In particular, anyone who makes a living on their own and is responsible for creating every single one of their own paychecks. I don’t want to start down the road that there is less security in self-employment. I don’t believe that. It does feel less secure at times because you’re the responsible party. This creates a different kind of stress than what we see caused by a demanding or unreasonable boss or negative work environment.
For some, the stress is better, for others this type of stress is unbearable. Nonetheless, they can both lead to similar types of stress related bodily symptoms that include headaches, stomach problems and back pain.
This doesn’t even take into account the posture you use when you’re writing at your desk, researching for long hours at a stretch or proofreading your work for the hundredth time.
Ergonomics in the work environment are taken very seriously by major employers such as Microsoft. You should take them just as seriously working from home. If you have pain in your wrist from typing, you may want to adjust your chair or your desk height.
If you hunch over when you’re learning and researching, you could end up with neck or shoulder pain. These small nuisances can lead to ongoing problems that don’t want to heal easily on their own. Take it from one who knows.
What happens though when the publishing bubble has burst and we must seek out learning and personal growth elsewhere? What happens when the back pain catches up with us and we must begin to find healing and authenticity in a new place?
I for one, am scared to death of what this means. I make a living self publishing. I suffer from what some people describe as “Dr Sarno back pain“. Dr. Sarno, a physician from NYU Medical, has labeled this pain TMS (tension myositis syndrome). Will I finally have a clinic I can go to? Or will it be an online source where I can vent my frustrations and repressed anger to virtual strangers online?
So far the only option is MindBodySchool and a few others.
In a book Sarno recently published called “MindBody Prescription” you can read about how emotions fuel not only emotional pain but physical pain—primarily in the back and neck.
Perhaps freedom from publishing will mean freedom from repressed emotions. It’s doubtful that could be the case. On the other hand, maybe all the writing and editing we do is more for our own good than anyone else’s. Do we care if anyone reads or buys the book? Of course we do.
The bigger question is, how much our readership is tied to our own self-worth. If readers can bring worthiness, they can take it away. As we learn to be more authentic, which we often claim to do through our blogs and books, we must also learn to put ourselves out there without expecting or demanding perfectionism. Dr. Sarno believes perfectionism is the root cause of TMS pain and Dr. Brene Brown describes perfectionism as a “twenty-ton shield”.
Who are we really trying to please here? Ourselves or others? Are we willing to do what it takes to get rid of pain, food allergies and all of the other trendy ailments of the day if it means being vulnerable. Because according to the experts, the research insists that we must.
What do you think?
Going to back to the insistence that people always rebel against what becomes the status quo, I’d like to mention some recent rebellion.
The past several decades and generations of women have included a committed path to achieve equal rights in the workforce. Working as a woman was a point of pride and doing it all is representation of succeeding in society as a woman. What has come with it has been both fulfilling and exhausting. Women have come away with back pain, stress and a loss of meaning—or so some would say.
As a result, we see books like “Lean Out”, which describes a movement of middle-class women, who instead of working, paying for daycare and having little time or energy left for their families, have chosen a simpler life. Instead of joining the force, they are daring greatly enough to say no. They know how hard the women have come before them have worked, and despite the pressure to live up to a societal expectation, they are making a different, and bold choice. The choice to stay home, have less material goods and more time connected to their children and families.
This generation feels they have nothing to prove with a career. If they want one great, if not, that’s okay too. These choices have allowed them to avoid the huge percentage of women who experience back pain, neck pain, and other ailments that we know are caused by stress and repressed emotions, required for many careers. Can stress cause back pain? Yes it can indeed!
Dr. John Sarno has treated these types of ailments in both men and women for decades. It’s a very real condition that even stay-at home moms can experience if they resent the work they do. To learn more about treating it, go to www.mindbodyschool.com
Many of these women have turned to publishing. Mommy blogs. Books. Self-publishing options. They can make a scant income (sometimes) and do something that feels “outside the home” to create a well rounded life.
Many say the previous decade was the decade of self-publishing. Anyone (even your grandma) can publish a blog, write a book or sell an article for Kindle. Educators have begun to publish courses online that can be studied by students all over the globe.
Where then, will the future of writing, learning and personal growth take us? If the last ten years were the decade of publishing, does that mean our future self-help and self-diagnosing will NOT happen online? Or does it simply mean that solving problems, be they medical or personal become so second nature and easy to access that we will move to the next level?
My real concern is that so many people seem to be thriving on the web. You can cure your chronic pain and you can self-actualize, apparently without ever leaving your desk. What happens when we’ve finally tapped it out? I feel we’re on the brink of bursting another bubble. This time it’s the publishing bubble, made possible by the information age.
Where will we all go? What will we all do when no one wants to read our writing, when no one wants to take an online course, when people rebel (as they always do) and demand face time instead of screen time.
Will we back to community college courses for fun and personal expansion? Will healthcare demands mean more time with our doctors?
I doubt it. I expect “face time” will happen through a screen and not through personal touch. What do you think? Share your comments.
My Upcoming Travel Schedule
As many of you know, I've been booked to speak at a series of events this year. Very exciting! This box is the section where I'll be including locations, dates and times. Austin TX: July 17 venue TBA NYC: May 14 venue TBA