Top 10 Anxiety-Friendly Jobs
If you're an anxious person, working at a job that's anxiety-friendly can be a huge benefit to your life. So many people with anxiety disorders struggle with work because of the difficulty of social interaction and other job stressors. Work is anxiety-provoking for everybody to some degree, but, if you have anxiety, anxiety at work can be truly hellish. That's why it's important that us anxious types find jobs that take our anxiety into account. This week, we'll explore 10 of the most anxiety-friendly jobs out there.
I'm writing this post as much for me as anything because I currently don't have a job that's anxiety-friendly. I work as a cashier in a grocery store, and my anxiety is completely through the roof because of it sometimes. Fortunately, I have a great boss and good co-workers, and most of the customers are nice, too. Still, the anxiety of having to cope with the vagaries of the general public can be really intense. I used to have an anxiety-friendly job (it's in the list below) that I'm hoping to get back to fairly soon.
Criteria for Jobs That Are Anxiety-Friendly
A job must meet certain criteria to be considered anxiety-friendly. Although there are obviously no hard and fast rules about this, most anxious people find common work stressors unpleasant, so good jobs for anxious people must either not have those stressors, or must only have a minimal amount of them. Here are some important criteria:
- Low levels of stress -- Most anxious people (including me) don't do well in intense, high-pressure environments, so low to moderately stressful jobs are a better fit if you have anxiety.
- Low noise levels -- I find loud noise very stressful. It's a total trigger for my anxiety, and I'd guess most of you are with me on this one. So, good jobs for anxious people must take their noise sensitivity into account.
- Few interruptions/distractions -- I'm not a very good multi-tasker. I get overwhelmed easily when there's too much going on, so an anxiety-friendly job for me must allow me to stay mostly on one task without interruption.
- Limited interaction with other people -- Constant interaction is the thing that's most stressful about my current job. It's non-stop, and it really gets to me some days. This is especially true for people with social anxiety disorder, so an anxiety-friendly job must keep the interaction with bosses, customers, and co-workers to a minimum.
List of the Top 10 Anxiety-Friendly Jobs
- Writer -- Writing tends to be a great job for anxious people, although it can be hard to make money doing it at first. Blogging and technical writing may be good places to start if you're interested in writing for a living.
- Childcare worker -- Yes, working with kids involves lots of noise and interaction, but dealing with children is less intimidating than dealing with adults.
- Computer programmer -- I did computer programming full time for over 10 years. It's great because it meets all of the anxiety-friendly job criteria, plus you can make good money doing it.
- Working with animals -- Much like working with kids, working with animals is less intimidating than many jobs because adult interaction is minimized. Plus, animals can be very soothing and provide an opportunity to give nurturing care to another living creature.
- Cleaning offices -- I also worked as a house and office cleaner for many years. Office cleaning tends to be done at night and by yourself. It's a very anxiety-friendly job for someone who's looking for solitude and quiet.
- Tutoring -- Working as a tutor generally limits your interaction to one person, and, for the most part, tutoring is studious and quiet.
- Nurse's aide -- Healthcare can be a very stressful job, but working as a nurse's aide rarely involves life and death decisions. Mostly, it entails simple, physical labor, and, if you can get hired for the night shift, it can be very quiet as well.
- Counselor -- Counseling is a profession that involves a lot of interaction, but it's usually only with one person at a time. In some ways, anxiety sufferers make good counselors because they tend to be more empathetic to the pain of others. Counseling involves a lot of talking and tends to be fairly low-key.
- Prep cook -- Prep cooks work mostly in the background doing the grunt work of food preparation. Making salads, cooking vats of spaghetti sauce, and prepping large numbers of fruit baskets are typical tasks for a prep cook. You work mostly by yourself, and interaction with other people is limited.
- Landscaping -- I also worked as a landscaper in my youth, and it's a good job for someone with anxiety. It's hard, physical labor, but there are long stretches of uninterrupted, relatively mindless activity. There's something to be said for working a job that lets you turn your brain mostly off.
While working and holding down a job can be really hard if you have an anxiety disorder, it's doable if you can find a job that's the right fit. Hopefully, this list of anxiety-friendly jobs will inspire you to go after a job that's a better fit for you.
