Like many people when they start a new job, you were excited about the projects and team. Everyone was so nice in the interview, and they spoke highly of their coworkers. You were hopeful that you’d learn a lot and that those lessons would help further your career. You wholeheartedly believed you made the right decision accepting this job. Life felt good!

You’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Somewhere along the way, though, your feelings about your job changed significantly. Not everyone on the team is nice or professional. In fact, one or two people are harsh and even hurtful. They don’t respect you and some of the others on the team.

Not everyone has the same experience as you, so there must be something you’re doing wrong. You blame yourself for not performing as expected (even if the directions and rules seem to shift without you knowing it). After each humiliating encounter, you bargain with yourself about how you will do better next time.

Whatever dignity you had when you started this job is at rock bottom. At this point, your goal is to try to survive with your health and self-esteem intact and help provide for your family.

But you’re concerned that you may have waited too long to think about the destruction of a toxic workplace on your wellbeing — mind, body, and spirit.

All those stress hormones constantly running through your body can’t be good. What’s happening to your immune system? You lack the energy to cook healthy meals, exercise, and enjoy your family and friends. You’re spending so much energy trying to please the tough colleague that you have nothing left to give yourself.

Let’s start fixing that.

Finding Your Way Back Home

If you want to limit the impact of your toxic workplace on your wellbeing, you need enough physical, mental, and emotional energy to reclaim some control and make changes. Try one or more of these simple strategies.

Boost Your Mental Wellbeing

The mental load you carry weighs A LOT. Especially from the time you spend thinking about what-ifs or should-haves. Consider these strategies to maximize the mental energy you have or create new energy.

  1. Organize your work so that you work on the hardest tasks when your energy is highest. This strategy increases the quality of your work because you complete it closer to your zone of peak performance. An added benefit of this is a boost in self-confidence because you maximized your energy to do good work.
  2. Hope for the best, expect the worst. If you keep your expectations low for the behavior of the tough person you work with, two things happen. One, you reduce the likelihood of being disappointed … again. Second, it’s possible to keep your expectations low but continue to believe that you will be fine after the ordeal is over.
  3. Develop indifference and emotional detachment. This runs counter to the standards you set for yourself so it may feel uncomfortable. When your job feels like an onslaught of personal insults, going through the motions and caring as little as possible can be a healthy choice. You also take back a little control by not caring as much and thinking about something more pleasant as often as you can just to get through each day.
  4. Look for small wins. The ability to gain control over little seemingly trivial things has helped people survive horrible and uncontrollable events throughout history. It matters much less what the small thing is compared to how it makes you feel. If this seems hard to try right now, you might try increasing your decision-making outside of work such as trying new foods, music, or TV shows, and work your way up to gain some control of small things at work.

Boost Your Physical Wellbeing

Understandably, you feel beaten down and exhausted. Here are a few basic strategies to boost your physical energy. Each one is a step toward a happier and healthier you.

  1. Prioritize sleep and a regular bedtime. If this seems nearly impossible, then try making a commitment to getting into bed early mid-week and build in some rest time during the weekend. This is important enough to say it again, prioritize sleep.
  2. Drink enough water to equal half your body weight in ounces. There are all kinds of ways to help make this doable such as setting reminders to drink more water throughout the day, drink from a 20+ ounce bottle so that it’s easier to keep track of your consumption, make a rule about drinking X amount of water before you finish the workday or every time you use the restroom, etc. You get the idea.
  3. Choose as many whole foods as you can, and try to eat protein, carbs, and fats at every meal to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Fluctuating hormone levels are hard on the endocrine system so this is a real gift to your body.

Boost Your Emotional Wellbeing

To survive in your workplace, you likely wear invisible armor to protect your feelings. Without it, you’d absorb every insult, raised voice, and mistreatment and feel unworthy, deserving of very little. Even though you feel that way now, it’s not the real you. Your emotional energy has been repeatedly battered.

You can start right now to build yourself back up. You have the power to determine your thoughts and feelings and the actions they create.

  1. Say a positive affirmation daily. Choose something about the kind of worker you know deep down is the real you. Ex: I’m a great team player and put the quality of the work first. You’re subconscious will hear you say this daily and believe it. A positive affirmation like this is an antidote to the toxins in your workplace.
  2. Make a list of What I Know for Sure (thanks, Oprah) that includes what you know to be true about yourself and your life. Who do you know for sure loves you? What are examples of times you really showed up and achieved your goals. Put anything on the list that reminds you of your values and what’s important to you so that when times are tough, you can pull out the list and remind yourself what’s important and true for you. Believe me, this strategy works!
  3. Practice gratitude as often as you can. The more you do it, the more you train your brain to see the world through grateful eyes. If you have a tough encounter at work, run through your mental list of what you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s your kids, your dog, a good friend. For this purpose, keep the list relatively short. You want to immediately call it up in your mind to prevent the downward spiral of negative emotions.

You Can Do This!

You don’t deserve to be in such a toxic workplace. It’s not what you signed up for. Even when you feel out of control, powerless, or hopeless, you can reclaim some control and hope by doing small things for your mind, body, and spirit that will add up over time.

Dear Friend,

I’ve worked in toxic workplaces and lived in toxic relationships. I know about the destruction of chronic stress on your mind, body, and spirit.

I’ve learned over the years that we always have a choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Right now, your choice is to stand up for your wellbeing and believe that you deserve better. I understand that might feel daunting or downright impossible. Let’s start with something small then.

Choose at least one strategy from the list above and commit to trying it for 7 days. Then pick another and try it for 7 days. Keep going …. Everything you do to treat yourself well is an antidote to the toxicity.

Lots of people can start something new but then have a hard time sticking to it. If this sounds like you and you would like support and accountability, I can help.

I’m a Nationally Certified Health and Wellness Coach and my superpower is encouraging people to rebalance work + life so they reach their full potential.

Xo,

Karen

Need Support Rebalancing Work + Life?

If you:

  • Might be facing burnout from doing ALL. THE. THINGS.
  • Want to make hybrid work successful for you but don’t have the time or energy to figure out how
  • Are determined to fit work into life (and not the other way around)

I’m your girl! Here’s how to use me as a sounding board:

  • Email me to share your biggest work-life challenge.

  • Get support to rebalance work + life regardless of your starting point.

  • Feel more in control and empowered to work and parent on your terms.

  • Schedule a free 20-minute Zoom call with me.

  • Meet with me via Zoom.

  • Get results so you work and parent on your terms without sacrificing wellbeing.

SIGN ME UP!

About the Author

I coach professionals to redefine how to work, parent, and achieve financial freedom without sacrificing wellbeing. Motherhood, marriage, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. Together, we can help you reach your full potential — on your terms.
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