How To Deal With A Toxic Work Environment When You Really Need The Job.

Author: Lynda Benigno

Approximately one-third of human life is spent working, one-fifth of American workers report working in a hostile or threatening environment. Workplace incivility is defined as the accumulation of thoughtless actions that leave employees feeling disrespected, intentionally ignored, undermined by colleagues or belittled by insensitive managers. A study in 2018 looked at the correlation between incivility in the workplace and symptoms of insomnia; findings suggested workplace incivility led to negative workplace rumination that takes a toll of sleep quality. Poor sleep affects your body's physical and psychological well being. Those that struggle with sleep problems and high-stress levels are also at higher risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, difficulty managing anger, and a shortened life span. There is this idea that a bad job is better than no job; however, studies show those who went from unemployment to a poor quality job had higher biological indicators of stress than those who remained unemployed.

Employers set the tone for the work environment, deciding what is valued and tolerated in terms of a code of conduct. There are some red flags to look for when trying to determine whether your workplace is toxic.

* You are overworked leading to burnout and feelings of anger toward your employer.

* You experience workplace dread: Feelings of dread and stress that are present despite being home or engaging in personal time.

* You have a toxic manager: Displays anger or resorts to issuing threats, humiliating employees, intimidation, verbal abuse, or undermining an employees ability to accomplish his or her work.

*Poor communication: There is no communication at all, poor communication between employees and supervisors, withholding information or giving misleading information.

*Policies and Procedures are inconsistent: Company rules are implemented for one group while everyone else does what they please. This includes management not being held to the same ethical and behavioral standard as inferiors or playing favorites.

You may not have much control over your work environment, but you do have control over how you cope. If speaking with management gets you nowhere, practicing psychological detachment will reduce the effects of working in a toxic environment. Psychological detachment involves avoidance of work-related thoughts, actions, and emotions during non-working hours. When coupled with relaxation this practice results in better sleep, less mental exhaustion and better overall health. You are making a conscious choice to shift your focus from work to something that brings you joy, leaving no room for negative work-place rumination.

Along with avoidance of work-related thoughts during non-work hours, you can try the following:

* Exercise

*Plan future events such as vacations

*Meditation

*Listen to music

*Engage in hobbies or volunteer work

- I highly recommend volunteer work, in a toxic work environment you may feel what you are doing is meaningless; helping others can give you a

sense of purpose and feel good boost.

The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any physical or mental condition. If you are struggling, please contact your healthcare provider, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Stepping Stone Community Services at 330-577-6656.

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