A toxic work environment is typically characterized by dysfunction and drama. In a toxic work environment, employees find it challenging to both work and progress in their careers, thanks to the hostile atmosphere created by a combination of company culture, supervisors, and coworkers.
There are many signs that your work environment is toxic. These include, but are not limited to:
In short, a toxic work environment is one in which communication is unclear or negative, relationships between coworkers and supervisors are unhealthy, and it isn’t easy to get your work done, be productive, and grow in your career.
How Can A Toxic Work Environment Impact Mental Health?
A toxic work environment leads to a constant fight or flight response in which your brain produces large amounts of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone), testosterone, and norepinephrine. This fight or flight response causes high stress levels, which can substantially affect mental and physical health.
Studies show that internal and external workplace factors can contribute to depression, impede productivity, judgment, and career prospects. Other effects of a toxic work environment on mental health are rumination, insomnia, physical pain and discomfort, a change in appetite (eating too much or too little), a sense of dread, feeling drained or exhausted, problems with memory, intolerance, and agitation. A toxic work environment is no minor contributor to issues with mental and physical health.
As with many mental health problems, counseling can be extremely beneficial. Counseling that addresses coping with a toxic work environment often focuses on healthy ways to manage stress. A counselor is also likely to help you evaluate whether it’s worth it to stay at your current place of work or whether it may be time to move on to something better.
How Can You Cope With A Toxic Work Environment?
One method of coping with a toxic work environment is to participate in counseling sessions. Still, plenty of methods don’t involve speaking with a mental health professional. If you’re not ready to speak to a therapist, that’s completely okay. There are still steps you can take to yourself from a toxic work environment, which are discussed below.
How Can Counseling Help You Cope With A Toxic Work Environment?
If you feel that you’ve reached a breaking point with your toxic work environment, speaking with a mental health professional is always a good idea. A certified counselor or therapist can help you work through the issues you’re facing. They can teach you methods of effective communication and conflict resolution that you can then use in the workplace. Plus, a counselor can introduce you to various healthy ways of managing stress and anxiety related to your toxic workplace. Best of all, you don’t even need to leave your home to speak to a mental health professional. BetterHelp is an affordable and online counseling platform where you can easily get the help you need, from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Take a look below at some reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from people who have experienced toxic work environments.
“I am so thankful I found Vanessa through BetterHelp. She helped me tremendously work through crippling stress and anxiety pertaining to my toxic work environment as well as family troubles that had never been dealt with for years. I can’t say enough good things about how she helped me feel more in control of my mental Health and will always be thankful for the tools she instilled in me. Very responsive and a great listener.”
“Nila has been amazing! She is so understanding, kind and takes note of so many details. I was navigating leaving a toxic work environment and changing careers, and she sent me messages on certain dates (countdown to last day, last week, etc.) with affirmations and other information that applied to me, always helping me to look ahead to the future without dwelling on the past. Her presence is comforting in turbulent times. She never judges or makes assumptions, and if you don't want to go into too much detail about something with her, you don't have to! I would recommend Nila to anyone, especially young women and those experiencing work-related issues like myself.”
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The actions taken by BetterHelp and Teladoc Health are also aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goals Three and Eight. Goal Three ensures healthy lives and promotes well-being for all, while Goal Eight focuses on promoting productive employment and decent work for all.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A toxic work environment can have a multitude of negative effects on your mental health. It can increase your stress levels and contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. A toxic work environment can also affect your sleep, eating habits, energy levels, and overall mood, even when you’re not at work.
While a toxic work environment is not the only factor that develops depression, it can play a huge role. The stress of a toxic work environment, plus lifestyle choices and other factors, can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Yes, a job can affect your mental health–both positively and negatively. If you work in a positive, healthy environment, you’re likely to be happier and more motivated to reach your full potential. However, work in a toxic environment. The stress that comes along with it can negatively affect your mental health overall, potentially leading to issues like insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
An unhealthy work environment is one in which there is constant dysfunction and drama. Employees that work in a toxic environment often find it difficult to succeed and move forward in their careers. An unhealthy work environment is any workplace where harassment, abuse, or discrimination takes place. Bullying, unclear roles, and an overall negative atmosphere can all contribute to an unhealthy work environment as well.
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