Fibromyalgia is a syndrome causing pain and impaired cognition that affects approximately 5 million Americans over the age of 18, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue and severe insomnia. Commonly misunderstood as just a mild condition, symptoms can be so severe that sufferers are essentially homebound, or even bedbound. Wherever you are in the range from mild to severe, there are careers you can try on for size.
1. Online Book Seller
One way you can make decent money with little out-of-pocket investment is selling books online. Start small by purchasing a few books at a local library book sale or you can go bigger and attend larger sales, if your symptoms allow. Take a smartphone with you and look up book values with an app that shows you which are the best-selling books, to determine which ones to buy. If you are able to get out of the house, this is a great source of extra income that you can turn into a career of online selling.
2. Online Test Scorer
There are companies such as Pearson Education who hire people with at least a bachelor's degree to score student tests online. Some of these companies can keep you busy year-round with different assignments so that you are able to make a career out of online scoring. This kind of position allows you to work from the comfort of your bed or sofa, so it’s convenient if you have trouble getting around comfortably. If you have issues with a lot of “brain fog,” you may struggle with this kind of cognitive work, but because of the autonomy, give it a try before you decide.
Merchandising and fibromyalgia are a good fit due to the field’s flexibility and autonomy. Retail companies hire independent merchandisers to make sure their products are well-represented in stores, by completing tasks like straightening items and putting out back stock. If you are severely limited due to fibromyalgia, you may attempt to do just a few hours of work per week, and if you’re less limited, you can add several similar positions together to fill your week. Many companies do not require that work be completed on a certain day or time so the flexibility allows you to accommodate your fluctuating health.
4. Real Estate Agent
If you’re mildly to moderately affected by fibromyalgia, consider a real estate sales career. You may have times you struggle with cognition and need some back up, but real estate allows for an extreme amount of independence. You can work hard for a few days and then take several days off in a row to rest. You can also pick and choose when you are going to work with a new client, taking time off when you need it. Make sure you work with an understanding broker who has your back, too, when your health is at a lower point.
An independent writing position is sometimes a perfect fit for someone with fibromyalgia. While cognition issues might get in the way at times, look for work with independent agencies that allow you to take your time when completing assignments. By working at your own pace, if it takes you all week to write just one article some weeks, you are still getting the work completed. Perhaps the following week, you'll feel better and can finish more assignments to make up for it.
6. Freelance Graphic Designer
The skills of graphic design are always in high demand. Since most businesses now represent themselves on the Internet, market your abilities to manipulate photos or design web pages to meet their needs. Print publications are still in popular demand as well. You can market your postcard- or flier-design services to local small business owners to get started. That way, you can control your assignments so that you work only when you feel up to it.
8 Energy-Boosting Supplements for Fighting Fibromyalgia Fatigue