Do feelings of anxiety tend to interfere with your work life? Is your morning ritual of waking up and driving to work associated with excessive worrying, agitation, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, or even panic attacks?
If so, then it might be time to find a different career path – i.e., one that helps manage your anxiety rather than trigger it. Taking this into consideration, this post aims to raise awareness on the issue of anxiety in the workplace and to highlight some of the best jobs for people with anxiety.
Anxiety Disorders in a Nutshell – Importance of Finding Low Stress Jobs
Did you know that over 40 million American adults (18.1% of the population) struggle with an anxiety disorder—making it the most common mental disorder? This is according to data by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), which also notes that people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder are at an increased risk of psychiatric disorders and hospitalization.
Sure, feeling anxious before a huge meeting with your boss, while changing jobs, or when you’re facing financial challenges is a normal human response. One industry study even suggests that 8 in every 10 American workers struggle with stress frequently in their workday—and it’s easy to see why owing to today’s demanding work culture.
The issue arises when the anxiety is persistent, it’s triggered by disproportionate (lesser) stressors, and it interferes with your day significantly. In such a case, you need to find a long-lasting solution before things spiral down—leading to poor health and low productivity.
According to a study by authors affiliated to the University of Michigan Medical School—and the general rule of thumb—the best way to manage anxiety disorders is to avoid triggers as much as reasonably possible. One way to do this for working professionals is by finding low stress jobs.
10 Jobs for People with Anxiety
If you constantly struggle with anxiety, you ideally want a job that offers a calming environment—and one that offers a healthy work-life balance. Sometimes your choice of work may be dictated by the unique characteristics of your condition, your diagnosis, and how far along you are in treatment.
Below is a list of some of the best jobs for people with anxiety:
Do you have a knack for the written word? Writing can prove to be a low stress job to ease your anxiety.
According to a 2018 study published in PLoS One, “expressive writing can substantially improve a person’s emotional state via reduction of anxiety and depression, but also improve one’s social relationships and increase one’s feelings of well-being, happiness, and self-efficacy, as well as effectively promote one’s psychological health.”
But you don’t have to be a published writer like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Freelance writing is also a lucrative career path. Consider exploring options such as article writing, blogging, sales copy writing, or content writing.
- Work with Children
There’s something about the innocence and honesty of children that creates a sense of calm. Working with children is a good job for people with anxiety for several reasons.
For example, kids communicate differently from adults. They tend to be less concerned about social pressures and more about having fun. This can help distract you from anxious thoughts—while allowing you to be more comfortable in a social setting. Plus, you don’t have to worry about gut-churning interviews, high stake meetings, or demanding sales pitches.
- Work with Animals
If working with children still triggers your anxiety, then maybe pets will do the trick. Pet-therapy is an actual holistic treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress.
A survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) found out that pet ownership helped improve the mental health of up to 74% of pet owners. Similarly, a study appearing in the Journal of Animals shows that “directly interacting with a dog resulted in greater declines in anxiety and improved mood.”
Fun fact: A survey reported by the New York Post suggests that 3 in every 10 American parents prefer their pets to children.
Libraries are often a haven for people with a social anxiety disorder. Think about; it’s quiet, the atmosphere is tranquil, the vibe is positive, human interaction is kept at a minimum, and there are tons of book to indulge your mind—distracting you from anxious thoughts.
If you like the idea of visiting your local library, then you might as well consider making it your workplace. Being a librarian is easily one of the best low stress jobs. What’s better than sitting in a serene environment where communication is limited while sipping a cup of hot latte all day?
- Computer Programming
Working with computers and machines is less intimidating than dealing with people (well, unless you’re dealing with Skynet from The Terminator films).
Computer programming is one of the best jobs for people with anxiety — especially if you are tech-savvy or you’re willing to learn some coding. As a low stress job, you rarely interact with people face-to-face. Most of the communication and tasks are handled from a remote location.
People with anxiety tend to be great listeners—but bad at interacting socially or in high-pressure environments. With this in mind, you can ‘water two plants with one hose’ by exploring a career as a transcriptionist.
Whether you choose to work as a freelancer or in a full-time position–it’s a good job for people with anxiety. Most of your time is spent with headphones and a computer keyboard.
How does the idea of working in an outdoor space characterized by the peaceful ambience of nature sound? Great, right? If this idea sounds appealing to you and you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, then you might create a fulfilling vocation out of landscaping.
It’s an escape from the turmoil and monotony of an office. But keep in mind that you need to have a knack for designing and gardening to thrive in the industry.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis forced most of us to embrace online shopping, the industry was still experiencing unprecedented growth. According to figures released by the Statista, eCommerce sales around the world amounted to approximately $3.53 trillion in 2019—and it’s expected to surpass $6.54 trillion by 2022.
These growth statistics point to a lucrative career opportunity for people with anxiety issues. You can launch and manage an eCommerce business such as dropshipping or selling your own products with little hassle.
Selling products, fulfilling orders, and shipping requires minimal interaction and movement. But ensure you’re well-versed in the best practices (e.g. SEO optimization, writing sales copy, descriptions etc.) to thrive in the competitive market.
- Delivery Services
At a time when people seem to order everything online—from food items to basic errands—working as a delivery person might be a good job for people with anxiety. This is especially applicable for individuals who find a therapeutic outlet in driving or cycling.
You’ll be mostly on the road alone with little socialization, except when picking orders and delivering them to their destination.
- Cleaning Services
Whether it’s housework of janitorial work, most cleaning services are done off-hours when there are little-to-no people around the specific venue. For this reason, it’s one of the best jobs for people with anxiety.
It’s also fulfilling to bask in an orderly, clean, and disinfected space—while appreciating the outcome of your hard work. Working in cleaning services is especially fitting for those of you who don’t have academic qualifications and those who value order. But brace yourself for intense labor.
What’s Your Favorite Low Stress Job?
With those few suggestions, the ball is now in your court. You need to internalize and find a career path that’s best suited for your strength and shortcomings. Consider options that you find rewarding, empowering and those that are not too taxing for you.
You need to be honest with yourself by challenging the stigma and dispelling the fear of what others might think. Your work needs to be fulfilling if you are to improve your quality of life. And don’t focus too much on the remuneration. Sure, money is important—but your quality of life is more important.