Find a community
Self-taught is 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 you dislike social media.
The tech communities there are very friendly and helpful!
If you are learning, try to take part in #100DaysofCode, and do every day learning for at least an hour for 100 days.
You will be surprised by how many people taking the journey and willing to help you whenever they can.
I've found so many great people who support me tremendously in my journey and also found my awesome community Virtual Coffee through Twitter.
Every person's journey, every person's 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 eager to do 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 motivation that brought you to this path 🙂
Feel free to add more ways to overcome burnout if you have one in the comment below!