5 Steps To Reclaim Your Sanity In A Toxic Work Environment
I need that report finished and on my desk by the end of today. No need to go home and have dinner with my family tonight, right?
The copier broke, again. I need to make copies. What do I do? Why is Bill here? I can't stand that guy. He's so loud and obnoxious!
Thoughts like these (and more) can pervade our minds at work. Yes, some of us love our jobs. But some of us despise them. And some of us feel a little bit of both.
Either way, there are always times when work becomes overwhelming and frustrating. The combination of having to get your own assignments done and having to collaborate, cooperate and simply coexist with co-workers all day is tough. Sometimes you feel frustrated beyond belief. But at the end of the day, still things still have to get done.
So how do you keep your sanity as you try to negotiate intense emotions with the practical demands of your job:? Follow these simple steps:
1. Believe in your intentions.
Once you get to work and get all cozy in your cubicle, take a moment to set your intention(s) for the day. How you would like your day to go? How do you want to feel? What do you want to happen?
Setting an intention can include everything from large, emotional intentions to the smallest and most concrete things. In any case, write your intentions down and know that you can achieve them with a little focus and dedication. Post the piece of paper where you can see it.
2. Realize that you don't need to be a meditation expert to meditate.
When you get worked up and frustrated, nothing will calm you down and center you more than breathing. You don't have to be some expert mediation guru to practice a simple breathing technique. You only have to remember to do it.
So next time you feel like you want to run and never come back or bite someone's head off, breathe. You can try this exercise: breathe in to the count of seven, hold your breath to the count of seven, and then release it to the count of seven. Repeat this until you have relaxed a bit and/or feel at least slightly more grounded again.
3. Remember your WHY.
You took this job and you are here for a reason. Maybe, you actually love this job but those around you make it miserable. Maybe this job is a steppingstone to another job. Circumstances aside, you had a "why" when you took this position, so focus on your "why" at all times. If your "why" isn't good enough, then ask yourself, what am I going to do about it?
4. Don't avoid the things that make you feel good.
When you are already stressed from work, it can feel easy to avoid eating well and exercising: preparing yourself a healthy dinner or getting yourself to the yoga studio after a long day at the office takes effort. But odds are if you are stressed or are having a bad day at work, it won't feel great to mindlessly eat sugar cookies. If you're hungry, have a bowl of fruit instead.
If you are having trouble building exercise into your routine, go for a walk on your lunch break or after work to release built up tension. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Say thank you — more often than not.
When you are spending tons of time in a negative work environment, feeling grateful doesn't always, if ever, feel like a top priority. However, when you find it in yourself to cultivate gratitude, it's basically impossible to be unhappy. Saying thank you throughout your day will not only improve other people's spirits but yours as well.
So, make some extra effort to show gratitude toward others in your workplace when they help you out. Another option to practice being more grateful is to write down three things you are grateful for at the end of every workday (you can even keep a small journal at your desk).