6 Ways to Deal When Work Is Toxic and Quitting Isn’t an Option

Stressed Woman at Work

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
June 15, 2024 at 2:9PM UTC

Feeling stuck in a toxic workplace? You're not alone. Tons of women find themselves working for unbearable bosses or with colleagues who they can't stand — but quitting doesn't feel like an option at the moment. 

One anonymous FGB'er took to the Fairygodboss Community to share her similar story.

"I’ve been researching for months now on how to survive at my current job," she writes. "I’m allowing my unhappiness, frustration and anxiety to interfere with my personal life. It’s noticeable at work, too. I’m really trying all the self-help methods I have found. What have you done in a similar situation? BTW quitting isn’t an option and my attitude needs to change ASAP!"

Here's what other FGB'ers have to say about surviving a toxic work environment when quitting isn't in the cards.

1. Practice self-love.

First things first, respect yourself.
"First off, I would say that you need to love yourself and don't allow ANYONE to make you feel like you don't have value," says NicoDay. "Everyone has value. Find yours. Make a list of things you like about yourself and things that you're good at, and read it every morning. If you have toxic people in your life, cut them out. Life is too short for them."
Maybe you can't quit your job, but you can quit your toxic attitude!

2. Surround yourself with support.

Having supportive friends in your personal life and at work is important.
"Surround yourself with people who lift you up at work and at home," adds Anne Knox. "If you are constantly only hearing bad things, you will begin to believe it. This is despite deep down knowing it is a toxic environment."

3. Engage in self-care.

Self-care can totally turn your day around.
"Working in that environment can be extremely exhausting, which is why I would definitely recommend a wellness routine to strengthen yourself so you are better prepared to face the day's challenges," says C Tamburino. "I wake up about 30 minutes early every morning to do some light yoga and meditation. I find that, on the days where I am able to dedicate some time and space for myself, I am more successful in addressing the daily challenges of my job. Maybe you could give that a try."
Other FGB'ers agree.
"The best way to deal with a tough work environment and inner critic is to develop new routines that support your mental and physical wellbeing," adds Victoria Hepburn, ACC. "I encourage my clients to have daily practices to release stress and energize the spirit. Getting sleep, exercise you enjoy, meditation, journaling, laughing with friends/family, 'tech-free' times are helpful when done regularly."
There are tons of ways you can destress! You can even practice some self-care in the office.
"What helped me was refreshing my desk and creating a solid routine with built-in breaks throughout the day," says an anonymous FGB'er "If I was nervous about an upcoming meeting, I would treat myself to Starbucks and a walk around the building outside to clear my head beforehand. I hung a few pictures around my desk that would cheer me up (my husband and I on our favorite vacation, my dog, etc.) I also started attending a candlelight yoga class after work to destress."

4. Learn how to say no.

You need to develop some self-advocacy.
"Develop the habit of self-advocacy," says JennLishansky. "Would you allow others to treat your favorite people the way you're allowing bosses/supervisors/managers/leaders to treat you? Probably not."
Learning how to say no and set boundaries can significantly impact your wellbeing.
"Set appropriate boundaries for work and personal life," says Susan R. Morgan. "Saying no is OK most of the time. Or saying, 'Would it be appropriate for me to complete that by noon tomorrow vs. before I leave today?'"

5. Be present.

Try to stay in the here and now.
"I try very hard to 'be here now,'" Susan R. Morgan adds. "If I am at work then that is where I 'am,' and I try to push personal life aside.  If at home, I am truly at home and unplug from work."

6. Don't attach to your feelings.

Remember that you're only human! You're allowed to feel whatever it is that you're feeling, but don't let it consume you.
"Never let negativity drive you into the square of frustrations and anxiety and keep you there," says RoseG. "Remember that you are allowed to feel everything in the world, but the trick is not to stay in those feelings but to allow them just for a little. You need a little at times to wake you up and make you better or evolve. You are human, and it's a balance... But just remember not to stay in those feelings. Embrace them, and then move on to better things."

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.

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