The importance of mental health in Cybersecurity and Information Technology, especially as the industry becomes a more and more time-consuming and stressful environment.
Ever thought about the kind of effects that staying in your room all day can have on you? This can come naturally for many people in the industry, in this article we will be discussing 3 common results of the IT world and then the extreme effects it can have on you as well as three leading things that can prevent you from getting to this stage.
However, eventually, I ran into an issue with AppleTV which was now locked down and secured their endpoints. In today’s article, I will be talking about my research going deeper into the AirPlay protocol and what I was and was not able to abuse.
Introduction: Information Technology and Mental Health
Mental health is a very very important topic and most fields especially IT can cause tasking
effects that can cause a person to go a bit wack!
People who work in IT are looked at as either obese or unhealthy people that sit in a room all day doing nothing which really goes to show that IT people have a negative stereotype that may be causing more harm than good.
The goal of this article is to point that out and point out what other people within the IT realm are doing to
prevent things like this.
1: Technology Can Create Unhealthy Environments
One major true stereotype within the IT realm is that most people especially those starting out may not
have a clean workspace or environment, people such as myself included may start out in an
an environment that is not clean and is filled with just empty energy drink cans or ramen bowls or
really whatever you are eating or consuming.
This is because people such as the writer of this article spend so much time on projects that they love.
They may start to consume them and put them in a place where they feel like if they do not work hard enough or stay up late enough they may lose it and feel worthless.
A common thing that this causes may be something similar to imposter syndrome which is a mindset that tells people that their hard work may not be worth it because someone else is doing something better than what the given person is currently trying to do.
These methods are very easily preventable with changes within your current environment such as cleaning it up, organizing the environment, and preventing the constant laziness or drag or in other words addiction to the screen.
Sure IT people need to work on those projects after all it may be that one project that helps save the IT world or make a change to the IT world for the better but it is always very very important to ensure your mental health comes first and your physical health as well!
In order to do that you may need to clean your environment every now and then as mentioned above, maybe consider a more outgoing and diverse diet rather than clumping up all those energy drinks!
Note: Keep in mind this article is being written by people who know what it is like to be in a position where you are strapped to your chair and may never want to move until you fix that bug or fix that error in your code!
2: Diet and exercise
As developers, penetration testers, security researchers, bug hunters or whatever it may be it is our job to basically stay in our rooms and do nothing all day but rather sit behind a desk and work on code or work on finding a new vulnerability. It is only common for us to not sleep, eat or go outside until we find those bugs, get that work in or build a POC ( Proof Of Concept ) to exploit that vulnerability we found in that website.
As mentioned above it is important that you keep a healthy environment but in order to do that first you must ensure that you are staying active. Failure to do so may result in unhealthy habits such as substance abuse or even stimulant abuse which can include caffeine!
Such habits may cause massive mental downfalls and it is important for not only your physical health but your job to keep a healthy and safe mentality and workspace which includes being able to know when to just take a break and come back later. For example there are many game developers out there that will work their hands to the bone before they even come close to hydrating which will just cause you to get frustrated leaving no work to actually be done.
In the end, we think staying up and depriving ourselves of natural resources and required resources such as water will help us get more work done but that in most cases never works.
If you have a lot of work to do and you end up putting yourself in a negative environment such as depriving yourself you will only be hurting your and your development team or security team’s workload and lives even more.
Most programmers who have jobs that allow them to be flexible will start allowing their environment to not only be clean but also modern.
Due to the fact that our job requires us to sit behind a desk even if it is at an office or our house, it can get tiring sitting in a chair all day, so a recommendation to help alongside that is to eliminate sitting by getting a standing desk.
Another good thing to mention is that most of us may start becoming unhealthy because of being inside anymore so maybe start including a healthy diet in front of yourself and a healthy workout routine even if it is 30 minutes of running outside or an hour at the gym it is extremely important that you do so to keep your mental health in shape!
Not to mention it has been heavily studied that in order to keep your mental health in shape you must keep your physical health in shape as well!
3: Understanding your limits
As members or workers within the IT community, we all are held to impossible standards by outside resources such as companies that may not understand tech so well or even people that may think just because we can program that we can hack credit cards or something weird like that.
These standards will start to affect your outside life as well as the way people interact with you and co-workers within the same company! We are all human in the end, some can study for 10 hours straight while others can only do so for roughly an hour. Because we are all human and we all make mistakes a good mental health practice would be to understand that you are going to make mistakes and you are not perfect even the most recent machine learning models are not perfect. Standards like these can lead us directly back to what was mentioned in topic 1 which was imposter syndrome.
This type of mental effect can kill your work motive and kill your ethic and passion within the field. Sure some people do not always have a passion and are here to make money but if you ever find yourself in a position where you may feel like you are not good enough because you made one mistake or you are not good enough because you are behind in skill, maybe it might be for the best to change. No, I do not mean to change your career but rather the way you work yourself and the way you study. Some people will feel behind but that is only natural, so something to prevent that mindset from stopping you from well-being you is to take a video/writing/log/blog/post, etc of your current skill and compare it to your current knowledge and understanding.
The reason this may help is that it will show you how far you have progressed in the so and so amount of days, weeks, months or years within that current field. For example, a very nice member of the community told me that they felt like they were behind in programming and learning development because everyone he knew was advancing so much faster than him. I simply replied with a message saying that he should take a photo of what he has done now or his current coding or programming skill and compare it to what he was doing before which will make him feel a lot better if he sees progression. On that same topic, I also mentioned that it is important to ensure that you do not compare yourself to others on social media as that is another common breeder for imposter syndrome and other forms of anxiety or self-doubt that can come with it.
Ensuring yourself that you are only human and are bound to make mistakes is the first step in the process of making yourself feel good! Conclusion The IT world and community are rough, especially for beginners, the most common issue that is ignored in the IT world is mental health. This is because everyone who has ever actually picked up IT is always going to be in their room working constantly to produce the next holy grail and we put ourselves to such hard and extremely out-of-reach standards that we end up digging ourselves into the dirt. It is extremely important that as members of the IT world, we continue to keep our mental health and physical health in shape by doing the following.
- Keeping a healthy, clean, and welcoming/peaceful environment
- Looking back on our accomplishments to show ourselves how much we may have progressed
- Stop comparing ourselves to people who have been doing this for 20 years and who seem un-beatable online
- Keep and stay active with a clean diet to help our mindset rest and be able to problem solve much quicker
- Prevent the use of mental health issues by ensuring that we are not always perfect and by realizing we are only human and humans make mistakes!
- Understanding that not everything you do will get you up there and that only you can stop yourself from doing great things.
- Understanding that people who hate or throw unnecessary negativity on your end are just people who are not worth your energy.
- Being able to be you!
This includes allowing you to be who you were meant to be which means disallowing yourself from becoming someone else’s identity or really trying to be a copy of a certain person.
While we can take these measures to ensure that our mental health stays intact it is also important that if you hit a point in your life where you are at a new down low that you never hesitate to raise your voice for help.
You are the one person that will end up fighting yourself and when that day comes it is important to realize that just like with the workload we all have our limits and it might be time to make a change such as seeing a professional who can help you out, speaking to peers, joining social groups to help stabilize social interaction, working with other organizations to boost your skill and knowledge!
Do not forget to check on people around you as well, sure your mental health matters as well and you should always put yourself first, however, it is also important to ensure your buddies, coworkers or teammates are doing okay as well!
Sometimes it takes a voice to make a voice! I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope it shed some decent light on how tasking the IT industry can be! It is rough out there but it is always worth it and eventually, you will see all of your hard work pay off!