Trudging into a job you don’t like day after day can take a serious toll on your well-being. If you really hate your job, your disdain is likely to affect your personal life too.
Perhaps you spend Sundays dreading Monday–which causes you to lose precious minutes of your weekend. Or maybe you arrive home from work every day in a bad mood and it’s affecting your relationship with your family.
It’s no surprise that being at a job you hate can drain you of mental strength. But, you can take steps to stay as strong as you can even when you find yourself in tough circumstances.
1. Focus on the things you can control.
Although you might be tempted to perseverate on the fact that your boss is a jerk or that your company has ridiculous policies, don’t waste your precious energy on things you can’t control.
Focus on controlling how you respond to the people and the circumstances you find yourself in. Put your effort into managing your emotions, speaking up, and responding to issues in a productive manner.
2. Establish healthy boundaries.
If you’re growing resentful of a co-worker who monopolizes your time or you’re getting angry with someone who tries to take credit for your work, it’s a sign that your boundaries have been violated.
It’s uncomfortable to speak up and say things like, “I am not going to continue this conversation,” or “Actually, I’m the one that finished that report,” but it’s important to set limits on the behaviors you aren’t going to tolerate.
3. Only complain to people who can help.
Commiserating with your co-workers for a few minutes might feel good for a minute, but complaining to people who can’t do anything to fix the situation could do more harm than good.
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 causes it to stick in your mind even longer.
If you need help dealing with someone, go to a supervisor or HR. Talk to someone who can help address the issue if necessary.
4. Use your lunch break wisely.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Do something that relaxes your mind and your body and you’ll be better equipped to tackle the afternoon.
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.
Creating that buffer can prevent you from bringing workplace stress home with you.
5. Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
If you’re mistreated by your colleagues or your boss, research says you’re more likely to mistreat your loved ones when you arrive 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.
6. Find a friend.
Make a close friend at work and you’ll boost your workplace satisfaction by 25 percent. Even if nothing else changes, having a close friend you chat with in the hallways can help you feel better about your job.
Strike up conversation with the people around you. And don’t be afraid to share some personal information or ask questions to get to know people on a deeper level. Real friendship in the office can be built on common ground–something you share outside the office–rather than just similar complaints about the boss.
7. Establish an exit plan.
A toxic work environment will wear you down over time–no matter how strong you are. Create a clear exit plan that identifies when and how you’ll leave.
So if you dislike your job, you need a light at the end of the tunnel. Whether you decide you’ll look at other options once your student loans are paid off or you agree to stick with it for another year to see if you can transfer to another department, don’t resign yourself to 40 hours of misery each week for life.
Sometimes people think that strength is about powering through anything–even toxic, unhealthy situations. But, quitting your job isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s often a sign of strength.
It’s important to create an environment that is conducive to build mental strength. If, despite your best efforts, your job is wearing you down, change your environment. Getting a new job–or launching a new career–might be key to building the mental muscle you need to reach your greatest potential.
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