How a Toxic Workplace Can Impact your Mental Health

Your job can account for a lot of time out of your day. On average adults spends more than 90,000 hours in their lifetime at work. If this isn’t tiring enough, factoring in the added stressors of working in a toxic environment can make the work week overwhelming. 
Every workplace will have difficult people, outdated policies and seemingly inept leaders so it can be difficult to determine whether your workplace has predictable issues or is actually a toxic work environment. Here are a few quick indicators that you may be working in a toxic, and unsafe, workplace. 

  • A lack of trust throughout the company
  • Policies are rarely enforced
  • Leaders gossip and lack communication skills 
  • Bullying and cliques are encouraged
  • You feel a sense of unease even you arrive at work
  • You can no longer identify with your sense of purpose for working there in the first place.

If you recognize any of the above as constants in your office, you’re likely in a toxic workspace and it could be negatively impacting your mental health. Some signs:

Dread.  If you’re in a toxic work environment, then you may often feel apprehensive about coming into the office. The thought of having to face the same people, bad attitudes and silence from leadership can make each day difficult.
Restlessness.   Another symptom is a sense of unease about what is happening around you. You may find yourself always walking on pins and needles trying to avoid setting off the next chain of petty emails or unwanted attention from the team bully. 
Discouragement.  The constant discomforts of a toxic workplace can lead to a lingering sense of discouragement. This looks like a lack of interest in sharing new ideas or uninterested in your work or department goals. 
Sickness. Sometimes these stressors from a toxic workplace can impact your physical health. This could include an increased likelihood of heart issues, raised blood pressure as well as lack of sleep or fatigue. 

Researchers have found that a toxic workplace has been connected to increased rates of depressions and anxiety. While you cannot easily change the culture of a workplace, you can do some simple things to help fight the toxicity. Some tips include setting boundaries, creating your own support system in and outside of your workplace, don’t skip your breaks or find a hobby. Each of these things will take time to develop or implement but they can go a long way to making a toxic workplace tolerable until you’re able to change it or get out. 

About Janee V. Henderson

Janee' V. Henderson is a licensed professional counselor, coach, and consultant. She is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and holds a license to service those located in Missouri, Texas, and New Jersey. Janee received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hampton University and a Master's in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology. Janee has certifications in Anger Management and Trauma-Informed Care.

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