When distressing things happen at work – bullying, work overload, being in a toxic workplace, redundancy – they can knock you right off balance. Here’s how you can start to recover and move on from their negative impact.

Take responsibility

Although you may not be able directly to change what’s happening, you can take charge of your response to it.  If you sink into a victim mentality, you end up blaming others and looking for someone to rescue you.

When you take charge, you recover your power to influence and manage your own life, and you’re in a better position to move on effectively, on your own terms.

Tune in to your health

Signs that things are getting out of hand include chronic tiredness, being susceptible to every virus doing the rounds, anxiety, depression and general lack of energy. Take notice of any health issues that have started recently, or that are made worse by your work situation. Visit your GP if you need to.

Learn to centre your energy

Notice your body. Take some deep breaths, right down into your abdomen.

Now stand or sit in balance, feet shoulder width apart, shoulders balanced and neck straight.  Scan your body and notice any points of tension.  Consciously relax them.

Take another breath. Remind yourself of what matters to you and aim to keep it more in focus. Do this as often as you can, and especially when you feel stressed.[i]

Get clear about what you want to be different

Answer these three questions:

If your working life was as good as you’d like, what would be different? What one thing would make the most difference?  How can you bring that into your working life?

Make a plan

Now you know what you want to be different, create a plan for bringing about the change you want. Do you need to talk to HR? Have a conversation with your boss? Negotiate a more manageable workload? Look for a new job?

Take your top two or three actions, set yourself a time to do them, and go for it.

Get help

As you decide to move on from what’s distressing you, it will help to find someone to cheer you along.  A coach, a mentor, a good friend or colleague who can see the bigger picture, all will be valuable.

Getting specific help with your transition back to the working life you want will help prevent your dumping the same stories on your family day after day, preventing the damage that can result from taking problems home.

Find a mantra or saying that will keep you on track.

For example: ‘I am worthy of as much respect as everyone else. I respect myself’. Or (from a client) ‘It’s only a thought and I can change it’. Make it something that really chimes for you.

[i] With thanks to Mark Walsh of Integration Training


Get more help from Ann’s book, “Recover Your Balance – how to bounce back from bad times at work”. Available on Amazon.co.uk., Amazon.com and on Amazon Kindle.