If you struggle with mental health issues, you know that it can sometimes feel like your career suffers because of your symptoms. You might even feel like you can’t work in an office or have a demanding job because of your symptoms (whether they’re due to depression, anxiety, or a whole host of other conditions). However, one way that many people have tackled their mental health issues along with succeeding at their job is by working from home. Working from home can be because your job lets you telecommute, or because you are self-employed and can set your own hours. Either way, working from home allows you to have the flexibility you might need to better manage your symptoms while still tackling all of your work responsibilities. You can also make life easier for yourself by owning an emotional support animal.
What are emotional support animals?
These animals, also known as ESAs, can help provide consistent comfort and support for people with a wide number of different psychological conditions, such as:
- Major depression
- Anxiety disorders (including panic disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Personality disorders
Many people find that owning an ESA helps to relieve or lessen their symptoms from these disorders. These animals can range from traditional pets like dogs and cats to more exotic fare like snakes or miniature pigs. Whichever animal you choose to own, ESAs provide a constant, loving companion that can help bring down your anxiety levels and help boost your mood. So, where does an emotional support animal for the home worker come into play? Working from home means you can get all the benefits of your ESA 24/7.
How can you benefit from an ESA if you work at home?
Working from home with your ESA can provide advantages in a number of ways. Your ESA can:
- Help you combat loneliness. Working from home can sometimes feel isolating since you’re not surrounded by coworkers all day. Having an ESA to interact with (and even chat to!) can make you feel less alone at home.
- Offer more positive and proactive encounters. Some coworkers or bosses can spawn negative interactions throughout your day, while your ESA can just be there to provide companionship (without criticism, judgment, or pressure).
- Serve as a reminder to take more breaks. Working from home (without strict scheduled breaks or mealtimes) can lead you to forget to give yourself moments to rest (or to eat!). Your ESA can help remind you to take a break by forcing you to stop working in order to pet or cuddle them, to feed them, or to take them outside for a quick walk or play break.
- Help you complete tasks and reach your goals more easily. An ESA can alleviate some of your symptoms, which can lead to you feeling more empowered and more capable of achieving what you need to every day.
Your ESA can actually help you to become a more focused worker, since a less stressed frame of mind can make it easier for you to concentrate and complete tasks. You could end up being a more well-rounded worker overall who can tackle a variety of projects (with less anxiety or stress attached). Because you can achieve a lot more working from home with your ESA, there’s a good chance you won’t have to take on an office job or something with a stricter schedule that you’re not comfortable with.
Let’s say you already have an ESA and have found that your current job isn’t conducive to having your ESA with you onsite. Working with an ESA at home can mean that you can keep your animal by your side all day without having to be concerned about working in an office environment. If you work at home, you don’t have to worry about the safety and happiness of your ESA (or that of your coworkers and other office staff). This can end up providing you with the best of both worlds: constant love from your ESA and a comfortable work environment that allows you to succeed, even if you’re experiencing a flareup of some of your mental health symptoms.
Which ESA is best for a home worker?
There are a lot of animals that function well as ESAs. Dogs are probably the most popular option, and they can work really well in offering you support while you’re working from home. Cats can also be a good option, since they’re pretty self-sufficient; they’ll generally leave you alone while you work. Other animals that don’t need a lot of constant supervision, such as rabbits or reptiles, can also be beneficial. However, more exotic species (such as hedgehogs and sugar gliders) might demand a lot more of your attention, so they’re not great picks if you’ll need a great deal of time to focus on your work. Likewise, you’ll want to steer clear of loud animals that aren’t conducive to a quiet working environment (so probably no loud squawking birds or creatures like ferrets that can get in the way of your concentration).
If you want to make sure that your ESA can be independent while you’re working, consider putting a cozy bed in your office or next to your desk, so they can lounge around while you’re hard at work. This can also give you some peace of mind so that you can still keep your eye on them throughout the day. Also, make sure you’re scheduling frequent breaks (as mentioned above); this can ensure that you’re taking enough time to refresh, as well as ensuring that your pet is getting enough walks, fresh air, treats, and general attention. It’s also a good idea to provide your ESA with plenty of toys or other distractions so they can stay just as busy as you are during the day.
ESAs for home workers can definitely be a rewarding solution to someone struggling with mental health issues while still trying to be successful at work. Working from home can help you strengthen the bond you have with your ESA, while simultaneously helping you get the daily support you need to thrive in your career.