How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment [7 Best Ways]

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Does waking up and preparing for your job fill you with joy and excitement?

If so, chances are you’re blessed to be working in a pleasing environment.

On the other hand, if the thought of going to work fills you with fear, stress, and anxiety, you might be employed in a toxic workplace.

Some of the most prominent signs that your workplace is toxic include, but aren’t limited to:

  • fear-based leadership
  • excessive gossip
  • favoritism
  • unhealthy competition
  • bullying
  • gaslighting
  • no support and communication
  • lack of trust between colleagues
  • & more

Spending eight or more hours per day in an unhealthy environment is frustrating, exhausting, and demoralizing.

Trust me, I know. I’ve been there myself.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to deal with your toxic workplace and in this article, I’m going to share with you the seven best ones.

Let’s take a closer look.

How to deal with a toxic work environment

Switching jobs is understandably not always a valid option.

Maybe you live in a small city where jobs are scarce. Maybe you have so many financial obligations that you can’t risk losing your current steady salary. Or maybe, you have so much on your plate that you’re unable to go through the process of changing jobs at the moment.

On the other hand, you feel that the longer you keep being exposed to the toxicity of your current workplace, the higher your chances of losing your marbles and ending up locked in a mental asylum.

Since your toxic workplace is negatively affecting you and you don’t have the luxury to ditch it, your next best course of action would be taking stock and implementing the following methods of dealing with it:

  1. Locate the source of the toxicity
  2. Set boundaries
  3. Focus on doing your job
  4. Be the change
  5. Seek out positivity
  6. Find support
  7. Take care of your health

1. Locate the source of the toxicity

The first step to dealing with the toxicity of your workplace is identifying its source.

Is it your boss? Your manager? A colleague? The company’s culture or values?

Once you’re pretty clear on the cause of the issue, it’ll be much easier to come up with a plan and develop a strategy to deal with it.

2. Set boundaries

If the problem does stem from a specific person, you might need to figure out ways to set some boundaries with them.

First, you can attempt to have a private conversation to inform them in a kind manner that their behavior is negatively affecting your job and well-being.

If they don’t seem to care, you could try to actively limit the daily interactions you have with them as much as possible.

Moreover, you could ask for help from a supervisor you believe might understand or even the HR department of your company.

Lastly, make sure that you also establish rules for yourself, such as not answering work calls or checking work email outside of work hours.

Establishing boundaries won’t improve the toxic work environment per se, but it can alleviate its negative influence by significantly increasing the distance between yourself and its source.

3. Focus on doing your job

Given that you are working in a toxic workplace, keeping yourself focused on the tasks at hand isn’t going to be easy.

However, just concentrating on doing your job and completing your assigned duties will help you pull your attention away from all the negativity you’re feeling toward your workplace.

Investing your resources in your work rather than engaging with toxicity as your other colleagues, will boost your productivity and increase your chances of being promoted to a better position in a healthier work environment.

4. Be the change

One of the best ways to deal with your toxic workplace is to act in a way that’s in accordance with the improvements you’d like to take place.

For instance, if a coworker keeps disrespecting you, instead of disrespecting them back, try to be friendly toward them.

Likewise, if your boss keeps yelling at you for no reason, instead of talking back and taking it personally, acknowledge their frustration and go about your job.

In case of gossip, just refuse to become part of it.

If you happen to become involved anyway, try to steer away from the discussion by changing the topic or just leaving. That’ll signify that you’re there to work and not take part in toxic behaviors.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

– Mahatma Gandhi

5. Seek out positivity

Despite how toxic your work environment is, it’s impossible to be completely devoid of people with positive mindsets.

Your goal is to locate and stick around such people.

Just start exchanging a few words with coworkers, supervisors, or managers you’ve never had the chance to get to know till now until you discover one or two that seem to have a pleasant vibe and a more optimistic outlook toward life.

Socializing with such people while at work could help you “balance out” the overall negativity you experience and build a more positive workplace atmosphere.

6. Find support

Trying to cope with your toxic work environment can be isolating.

However, chances are that you’re not the only employee in the workplace having this kind of negative experience.

Attempt to locate coworkers who might be going through issues similar to yours and share with them your frustrations, exchange views and opinions, and try to come up with solutions together.

Having this kind of support will help you feel less alone and much more equipped and motivated to deal with the situation.

7. Take care of your health

The constant stress of working in a toxic environment can take a huge toll on your overall well-being.

To counter that, make sure that you actively take care of both your mental and physical health.

Start by taking small breaks throughout your shift. Spend time outside during your lunch break to catch some fresh air.

During your downtime, try your best to disengage and recharge from the pressure of your toxic job by doing things that bring joy to your life, such as:

  • hanging out with loved ones
  • watching funny movies
  • going for a drink
  • pursuing hobbies
  • taking a relaxing bath
  • going for a massage
  • etc

Also, I’d strongly suggest that you start regularly working out, practicing mindfulness, and spending as much time as possible in nature.

Conclusion

I truly hope that the information I shared with you throughout this article will help you turn your toxic work environment much more tolerable.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the best and fastest way to deal with a toxic environment once and for all is finding another better employer.

If you found this article helpful, share it with anyone you might know who needs help dealing with their toxic workplace.

 

Do you have any questions or require further help?

Leave a comment right below or contact me right here, and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

All the best, and stay safe,

Harry, Founder & Creative Director at dearboss-iquit.com

Written by:

Harry is the founder and creative director of Dear Boss I Quit. His mission is to inspire and help as many people as possible escape the 9-5 grind forever by building a passive income online just like he accomplished a few years back.

You can read more about Harry’s story right here.

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