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Coping Strategies for Toxic Workplaces

HomeWellnessCoping Strategies for Toxic Workplaces

All jobs come with a certain level of stress. However, while it’s normal to occasionally have stress and anxiety surrounding your job, it’s not normal if your work environment starts to severely drain you and affect your mental health and even physical health.

Our lives today are so much more stressful and chaotic as a whole due to our fast-paced culture and society, so it’s important now more than ever to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance. If your job is making you feel worse and is taking a toll on your mental health, it’s likely a sign that you need to make some changes.

How to Tell if Your Workplace Is Affecting Your Mental Health

The signs of a toxic workplace can vary from one situation to the next. What one person finds triggering and difficult to deal with might not be an issue for someone else. So it’s important to pay attention to your own body and what it’s telling you, even if others don’t seem to be affected by the same things you are.

Still, there are some common signs you can look out for that could indicate you are working in a toxic environment or that your workspace is just specifically not suited to your needs:

  • Frequent fatigue and illness. If you often feel too tired to handle your job or are getting sick more frequently, it could be a sign that you are working in a toxic environment. And if other employees are also constantly calling out sick, it could indicate a toxic workplace.
  • High turnover rates. One very common sign of a toxic workplace is the company’s inability to retain employees. It’s normal for people to leave and move on to something else, but if there is an unusually high rate of turnover, this is typically a sign it’s not a good place to work.
  • Lack of joy and enthusiasm. All jobs come with good days and bad days, but if you constantly dread going to work and have no motivation or desire to get your job done, then it’s probably a toxic workplace. There should be more good days than bad, and you should enjoy some aspects of what you are doing and who you are interacting with when at work.
  • Poor communication.If your job does not create an environment where employees can be open and have healthy and productive conversations with each other or their superiors, then this is a sign that something isn’t right. Workplaces should encourage communication and collaboration.

How to Cope in a Toxic Work Environment

First and foremost, never force yourself to stay in a toxic workplace if it is severely damaging your physical and mental health. If you try the coping strategies below and you are still struggling, it might be time to move on and find another job if you can.

However, it’s understandable that not everyone is in a position to leave their job, or they might want to stay to try and make things better in the hopes that it can affect positive change in the workplace. Just be mindful of your needs, and don’t sacrifice your own wellbeing to be an advocate for change.

These are some of the top tips for dealing with a toxic workplace:

Stay High When They Go Low

Or, in other words, don’t stoop to someone else’s level when they are being negative. Negativity breeds more negativity. So if someone is being toxic, either stay positive and calm when you respond or walk away.

Leave Work Stress at Work

A critical factor in maintaining a healthy work-life balance is to leave your stress at the door and don’t let it follow you home. Having a good personal foundation in place that is supportive and free of stressors is essential. If you carry your work troubles home with you and let them affect your personal life, it will make it that much harder to return to work every day.

Learn How to Confront Your Problems

Avoiding or ignoring toxic problems at work is not a healthy coping mechanism. Pretending something isn’t wrong will not make it go away. So as nerve-wracking as it can sometimes be, it’s helpful to address the issue head-on, as this could resolve the problem. For example, if a coworker or superior keeps using language that is negative, offensive, or hurtful, try to find a way to sit down and have a healthy conversation with them about it without making them feel like they are being attacked.

Take a Break

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when you are dealing with a stressful or potentially toxic work environment is to take some time away. Going on vacations, especially frequent ones if possible, is extremely beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing. And if you don’t have a ton of vacation days, try taking a long weekend here and there. Just be mindful not to fall victim to the post-vacation blues when you return, as this can make your toxic workplace seem worse.

Relieve Stress Outside of Work

When you are not at work, try to focus on creating a peaceful, decluttered home environment that is comforting and inviting, and engage in other stress-relieving activities. For example, you can try meditation, yoga, swimming, self-care routines, or anything else that helps you decompress and get your mind off work.

Final Thoughts

Do not be afraid to set boundaries and advocate for yourself in a toxic workplace. At the end of the day, only you know what is best for you and what you need to support your mental health and wellbeing. Toxic workplaces can also stunt your career and keep you from growing and expanding your experience and skill set. So always, always do what is right for you to ensure you get where you want to be in life.

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pearls of wisdom
Noah Rue
Noah Rue
Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.


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