It's no secret that the workplace can be a breeding ground for stress and anxiety. Long hours, demanding bosses, and high-pressure situations are all par for the course in many jobs. However, what happens when the workplace becomes truly toxic? Toxic workplaces can have a serious impact on employees' mental health. According to the United States surgeon general Vivek Murthy, toxic workplaces can damage employees’ health. In a recent speech, Murthy spoke about how employers need to do more to create supportive work environments and protect their employees' mental health. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to workplace mistreatment is associated with an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Toxic workplaces can also lead to physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and sleep disturbances.
What Makes a Workplace Toxic?
There are many factors that can contribute to making a workplace toxic. A hostile work environment characterized by bullying, harassment, and discrimination can take a toll on employees' mental health. But even workplaces that lack overt hostility can still be damaging to workers' psyches. A lack of support from management, unrealistic job expectations, and a feeling of being undervalued can all lead to immense amounts of stress and anxiety.
What Can You Do If You Find Yourself in a Toxic Work Environment?
A toxic work environment can take a toll on your mental and physical health. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you're constantly being put down, belittled, or otherwise made to feel unwelcome, it's important to take action. Here are a few things you can do to improve the situation.
1. Talk to your boss. It's possible that your boss is unaware of the problem. Schedule a meeting and explain how you're feeling. Be specific about the behaviors that are causing you distress. If your boss is part of the issue then consider seeking the help of someone else.
2. Talk to HR. If talking to your boss doesn't help, or if you don't feel comfortable doing so, your next step should be to talk to HR. They will be able to investigate the situation and take appropriate action.
3. Find a support system. If you're struggling to cope with the situation on your own, reach out to friends or family members for support. Talking about how you're feeling can help you process what's happening and make it easier to deal with. Additionally, there are many online support groups available for people in difficult situations at work; searching for one that fits your needs can provide some much-needed guidance and reassurance.
4. Take care of yourself. It's important to remember that you deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of the situation at work. Make sure to schedule time for activities that make you happy and help you relax. Exercising, spending time in nature, and journaling are all great ways to reduce stress levels and boost your mood. Toxic work environments can be draining, but it's important to remember that you have options. Talk to someone about what's going on and take steps to improve the situation; most importantly, don't forget to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.
A toxic workplace can have a serious impact on your well-being, but there are things you can do to cope with the situation. If however, you feel that you've reached the point where you need to consider other options, Evolution to Revolution Consulting can help. From getting your confidence levels back on track to helping you in your career journey, you don't have to do this alone.