People think the life of a freelancer or someone who works remotely to be full of glamour and free time – lingering lunches, mid-day pedicures, relaxing naps. Such is not the case. If a freelancer wants to stay competitive, they need to be working 24/7, and probably have a lot less free time than their friends who work in offices.
However, they do find some ways to save time – such as forgetting to eat. Or shower. Or get dressed. It's not pretty out there. Some of our self-employed friends share their honest truths about working from home…
Bryce Gruber-Hermon, freelance writer
Even if you write about makeup, it's pretty standard to go days without wearing any.
Dara Avenius, publicist
Oh god...all the delivery guys know my froggy robe.
Wendy Rose Gould, freelance writer
My cats always think phone interviews are an invitation to have a full-fledged conversation with me and will sit outside my closed door meowing profusely as if the world is about to end. Also, my boyfriend (who I live with) also works from home and I love having him as a "co-worker." We get to hang out during the day (hello 3pm hugs and shared lunches) and keep each other motivated!
Megan Zander, freelance writer
Lunch is never the same meal or at the same time. Some days I'm so busy I forget to eat, other days I make a super healthy salad and declare myself a real adult, sometimes I'm stress eating frosting with a spoon as I try to make deadline.
Kate Winick, writer
My biggest occupational hazard is sitting cross-legged on my couch so long that my foot falls asleep without me realizing, and then when I stand up I nearly fall over my coffee table. It's happened...more than once.
Sue Campbell, freelance travel writer
I've been working from home for 30 years. I forget what it's like to dress up to go to an office or commute. I'm happy that the only time I dress well is when I have to go on a press trip.
I've biked to the corner store and realized I was still wearing my slippers when I got there!
Also, looking up at the clock at 5 pm and not remembering whether I had a shower or not, that happens a lot.
Gloria Yang, publicist
I don't always work from home, but when I do, I follow the same schedule. I sit my butt down in front of the computer at 9. If I feel unmotivated, I put makeup on—red lipstick to be exact.
Michele Herrmann, freelance writer
Sometimes my lunch break involves taking a 30-minute nap at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It's been a big help.
Patricia Dixon, journalist
My sins cannot be revealed here- alas, there are many. I'm still gainfully and sinfully self-employed.
Rachelle Pachtman, publicist
Your dog barks while you are on important conference call because FedEx is at door. Used to be more of an issue. Not quite as much any more.
Julia Dellitt, marketing expert
I have to really watch the urge to do things around the house instead of work. I'm not a clean freak, but when I work from home, all of sudden it feels like I have *so much free time* to do the dishes, throw in some laundry, organize a drawer.. all those "little" chores end up stealing work time slowly but surely and I always regret it later.
Joanna Fantozzi, food writer
You have no one to blame on getting distracted but yourself, sadly (if you live alone).
Jane Daly, beauty writer
Defiantly 2-3 pm in my robe. I feel a sense of shame every time. Also, my UPS guy added me on FB and I've run into other couriers out and about who usually yell “sorry don't have anything for you today!"
Emily Farris, writer
On the days I don't go out for coffee and make it at home, sometimes I forget to brush my teeth until 4 pm. Because it's so much a part of my getting-ready routine. And yes, I realize how disgusting this is.
Stacey Rene Russell, publicist
Sometimes I get dressed just to feel "normal." But getting dressed is PJs to LuLu Lemon.
Jayne Morehouse, publicist
I get dressed and do hair and makeup before I even come downstairs. But...the cats have been known to jump into a Skype call every now and then. They want to see who else is talking.
Kaitlin Menza, writer
Sometimes my iPhone pedometer app shows under 100 steps because, well, you know. If someone cancels evening plans, like drinks or dinner, it's actually an immense bummer because that means I'm not going outside today (or showering) after all. Those memes about it being such a relief when someone cancels plans no longer apply to me!
Esti Berkowitz, blogger
I get all dressed for motivation purposes and get to work (my laptop on the dining room table) as soon as kids get to school. I barely leave my desk and often forget to make lunch and drink enough water.
Bradley Tuck, publicist
I actually have a rule. I don't do any work until I've showered, had coffee, and then dressed properly in a button down shirt, so that I feel that I'm 'at work'. At weekends, lord, I look like a hot mess , but Monday to Friday I dress as if I work at an agency. In my office with dog hair all over the floor. Go figure.
Amber Browning-Coyle , Executive Producer and Host of Spotlight on Giving and Spotlight on TV
I have been working on my computer in my underwear and when Amazon comes to deliver I'll throw on my big wool coat that hangs next to the door. They totally know I'm almost naked, but thankfully don't say much.
Maureen Pollack, inventor of the Water Slyde
I've done video podcasts with no pants on. I'm so not saying which ones.
Harper Spero, business coach and consultant
Having a Skype call with a client where my hair is done, makeup is on, nice shirt and no pants.
When I worked from home my lunch hour was the gym and I can't tell you how many conference calls I have been on and went to the loo and put the phone on mute. Sometimes I would forget it was on mute and be asked to weigh in on a strategy and heard, Oh, I guess she dropped the call. Yikes. The worst is having to video con when you are lazy. Having to brush hair and put on lipstick whilst still in sweats or nighty.
Candice Kilpatrick Brathwaite, social media expert
The highlight of my workday is when my coworkers in Finland are awake to chat on slack. Also I'm usually both pantless and under an electric blanket. I have done a call in the bathtub.
Traci Coulter, publicist
There are days when I get home from a run or a Soul Cycle class only to realize eight hours later I forgot to shower. And there have been days when the building manager would knock on my door for something and say “sorry, didn't think you'd still be in bed" because I'm wearing pjs, at 1 pm. The whole thing about being more productive with office clothes on is a theory I definitely don't believe anymore.
Debra Locker Griffin, publicist
Both of my huge dogs - because one polar bear is not enough - appeared on a group Skype last week.
Sarah Haynes Heath, beauty expert
Things I often do on conference calls: pluck eye brows, cut toenails, inspect for nose hairs, clean kitty litter, make faces in the mirror, get distracted by dirty dishes in the sink, roll my eyes, thank God I can run to Target at any time for things I don't need.
Bonnie Winston, matchmaker
I eat like no one's watching because no one is. A lot of time I eat standing up and sometimes over the sink. I drink straight out of the water bottles and put them back in.
Kaeli Conforti, travel writer
Most of the time, my lunch hours were really shower time followed by a power nap. The hardest part for me was (and still is) having an end time when I work from home. It's always so easy to just say, oh, let me finish this up, and before I know it, it's 10pm!
Samantha Slaven-Bick, publicist
Sometimes I work from the bed in the afternoons while simultaneously binge watching Netflix or Amazon shows. I've been known to pick my son up from assorted classes and extracurricular in pajamas. And then I just do errands like that before heading home.
Beate Chelette, author
Sometimes I only look good up to the waist and what's under the desk is yoga pants and dirty feet
Jason Jepson, publicist
My feet are in my pool and a beer is in my hand at noon almost everyday.
Vicki Winters, blogger and content creator
Sometimes I think about showering and try to remember “when was the last time?"
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."