How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

Sometimes work environment might not be the most pleasant place to be, and that’s okay. Because in their day-to-day life, people go through millions of stressful events, and they might reflect their moods to the people around them. In the end, all jobs have some level of stress. However, a toxic work environment is something enterally different. It creeps up on you, and what seems to be a minor frustration can develop into poisonous factors.

A toxic work environment increases stress while affecting your overall mental health and wellness. In fact, according to the studies, a toxic environment tends to contribute to increased depression, substance abuse and various health issues. And let’s not forget the inevitable part of a toxic environment. This unsuccessful work-life balance eventually affects everyone around you because you feel trapped in your job. If you ever feel like bursting into tears at work more often than you would like it to be, that’s your warning sign. This article will explore how to deal with a toxic environment and not let it consume your mental health.

Common Signs of Toxic Environment

Before we get into what we can do in the face of a toxic work environment, we need to understand the signs to comprehend better what we are dealing with. Here are some of the most common tell tales of a toxic environment.

  • Feeling burned out and ill.
  • Little to no socializing and enthusiasm around the work environment.
  • High turnover rates.
  • Grouping and alienating others through constant gossip.
  • Narcissistic leadership expects everyone to perform perfectly while they do the minimum.
  • Fear-based leadership.
  • No recognition and praise for excellent work.
  • Clear signs of favouritism toward specific employees.
  • Dissatisfied customers.
  • High level of stress and mental health problems.
  • Boundaries are not respected.
  • Micro-management is company culture.

Best Ways to Handle Toxic WorkPlace

Don’t Bring Work Issues to Your Home

Let’s start by establishing a vital difference. It’s different from venting about your work occasionally than making it a centrepiece of your conversations. Try to monitor the number of times you are talking about your job. Make sure to assess the environment you are in. Ask yourself, is this an appropriate time to talk about it? If you find yourself venting enough that the people around you get bored, remind yourself that the situation you are dwelling in is out of your control.

Connect with Positive Co-Workers

It may seem like everyone you work with is poisonous in some way. However, we bet there are probably at least a few other individuals who share your sentiments. Try to locate someone who at least remotely feels the same way as you. This way, you’ll be one step closer to building yourself a support system at work. Try to avoid cheesy communication approaches such as gossiping. That way, you’d be contributing to the toxic environment while also risking pushing away the co-worker you want to connect with. If they are on the same page, lean on each other and create a drama-free space at work.

Practice How to Confront

You may sometimes feel your stress levels have reached a tipping point. In those situations, it’s best to address the cause of your stress. First, reach out to someone who understands what you are going through and get a second opinion on how you plan to address it. Plan ahead of the points you want to highlight while talking to your boss. While you confront, you need to check a couple of things. First, your tone is everything. Try to sound calm yet grounded and confident. Avoid blaming directly. While forming your sentences, try to follow Nonviolent communication rules. You might be wondering what that is. Let me explain. First, rather than you sentence form I sentences. Start with stating your observation. Later voice how you feel. Secondly, pinpoint your need and request action.

Find Ways to Relieve Stress Outside of Work

Protecting your mental health above everything else in toxic work environments is vital. The key to achieving that is finding alternative ways to release stress outside of work. If leaving your job is not an option, direct your frustration and energy into something you can control. What you need to take into consideration is that you should feel fulfilled while engaging in that activity. The goal of this is that you need to make sure there is something you’ll look forward to in those challenging times.

If Nothing Works, Plan Your Exit Strategy

This is your friendly reminder that if things are heated enough that you don’t know what else to do, leave. However, before you do that, it’s best to have an exit plan—document everything from e-mails to comments and phone calls. Note them somewhere you can professionally show them. If you need to file a report, you should have enough evidence to back your claims. While you wait, search for new job opportunities. If it’s too urgent, find a freelance or bridge job that will financially help you while you find somewhere better to work.


Toxic environments are hard to handle without the knowledge of proper coping strategies. Hope these tips will help anyone that feels stuck in an environment where it drains their life energy. Remember, you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.


If you want to learn more ways to take care of your mental health, here is an article on some of the key things you can do.