by Amy Morin, Contributor,
Going to a job you hate every single day can have a serious effect on your well-being. And that disdain is very likely to spill over into your personal life as well.
You might spend half of your Sundays dreading the arrival of Monday—which causes you to lose precious hours of your weekend. And your family can probably attest to your bad mood every time you arrive home from work.
If you’re not careful, a job you hate can quickly drain you of the mental strength you need to think, feel, and act your best. And that can wreak havoc on your work performance.
Yet, even in this tough situation, you can take steps to stay as mentally strong as possible.
1. Create clear boundaries.
Growing impatient with a co-worker who monopolizes your time, or dealing with someone who tries to take credit for your work, are a couple of signs that your boundaries may have been violated.
The thought of speaking up and saying things like, “I am not going to continue this conversation,” or “Actually, I’m the one that finished that report,” may be intimidating.
But you must set limits on the behaviors you don’t want to tolerate. Manage your emotions, speak up, and respond to issues in a productive manner.
2. Focus only on what you can control.
Is your boss a jerk? Does your company have ridiculous policies? These things are not likely to change any time soon. So don’t waste precious energy on things you can’t control.
Instead, focus on controlling how you respond to these things.
3. Only complain to people who can help.
A 2015 study found that when employees complained about someone to a colleague, their moods plummeted, and their engagement declined for two days. Rehashing a difficult experience with a co-worker will only make it stick in your mind even longer.
Although it might feel satisfying at the time, complaining to people who can’t do anything to fix a situation doesn’t solve the problem.
If you really need help dealing with someone, then go to a supervisor or HR. Speak with someone who can actually help address the issue if necessary.
4. Make a friend.
Remember, friendships in the office should be built on something you share outside of the office, rather than just basic talk about the job.
Make a close friend at work, and you’ll boost your workplace satisfaction by 25 percent. So don’t be afraid to get to know a co-worker on a deeper level.
Even if nothing else changes, at least you will have someone you can chat with in the hallways. This alone can make you feel better at your job.
5. Lunch breaks are important.
A 2018 study found that the best way to rejuvenate during a lunch break is to engage in mindfulness exercises. Individuals who practiced mindful meditation for a few minutes during lunch experienced higher levels of well-being at the end of the workday.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk or immediate work environment. Get away from that atmosphere, and do something that relaxes your mind and body. This will go a long way to help you get through the second half of your day.
6. Get plenty of exercise and sleep.
A person who is mistreated in the workplace is likely to mistreat his or her loved ones when at home.
According to a study conducted by the University of Central Florida, the best way to avoid taking out your frustrations on your family is to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Individuals who were physically active and who got the most sleep were less likely to mistreat their families after being mistreated by a difficult co-worker.
7. Establish an exit strategy.
A toxic work environment can wear down even the strongest of people over time. So create a clear exit plan that identifies when and how you’ll leave.
If you dislike your job, you need a light at the end of the tunnel. You may decide to stick it out for one more year to see if things get better, or you may need to stay until your financial situation gets caught up. In any case, don’t succumb to 40 miserable hours a week for life.
Be Strong and Stay Strong
Create an environment that builds mental strength. If your job is still wearing you down, then change it. Get a new job. Launch a new career.
One definition of strength is powering through anything—even toxic, unhealthy situations. But quitting your job isn’t necessarily a sign of weakness. It can be a sign of strength. This could be the key to developing the mental muscle you need to reach your greatest potential.