Five Stress-Free (Or Almost Stress-Free!) Jobs For PTSD Sufferers
By: Julia Merrill
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can occur after many different events in a person’s life, including military service. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that “18.5% of service members returning from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.”
Even more alarming is that these conditions can lead to substance use disorders in our nation’s heroes: the National Center on PTSD reports that about one in five veterans suffering from PTSD are also struggling with substance abuse issues. It’s heartbreaking for any of us to think that someone who has sacrificed so much for our country has difficulty finding effective ways of coping, and therefore turns to drugs or alcohol for comfort.
But the fact remains that PTSD can be overwhelming at times, whether or not it leads to other mental health issues like addiction. For those living with PTSD, the thought of finding a job can be a particularly anxiety-inducing endeavor. While no two people deal with the disorder in the same way, there are several jobs that carry little to no stress that might be perfect for many sufferers.
For some people living with PTSD, part of the anxiety that comes with joining the workforce is based in the fear of social interaction; for others, it’s the thought of being in a big, unfamiliar building far from home. Others need a quiet space to work. For all of these specific needs, there are several jobs that can be found in almost any town, and some can even be done from the comfort of your own home. Here are just a few of the best options.
If you’re an avid reader who enjoys helping others, the library might be the place for you. While most facilities may require a degree in library science, it’s possible to study online at a local school, and some libraries might allow you to train there while you earn credits. It’s a quiet environment that rarely sees hectic days, and you may be able to find a position that affords you relative peace as you work alone.
2. Pet Sitter
Working with animals can be a highly rewarding, stress-free job that is good for both you and the animal, and one of the best jobs for people suffering from PTSD is caring for non-threatening dogs. Sites like Rover.com can help you pair up with a pet owner who needs a caregiver for their fur-baby, set up a meeting, and even handle the financial end of things. In many cases, the owner can even bring the animal to your house, giving you time to bond with the dog — an important part of the healing process for many disorders. You can also provide dog walking services, which can be a great way to add some stress-busting physical activity with a furry friend into your day.
Yet another job that can be done from home, proofreading takes a keen eye and quite a bit of patience, but can be very profitable if you do it well. Many publishers, medical offices, and independent writers are looking for people who can take a thick manuscript or bundle of reports and check them for errors, and are willing to pay well for it. You can check out sites like Upwork.com to see if there are editing or proofreading jobs available in a field you’re comfortable with.
(I don’t know about this one, Julia!)
4. Temporary office employee
With a temporary job, there’s none of the stress or responsibility associated with an hourly job. There are several agencies that will work with potential employees to help place them in the right situation, and you can find anything from call center work to assistant jobs in an office setting. Often, there is little interaction required and, depending on the employer, you may be able to request a quiet task working on your own.
5. Outdoor Professional
Landscaping, gardening, and park service work are all examples of jobs that can be done outdoors with little to no stress. If you enjoy being out in the fresh air and working with your hands, these types of jobs can be perfect solutions. In many cases, interaction with others isn’t required and you may even be able to set your own schedule, or at the very least find a flexible one.
For many sufferers of PTSD, finding a job that carries little to no stress can seem like an impossible task. Indeed, not all of these jobs hit the criteria for every person living with the disorder, as it affects people very differently depending on where the trauma originated. However, it is possible to find work in areas that won’t worsen the condition and can afford the sufferer an opportunity to work on healing.
Julia Merrill is a retired board-certified nurse practitioner. Over the course of her 30-year career, she strived to bridge the communication gap between those seeking the best medical care and those working to provide it. She created BefriendYourDoc.org with the goal of sharing tips and insights into finding the right medical care, dealing with insurance companies, and ways for everyone to better maintain their own health and wellness.