Guest blogger Julia Merrill offers some tips for people with PTSD seeking employment. Blog posts reflect, of course, the views of the writers and not necessarily those of the Puller Clinic.
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects nearly 8% of Americans and can occur after several different events, such as military service, car accidents, or childhood trauma including various types of abuse.
Living with PTSD can be full of daily challenges. For some, the condition can make dealing with the public or public situations on a regular basis overwhelming. Many with the condition have difficulty being in social situations because certain events or people can trigger memories, while others prefer to spend time alone or with a small group of trusted friends because it’s hard for them to keep their traumatic memories at bay.
For these people, it is imperative to find jobs within their comfort zones and, for many, jobs that have flexible schedules, since PTSD can impact sleeping habits and therefore create the need to work overnight or at varying hours throughout the day. Here are five great jobs for people living with PTSD who feel more comfortable working away from the general public.
It’s well-known throughout the medical community that spending time with animals can reduce stress and can greatly accelerate the healing process for many people. The same is true for people with PTSD, who can benefit from the calming nature of non-threatening animals. Pet-sitting is a wonderful job opportunity, and sites like Rover.com offer pet owners and responsible animal lovers the chance to meet up. There could be people in your area who need a caregiver for their pet while they go out of town; simply sign up on the site to get matched up with a pet parent in need, then let Rover.com take care of the financial end of things. In many cases, the pet owner can bring the animal to you, so you can bond with a loveable creature without having to leave the comfort of your own home. You can also sign up to be a dog walker if you’re looking for added flexibility in your schedule — dog walking often requires you to spend an hour or less with your four-legged client.
Landscape or Garden
While working outside usually requires a daytime schedule, it can be highly rewarding for people who enjoy working in the dirt. Finding a job with a local landscaping company or florist could be a great way to work in a peaceful environment without having to engage in much social activity.
Put Your Creativity to Work
If you enjoy working with your hands to create things, sites like Etsy.com are wonderful places to start your own small business from home. Boasting mostly handmade items, Etsy is user-friendly and offers various payment options for customers who are looking for hand-crafted jewelry, furniture, clothing, and accessories. These types of jobs require a bit of networking online, but for the most part you can promote your work entirely from your computer.
Cooking or baking can often be creative tasks that have wonderful (and delicious) results. Working in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen may not be the best option for someone with PTSD, but there are often jobs to be found in those environments that lend themselves more easily to an employee who needs time away from the bustle. Often called “prep cooks,” these workers can spend time preparing, chopping, and slicing up ingredients for use later in the day and are usually able to do so in a quiet environment, sometimes early in the morning.
Many businesses, including office buildings, require an employee who can come in and clean during off-hours, making it the perfect job for someone who needs limited interaction and a flexible schedule. There are varying degrees of physical activity involved, as well, and exercise is an important part of recovery for many people with PTSD.
Many people diagnosed with PTSD require not only limited interaction with others, but calm and quiet environments as well. It can be difficult for some to focus on the job at hand when there are too many distractions, which can also cause traumatic memories to surface. Jobs with low stress-levels and somewhat isolated environments are often the best choices for anyone dealing with anxiety or PTSD.
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.