Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't Let Your Job Get Toxic

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to do all the right things at work, a job may feel as if it's hurting you more than helping you. Maybe the job is a bad fit, maybe volatility in your industry gives you anxiety about the future, or maybe a salary cut is making too many of your purchases stress-inducing.

If you find yourself in a similar position, you have to assess whether your work situation is toxic or revivable. If you decide your job is toxic, take control and formulate an exit plan. It's simply not worth staying in a situation that can negatively impact your health, relationships, and peace of mind.

If you decide to create some changes in your job, you can take the following proactive self-care measures to protect your well-being as you focus on the challenges ahead.

Speak up. Talk with your boss (if he or she is not the problem) and engage in a solutions-oriented dialogue. You may not be able to change the company, but you might be able to make your department a much more pleasant place to work.

Move. Fifteen minutes of yoga or Pilates will reduce stress, increase focus and mental clarity, and improve overall well-being.

Relax. Massage, meditation and positive visualization will reduce stress, improve circulation, remove toxins from the body, and help you sleep.

Blow the 5:30 whistle. Don't stay in a toxic workplace any longer than absolutely necessary, and don't take your toxic job home with you. When 5:30 p.m. rolls around, leave.

Take a break. It's actually smart to take a "mental health day" every now and then. Don't feel guilty for taking a day off to get your life back in balance.

Get fueled. Proper nutrition is one of your best defenses. Keeping your body fortified helps to boost energy, prevent illness, and minimize the harmful effects of stress.

Go green. Living plants enhance the air quality of indoor environments, and also have been shown to induce positive energy.

Breathe. Recycled air in office buildings and enclosed work areas can be very unhealthy. If you have the option of opening windows, let the fresh air in! Otherwise, use air purifiers and natural aromatherapies to lift spirits and freshen the air.

Color your world. Finally, don't underestimate the psychological impact of color. Surround yourself with greens and blues to create a sense of tranquility.

In fact, putting some of these tips into practice may change how you perceive your job and its challenges. It's all about perspective.

The important thing is to give yourself permission to seek a healthy working environment where you can thrive instead of just survive.


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