We’ve talked about how to determine if your work environment is toxic. If you aren’t sure you can check that out here. Sadly, if you’ve been there for a while, you may be so accustomed to the high-stress and horrible treatment that you’ve lost sight that it really doesn’t have to be this way.
You know you’d never let your kids be treated like this at school. If your best friend was suffering from burn-out and stress related illness you’d advise her to figure out a way to get help.
Is it time to take your own advice? Health issues related to high stress levels are real. The long term detrimental effects aren’t worth it. Yes, you need a paycheck, but you also need and deserve to work in a place that doesn’t jeopardize your health and wellbeing.
Find out if it’s possible to stay.
You are in charge of your career. Being proactive is always going to serve you better than taking what comes, or feeling like you’re at the whim of someone else. Decide what changes are required for your work life to no longer harm your health. A client of mine recently made the decision to make a career change to relieve stress.
Is it about a shift in scheduling or work load? Would a department change remove you from the biggest stress factors? What are your non-negotiables? Be honest about what you need to stay on.
Ask for what you need.
This means setting up a time that’s appropriate. You’ll need to plan accordingly. Showing up to a staff meeting with your list of demands isn’t likely to help your cause. Use tact and diplomacy. The unprofessionalism of others doesn’t mean you need to mirror their actions. That’s surrendering to the drama; even if its valid ⎻ detach.
Let your manager know you’d like to continue to do good work, and your motivation for the meeting and requested changes is to help you have less work-related stress. The common goal is that you’ll be an even more valued employee if you can navigate the work demands more effectively.
Be honest about the feedback.
Were your concerns taken seriously? Were they met with an honest interest or shrugged off? Were promises or changes made that faded away after a couple of weeks? If you don’t feel respected or if it’s evident that management isn’t going to follow through, then it may be time to plan your exit.
But first, mindful self-care.
Yes, I know I’m always talking about this, but it’s because it’s so important. Dealing with changes at work, or the potential to find a new job require you to be at your best.
- Eat well.
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise or take time for an activity that helps reduce your stress.
- Talk to a trusted friend when you need to vent.
Take charge of your life. Take your lunch break and leave your desk. Set a firm limit on how late you’ll check emails or if you’ll work over the weekend. Set your boundaries and honor them.
Make your decisions from a place of confidence, not fear.
Most of us can’t be out of work for very long. If finances permit, it might be best to quit and find other work on your terms. If this isn’t possible, take small steps to begin changing the dynamic.
Get your resume updated. Honor your boundaries at work and remind your manger about your non-negotiables if they begin to creep back in with unrealistic demands.
Take paid time off so you can look for work when you are not under the daily work day stress and expectations.
Ask for help.
Helping individuals and teams understand how to create a workplace that’s supportive is what I do. When you can take action with a new perspective big life changes aren’t just possible, they truly happen.
Don’t settle for a stress-filled life. You deserve better.