Depression steals your desire to work –– or to do much of anything. A mood disorder its main symptoms include “overwhelming sadness, low energy, loss of appetite, and a lack of interest in things that used to bring pleasure.” While around seven percent of adults in the US have had at least one major depressive episode over the past year, millions more have undiagnosed depression or milder symptoms. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association reported that major depression had skyrocketed among adults under 25. Other studies Suggested it was on the rise among all adults. In late 2020, one Boston University study suggested depression rates had tripled during the pandemic.
Although depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, it is also one of the most treatable. While most people benefit from some combination of exercise, a healthy diet, talk therapy and medication, job stress can trigger depressive episodes. Although the disorder has several causes including genetics and brain chemicals, your workplace can aggravate it. If that’s the case, you owe it to yourself to seek new opportunities –– here are five of the best jobs for someone with depression.
Let’s face it, offices can be pretty unhealthy. Open offices are breeding grounds for disease spread. Cold offices contribute to weight gain. The lack of fresh air combined with fluorescent or LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs can exacerbate depression. The solution for you might be outdoor work –– which is why being a horticulturist or landscaper is one of the best jobs for someone with depression. You’ll be outside with minimal supervision. There is some training necessary although much can be on the job. The pay is fairly low but if you own your own business it can be lucrative. Plus, regular exercise is a proven mood booster and depression fighter!
2.Dog Walker or Pet Sitter
Research suggests that petting or playing with a pet has mental health benefits –– raising levels of those happy brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine. While owning one is ideal, helping busy pet parents is a pretty good substitute. Although you’ll likely start out by working for others you can become an independent contractor– developing a client base and even hiring subcontractors. Another bonus is that the people you meet while dog walking will likely be friendlier to you than they would be if you didn’t have an adorable companion. Kindness from humans can really help –– which is why this is one of the top jobs for someone with depression.
If the open road is more your thing, then being a truck driver could be perfect. Although the training is fairly involved, when it’s complete you’ll basically be self-supervising. Despite prediction that the work will take over by robots and autonomous driving systems, that seems to be far down the road (nopun intended!) although the pre-pandemic outlook suggested a below average level of growth, ongoing supply issues along with the of rail and freight make it a much more promising occupation. In California, for example, the Employment Development Department projects a growth rate for the state of over 15% –– Much faster than average growth rate for all occupations.
4. Computer Programmer
If you love numbers, then working with computers could be ideal. Training is available both in traditional colleges and through focused online courses. Coding is a notoriously high-stress job but there are areas in computing that are less so. You can also freelance, doing work at a pace determined by your current mental health needs.
5. Content Creation
If words are more your thing, getting into content creation can lead to a good job for someone with depression. You’ll have flexibility and likely be your own boss, working with editors and others who can be miles or multiple states away. Your work can take the form of blogs and social media posts or longer-form content like books and magazine articles. Other arts jobs are also ideal for people with depression, although being an artist, performer, or other type of creative can be financially challenging and money stress is a common trigger.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many business operations have become fully remote. It’s important to avoid total isolation if you are working from home. Make an effort to reach out to coworkers or friends and schedule get-togethers. If you prefer this lifestyle’s flexibility and reduced stress, you’re not alone. A pre-pandemic FlexJobs’ survey of over 3,000 workers found that 97% believed a flexible or remote job would have a huge improvement or positive impact on their overall quality of life. While letting a depressed staffer work from home may exceed the required “reasonable accommodations” defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s still an important conversation to have. No job or career is ever worth sacrificing your health.
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