HOW TO HANDLE A TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT
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Do you often feel stressed or upset at work? If you do, it could be because you’re in a toxic work environment. If this is the case, it’s important you find the best coping strategies, otherwise, it can have serious detrimental effects on your life.
Not sure if you’re in a toxic environment?
Some of the signs include:
- High levels of employee sickness
- Very low workplace morale
- Lots of gossipy cliques
- Your leaders are unreasonable
- Lack of communication
- High employee turnover
A toxic work environment can affect you negatively in a number of ways. For example, it can cause sleep disruption, anxiety, damage to your relationships and friendships, changes in appetite, higher chances of getting sick, and more.
If this is the case, you will need to start looking for a new position elsewhere. But, in the meantime, it’s important to make some changes so that you’re able to handle the situation. Here are some of the best ways to do this:
1. Find stress relief outside work
When dealing with a toxic environment, it’s very important, firstly, to ensure your work and home life are kept completely separate at all times. When work starts intruding on your personal life, this can cause additional, unnecessary stress.
Instead, make sure to switch off from work in your free time. Find ways to relax and unwind, and to keep your mind off work. Maybe go to the gym or start meditating, or you could spend time with friends and family or take up a new hobby.
2. Adopt a positive mindset
Another way to deal with the problem is to try and adopt a positive mindset whenever possible. This doesn’t mean you have to accept the situation. It just means trying to see the positives instead – remember, there are always things you can do to improve the situation.
Always try and find humor in the situation. If there are people in your workplace you get on with, make sure you support each other. Also, it’s very important not to take anything personally. Try and switch off as much as you can, and if your workplace is cliquey, don’t engage in gossip.
3. Stay busy and focused
Staying busy and focused in a great way to distract yourself from toxic work experience. Instead of getting caught up in the drama, try and focus on your tasks and your work. This can help you stay sane, and it might even help in your career later on!
If you’re facing specific problems in your workplace, try and be proactive in trying to solve the problem itself. It may not fix the issue in the long-term, but in the short-term, it can provide you with peace of mind and help you get through the day.
4. Document your experience
If you’re in a workplace that’s extremely toxic – or maybe you think you’re being bullied – it’s very important to document everything that happens. If you want to make a complaint, later on, it’s essential that you do this as you will need some evidence of what’s happening.
Make sure everything is documented. Save any written correspondence, including emails, and write down any details from phone calls and meetings. Be sure not to leave anything out, no matter how small it might seem.
5. Take regular breaks
In many workplaces, people skip breaks and employees often feel guilty about taking them. They may feel guilty or have their bosses or colleagues criticize them or make them feel lazy.
But. taking regular breaks at work is actually very important for your wellbeing. This is even more important if you’re in a toxic environment. Make sure you take all the breaks you’re entitled to, as getting some space and having a short change in the environment can make a big difference.
6. Focus on self-development
Rather than letting your work problems drag you down, become motivated to improve yourself. Remember, the environment you’re in doesn’t define you. So, focus on doing your job well. Even if you leave, you can still take this experience to a future job.
If you start to feel stressed, start by working on relaxation techniques to calm down. Then, once you feel peaceful, think of ways you can use the situation to your advantage, like learning a new transferable skill or volunteering for a project.
7. Plan your exit strategy
It is possible that things will improve in your current job, and you might decide to stay. But, if you feel like you can’t handle it anymore, it’s perfectly acceptable to make plans to leave. If your workplace is very toxic, looking for a new job will inspire you to achieve more.
Start searching for new positions. Doing this will help you stay positive until you leave. You might pick something in line with your current role, or something completely different. Even a “bridge” can help you stay active while looking for a suitable position that you will love.