Do you feel like the last thing you want to do is to show up at work? Does it feel like that you are carrying a weight at all times when you are at work? And that something will go wrong at any moment? Do you experience shortness of breath, headache, palpitation, cold and clammy palms, and/or profuse perspiration? If that is the case, then my friend, you might be experiencing a toxic work place environment.

It can be anything from a narcissistic boss to bullying co-workers to things as subtle as not getting the rightful acknowledgement for your work. A toxic work place can be invariably detrimental to one’s mental, and consequently, physical health. That is why one must look out for such a situation.

Identifying your work place environment to be toxic is the first step towards tackling it. 

Here are some other suggestions for coping with a toxic work place:

  • Don’t take it personally. Once you have realized that your work place environment is baneful, it is important to also acknowledge that it is not because of you that others are behaving negatively. You must emotionally detach yourself from the situation so that it does not drag down your morale or damage your self-esteem.
  • Talk it out. Discuss the circumstances that are creating the toxicity at work with your co-workers and find like-minded people so that it does not eat away at you and you can provide support to each other.
  • Take it up to the management or HR. If it is not the management that is the problem then take the situation up to your boss. If it is your boss who is making work life difficult, then try HR. Sometimes, all that is needed is whistle-blowing.
  • Try negotiating peacefully with the trouble makers. Sometimes passivity sends the wrong message that you are weak. Try telling the bully to leave you alone and remind them that they are crossing lines.
  • Focus on the work. Make lists and set daily goal reminders. This might help take your mind off of your disturbing work surroundings. Remind yourself why you chose this work.
  • Segregation of work and personal life. Try not to think of work problems after you leave work. Make extra effort that your work toxicity does not transude into your family life or relationships.
  • Take breaks at work. When you can, leave your desk and go for a walk or a cup of tea outside work. Giving yourself breathing space from the venomous work surroundings can rejuvenate you.
  • Engage in de-stressing activities after work. Go for a jog, join a gym, paint, sculpt, meditate – do whatever helps you channel out the work stress.
  • Create your own environment in your work cubicle. Put up inspirational positive quotes, hang a painting, add colors, put up something personal – anything that makes you feel more at ease and helps you separate yourself and your immediate surroundings from the negativity in the wider work environment.
  • Search for other job options. While you make efforts to cope with the problems at your work place, look for other job options. Nothing is worth losing your peace of mind over. Job search will also keep you hopeful in the face of difficulties.

The suggestions above might come in handy when dealing with a destructive work place environment and in no way are they intended to make you feel that the negative work surroundings are on you. Do what you must to keep yourself sane, but get out of a job or any situation in life that is toxic for you.


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