Four ways to introduce self-care to software testers

Software testers, indeed, most workers in demanding roles around the field of technology. Can experience higher levels of stress, an inability to detach from office life and eventually, complete burnout.

With a never-ending list of tasks to complete. Stake-holders who want to know ‘is it done yet?’ And even the pressures that we put on ourselves to perform at our very best in difficult situations. All of this contributes to feelings of constantly being ‘switched on’ and a sense that it is impossible to disconnect from that part of our lives.

How many times have you read work email late at night because you couldn’t sleep for example? Or answered a Slack message about a work matter while on holiday?

Not that there is anything wrong with doing so. But having a system of healthy boundaries in place to prevent work matters bleeding into your time away from the office. Is an example of seeing something is potentially negative in your life. And then taking the steps to address it in a way that benefits you, and those around you.

Instead of seeing self-care as an afterthought, an inconvenience that is something we think only of when things go wrong for us. We should instead embrace the idea that we need to make it a priority in our daily lives.

Why do I need to take time to self reflect?

Many people in our culture don’t see ‘me time’ as important. Regarding it a lesser priority than their need to be switched on 24/7 and striving for success in their tasks.

And while that may seem perfectly fine for a while. It’ll eventually lead to burn-out, becoming stressed and feelings of low motivation and purpose in our lives. Not to mention the numerous negative health issues associated.

Taking a small amount of time daily to check in with our thoughts, notice how we are feeling or even be good to ourselves by reading a book or doing a bit of exercise. Can have dramatic effects that not only enable us to achieve a greater sense of self-awareness and a calmer mind. But also boost our levels of productivity, creativity and motivation.

Importantly, these times to yourself needn’t be relegated to only when things are difficult, or when you notice that you aren’t feeling 100%. They instead can be pillars of which you base your life around.

You can’t pour from an empty cup


To be the best tester, the best developer, or even just the best person you can be. Regardless of whether you get your gratification from serving others. Or simply the knowledge that you are being the best that you possibly can.

Taking time out to refill your cup, or notice its current status. Will enable you to take the correct actions to enable you to be the best version of yourself regardless of what life throws at you.

Below are a few tips for self-care that you can start to use today. Some will only take a few minutes of your time. A few minutes that I’m sure that we can all find and squeeze in somewhere. But just like interest in a bank account over time. The effects will be compounded. Leading to life-long changes and feelings of being calmer, more focused, and energised on a daily basis.

Take the time to check in with yourself

How are you feeling right at this moment?

It only takes a few seconds to pause and get in touch with our inner feelings. Are you feeling overwhelmed with the tasks you have, perhaps anxious about future events, or riddled with ‘brain fog’ that indicates that it might be time to take a long break.

Try to schedule a few of these moments for self-reflection throughout your day. Perhaps even write in a notepad how you are feeling at these times. Allowing you to keep a record and see if your daily activities are affecting the way you feel.

Be good to your body and mind

This tip can incarnate itself in many forms. From taking the time out to exercise, fuelling with healthy foods, reading a book to gain new insights, or just doing something that you enjoy doing for the sake of it.

These can be overlooked at times, and we can often be guilty of doing things that aren’t good for us. Hunched over our computers for long hours, or determined to solve that one problem that we’ve been stuck on for hours.

I know from my own experiences how easy this can be. And when I’m faced with a lingering problem with my work that I just can’t seem to solve. I can become stubborn. Determined to break through my mental challenge and overcome the problem.

But by taking a break from the problem for a while to go for a run allows me to focus on something else. And when I do come back to the problem. I have greater levels of creativity, focus, and am able to solve it much faster than if I didn’t do something for myself.

Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is described on Wikipedia as:

the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one develops through the practice of meditation and through other training.


Mindfulness comes in many forms and is something that can be practised while eating, walking, talking to someone, or even just sitting still and focusing on the here and now. However, I would recommend wholeheartedly in adopting a daily meditation practice and believe everyone will be able to see the positive effects in their daily lives.

Meditation has a long list of benefits rooted in science. From combatting various mental health problems to greater levels of tranquillity and creativity.

And with apps like Headspace & Calm. It’s easier than ever to start this rewarding habit.

Express yourself

Expressing yourself is all about being your authentic self.

Again, this can take form in many ways. However, if you find being creative is the best way to be you. Why not take up art, start a blog, create things just “because” and share those experiences with others to inspire them.

Self-care isn’t just about being kind to yourself. I like to think that it’s about letting go of the expectations that you perceive others might have of you. Doing something to be the best version of yourself. And gaining the ability to be in touch with your true, authentic self.

Posted by Kevin Tuck

Kevin Tuck is an ISTQB qualified software tester with nearly a decade of professional experience. Well versed in creating versatile and effective testing strategies. He offers a variety of collaborative software testing services. From managing your testing strategy, creating valuable automation assets, or serving as an additional resource.

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