11 Tips For Staying Sane in a Toxic Work Environment

It is not an unknown fact that many people are stuck in jobs that they don't particularly love. For some, it gets even worse because their work environments are pretty much toxic. Whether it's a nasty boss, dramatic co-worker, or offensive company policies -- it is no fun!
02/18/2016 06:17 pm ET Updated Feb 18, 2017

It is not an unknown fact that many people are stuck in jobs that they don't particularly love. For some, it gets even worse because their work environments are pretty much toxic. Whether it's a nasty boss, dramatic co-worker, or offensive company policies -- it is no fun!

Quitting immediately isn't always an option so they have to find a way to stick it out. If this is you, and you are trying to make it last (at least for right now), then it is time you start being proactive about your work environment.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to not take things personally and realize the difference between things you can change and things you can't. Don't let all of the negativity of the environment or the people take you out. Reconnect with your bigger purpose and what you are working towards.

Don't let your toxic job win by giving into the negativity.

Because this is easier said than done, I have included these 11 tips to help you protect your sanity when in a toxic environment.

1. Don't Take Work Home With You
Listen, if you have already identified your work environment as toxic, why would you welcome that energy into your home space? It's like opening the door and inviting a cloud of darkness into your happy space. Don't do it. Let that negative energy stay at work where it belongs. Set a rule for yourself that you don't talk about work in your home. Make sure you do NOT check your email after you get home for the evening. If your mind starts to think about work while at home, go distract yourself with something else. Protect your happy space!

2. Have Someone You Can Vent To (Outside of Your Office!)
Having a support system is so key, especially if you want to follow tip #1. This way you can vent and release your pent up frustration without bringing it home with you. Ask a friend who you trust if they would be willing to let you vent to them once in awhile. You can even let them know you don't need a response, but just a safe space to release pent up frustration.

3. Look For the Positives, ANY Positives
Are you at a point where you have lost all motivation and are basically checked out? Well this is the perfect time to try and figure out any positives to your situation and focus on those. Perhaps there are professional development opportunities that could help train you for a future position. Take advantage of those and think about how this job is just a stepping stone to something more. Find any positive or ways to make your job a positive and only focus on that.

4. Create An Exit Strategy
I don't care if you plan to stay at your job for two more years or two more months, you can still create your exit strategy for when the time comes. The reason this is important is because it will signal to your brain that this won't last forever. It will reassure it that you will move on to brighter pastures one day. Remind yourself of what you are working towards and what you are creating instead of what is happening right now.

5. Establish Boundaries
This one is a real challenge for most people. Learning to say no can be really difficult, but I promise it's worth it. Boundaries look like actually taking your lunch break. Not coming in early or staying late. Not working on the weekends or from home when you are off. Not responding to your boss at all hours of the day. Boundaries are not only healthy for you, but also for the people you work with. You can set an example for others and show them that it is okay to take care of yourself and let your job come second.

6. Create A Positive Work Space
Whether you have a cubicle or a corner office, you can make your work space exude positive energy if you want. Hang posters that are relaxing to you. Put up pictures of people you love where you are having a great time. Post positive quotes as your desktop background or around your space. Do what you need to do to remind yourself that your job is not everything and that you still have a happy life outside of it.

7. Stay True To Yourself
This might seem simple at first, but so many times I see people lose themselves in their jobs. They stop being authentic and sacrifice what matters to them in order to survive in the toxic environment. I know sometimes this feels easier than fighting it, but really you are just destroying yourself in the process. Don't let others make you change yourself, unless you genuinely want to change.

8. Find Outlets For Stress Relief During The Day
Because quitting tomorrow is probably not an option, try to find some way to give yourself a break once in awhile so that you can recharge. Go for lunch with a friend. Go for a walk around the building. Do a 5-minute meditation. Read a quote book. Whatever it is that helps you decompress, consider incorporating that into your work day even if only for a few minutes.

9. Focus on the Facts, Not the Stories
It can get really easy to get wrapped up in all of the stories being told or portrayed. It can be easy to make these stories mean something about you. I really encourage you to take a step back, breathe for a second, and focus on the facts. What is really happening here and what is not happening? Don't waste your energy trying to hypothesize why or why not something did or didn't happen. Focus on the facts, don't make it mean anything about you, and stay grounded in reality.

10. Don't Participate In Drama
I feel like this should be old news; however, for so many it appears they never left high school. I am sure you have those co-workers who bring you right back to that time of your life. Unfortunately you can't do anything to change them, but you can decide not to participate. Don't get caught up in gossip or the drama.

11. Clear Up Any Misunderstandings Right Away; Communicate!
Don't let problems fester. If something needs to be discussed then make sure to do it immediately and professionally. Don't let the problems grow or they might turn into something they never needed to. Communication is key just like in any relationship.

Do you know you are ready to leave your toxic job, but feel unsure of how to make that happen or what to do next? If so, make sure to schedule a possibility call with Kassy to create your master plan for creating a career you love!