Weber, G. (2015, May 6). Top 10 Anxiety-Friendly Jobs, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2015/05/top-10-anxiety-friendly-jobs
Author: Greg Weber
I would disagree with Childcare being a low anxiety job. I have worked in this field for the last 6 years and find it very taxing on my anxiety disorders. It is loud, unpredictable, often hectic, and you have to interact with the parents of every child, every day. It's not just a hello and goodbye, it's telling annoyed parents their child was being naughty, or needs help that they often don't have time/patience to give. You have trouble with one child having tantrums? Try being in a room with 20 pre-schoolers who need to stay on task while three of them throw screaming fits. It's being responsible for the safety of a whole classroom of children who do things like put food up their nose, eat mulch, bite, punch, and run with their eyes closed!
This is my life!
I totally agree with you
I agree!!! I work in a classroom with 15 children aged 18 months - 3 years + 2 other teachers. Although my job is very rewarding it can also be very stressful and often triggering. I love what I do, and I love the kids - but the difference in values between staff can be an issue. I suffer from CEN and make it my mission for no child to ever feel the way I did/do. I am very in tune with the emotional needs of each child in my class but this also means that they all come to me when needing emotional support - which at times can be overwhelming to have 3 or 4 crying children in my lap, trying to push each other off so they don't have to share me, and no other staff stepping in to support me or them. I also carry a lot of guilt if I feel I was unable to meet a child's emotional needs or if (due to anxiety) I am not able to advocate for them when other staff are dismissing their needs.
I agree with HMC 100%. I can't imagine why anyone would think it remotely appropriate to suggest that an anxious person should work with children. Children are, exactly as HMC said, LOUD and unpredictable. Children are so thoroughly demanding in their neediness, and they are NOT "less intimidating to work with than adults." I'd like to know how the person that originally compiled this list would fare telling an eleven year old to get back in their classroom line, only to then be told something like "make me" or "go f*ck yourself." Both of these things have happened to me, and on more than one occasion. The amount of adult interaction is not reduced, either. If you're not certificated, you'll have to deal with as many different teachers as there are on campus at SOME point, and some look at you like you're no better than the gum they stepped on. Certificated or not, you're ALSO left dealing with irate parents when student discipline becomes necessary (expect that from day one of the school year). There is also the vice principal and the principal to contend with. I'd leave, but the reality of the situation is this: I don't have that luxury. I have bills to pay like everyone else, and getting hired for a position in my school district is notoriously difficult (it was by sheer luck that I was hired at all 6 years ago). As far as finding another job goes, I'm looking at something minimum wage. The very few fields in my area that pay above that and are even halfway sustainable, IF you work full time, are found at schools and through government positions at the post office. As stated before, neither of these types of positions are easy to come by or get into.
I've worked at an elementary school for the last 6 years, and it has been an absolute nightmare. My anxiety and depression get worse the longer I stay. Getting pretty desperate at this point.
I would like to think that interaction with adults not necessarily be an anxiety trigger, but instead that unsupportive environments with poor professional boundaries are a bigger problem. Any workplace or setting can be anxiety friendly if colleagues and managers are equipped with the right tools.
I have to disagree with computer programming. Its what I do and stress drives my anxiety high all the time.
I'm a CNA and it's not anxiety free. You have to deal with some patients that are psychotic and very irate family members. Some of the co-workers are psychotic as well. Nurses that are overly demanding and a host of other things.
I am an RN who respected the CNAs with whom I worked who worked as hard as I did, who had the patients interests before their own, and tended to their needs as I did. I was not find of working with CNAs who preferred to be on their phones and not going around offering back care, drinks, snacks, maybe a foot rub, maybe just to talk. It is what I did for my patients as well as give meds, access their physical needs and emotional needs. It is a lot harder to be an RN than it was years ago and we tend to depend on the CNAs to give what sometimes it is impossible for us to have the time to do. We have to transcribe orders, perform the necessary orders, assess the patients, Medicate for pain, administer IVs, etc. All of this takes time which is why having knowledgeable, caring CNAs make our care complete. Thank you to all you CNAs whose work is more than a paycheck as it is for me.
I have to agree with you here. and yes, Noise is my number one thing. I can't deal with a lot of distracting noise. I have had to quit a decent paying job to go on disability because I can not longer do the work I used to do and am so good at - Customer Service. Call center work is the hardest. I worked in many different jobs and cleaning houses or working at a computer with NO interaction with others were the best jobs. (data entry). I went too long without treatment and had a breakdown almost 3 years ago. I am just getting back to a point where I can function somewhat in the house. I got a dog and that has helped a lot. I help with University Studies for mental illness which gives me great satisfaction. Thank you for this article.