If you wake up every morning stressed about going to work, chances are that you are working in a toxic environment. There are many signs of a toxic workplace including having rude coworkers, but things that you may be experiencing include depression, loss of focus, reduction in confidence, and even constant headaches.
The psychological explanation behind feeling depressed due to a toxic workplace is related to the fight or flight response of the body. When you put yourself under constantly stressful conditions, your body produces cortisol, testosterone, and norepinephrine in unhealthy quantities. As a result, you may find yourself wanting to burst into tears by 2pm at work.
While working in a toxic environment can be difficult, it is certainly not impossible. Until you find a suitable alternative for yourself, there are many ways to survive a toxic workplace – regardless of how bad the situation may be.
1. Find the Good in the Bad
The biggest reason why your workplace is toxic is probably due to the coworkers. You may find yourself surrounded by selfish, judgmental, and manipulative individuals that you do not resonate with. But while a majority of your coworkers may be toxic, there are still chances that a few of them are good. It may be a difficult screening process, but you could eventually build a small group of trusted coworkers in order to survive the toxic workplace. Remember to provide a safe space to vent or talk with your trusted group, but do not choose your friends too quickly or hastily.
2. Focus on the Bigger Picture
As you work in an organization, chances are that you already have important goals to work towards. You probably have a defined set of tasks to accomplish for yourself, and maybe even a goal that you need to reach by the end of the year.
A great way to avoid the complexities of a toxic workplace is to ignore everything but your goals. Instead of participating in workplace gossip or trying to become part of the group chat, just focus on what you need to achieve as part of the organization.
3. Kill Them with Kindness
This may be a difficult one – especially since you never want to be polite towards the coworker who repeatedly makes fun of your shoes. A majority of toxic workplaces tend to have competitive environment, thus leading to workers pulling each other down in order to feel better about themselves. Lying and cheating may be more common than you think.
If you want to stay away from all of this negativity of a toxic workplace, we recommend that you treat everyone with kindness. Say good morning when you walk into the office, and hold the door open for the person behind you.
4. Find a Work-Life Balance
If work is too toxic and stressful for you to handle, you need to find relief elsewhere. Part of surviving a toxic workplace is to have something else to look forward to – perhaps a game night with your friends or catching a movie with your family. Another sign of a toxic workplace is one that demands too much from you. If you are constantly finding yourself cancelling plans with friends due to all of your workload, we suggest that you stop doing that immediately. Try to set healthy boundaries at work, and try not to bring all that workload home after all.