Stress: The Wages of Work

I’ve been suffering from a stress related stabbing pain at the back of my head right at the bottom of my skull/top of my spine. When it comes, it feels like I’m being stabbed with every heartbeat. What’s the cause? Probably work and side hustle worries.

I don’t remember where I read it, but stress is a real killer. We had a geography teacher in school who suffered from stress and stank of cortisol related perspiration and young kids like dogs can smell fear – we made his life a misery (as happens to some teachers) and we put him to an early grave. He was signed off with stress related health problems and died soon after.

Stress is a killer! And that’s one motivation for me to have as little of it in life as possible. Not only that – but I don’t want to be in a vulnerable position in my middle-aged years – you know how some people live precarious lives, from one paycheck to the next and their boss knows this and has them by the. I don’t want to be like that at all, and I suspect my readers would be in the same boat.

So, despite my best intentions to avoid all stress, recently, I’ve been inviting it into my life through doing full 40+ hour weeks in work (working morning, noon, night as required). There’s the stress of kids, school, parenting and homeownership that are a baseload of stress with occasional tremors. I’ve also have some extra excitement in the form of the side hustle taking off but not without it causing some problems. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s involved a level of stress that I’m maybe not comfortable with – and that could be a cause of this stabbing pain.

Luckily, I have two weeks of holidays to start soon and that should help remove some of the cortisol from my synapses and recharge my batteries.

Choosing the path less stressful

It’s not that stress is inherently bad – stress is fine, it’s the strain of it that causes the damage. A Young’s Modulus if you like. I find arguing with people in real life very, very stressful (so I try not to do it) and playing poker with a £10 buy-in is a lot more stressful than watching my investments drop £10k in a day (as happened earlier this month).

If Financial Independence can buy us anything, it should buy us less stress. The freedom to be your own boss is one reason I am still working – I have the privilege to say I’ll work or not work and I’m somewhat in demand for my services (16 years without more than a day between jobs). One hour of my work paid for our trip to Nando’s this week when we couldn’t be bothered cooking – that’s not exactly frugal but it was a nice change from the ordinary and it was the Little Lady’s birthday. On one level, every penny’s a prisoner but choosing to get worked up by the cost of it all – does more harm than good.

Relaxing and Calming Down

The stabbing pain hasn’t been there for a few days and it seems like I’m recovering – but I don’t want it to happen again. I’ll need to be careful and watch the signs of stress and think of ways to reduce stress. I had thought of going to get a neck/back massage, except I’m too busy with work this week to do so (the irony eh?).

Thanks, GFF.


  1. Lay in the tins of beans, sardines, pears, and corned beef: we may have a sticky time this winter.

    The lockdown disruptions are beginning to show up all over the world. And if everything goes swimmingly you’ve not lost anything. As long as you like beans etc. A well stocked store cupboard would be a good stress-reliever. Or at least anxiety-avoider: are stress and anxiety the same thing?

    I’m wondering about a sack of tatties. More nutritious than rice.


  2. Since when has the world been without problems?
    You can’t expect that the world is frozen and then defrosted without any gremlins in the system.
    Brexit sure doesn’t help but there are stronger forces at play.

    And since when have we been all against the free market and the infallible laws of supply and demand?
    High house prices good, high fuel costs bad?
    Stress = anxiety. I’m not anxious about anything except the side hustle and work (when there’s a big push) – then again, I’m not like anyone else.


  3. Chuckle at Drearieme, Brexit never seems to have caused any downsides. Has it occurred to him that it is causing issues ON TOP OF what other countries are experiencing?


  4. “If Financial Independence can buy us anything, it should buy us less stress.” I fear it has the potential to provide different stressors.

    Will I run out of money, if I run out of money will I work again, am I being selfish by retiring very early when I could work another 5 years and buy my son a house instead. What will I do with all the free time ?

    Last week I took my son to a friend’s 8th birthday party. Most parents had the good sense to leave their child and run. I sensed the hosts were going to be a little overwhelmed so I stayed and helped them out. Dealing with 7 unruly 8 year old boys had a certain amount of stress but I was promised cake.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess that I am trying to save for my
      cake and have it too.
      The Master has his 5th birthday party this weekend coming,. already costing an incredible amount but I am focusing on the enjoyment of it – slippery slope?


  5. I’m with @David Andrews – FI(RE) will likely bring in different stuff to stress about but as we won’t be tied up with work, we’ll surely have more time to deal with these stressors.

    Hope you continue to be pain free. If it comes back and you don’t have the time to go out to get a neck/back massage, there are massage therapists who make home visits. I had one come sort out my shoulder/back pain which was was also due to work-related stress!

    Liked by 1 person

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