Experiencing adversity at work is unfortunately quite common. Your coworkers or manager may create a toxic environment, you may face discrimination, or the company may be going through difficult changes like layoffs or restructuring. These situations can leave you feeling stressed, demotivated and wanting to quit. However, there are ways to overcome adversity so you can thrive at work. Here are some tips:
Keep Things in Perspective
When faced with adversity, it’s easy to catastrophize and assume the worst. Try to keep things in perspective – this is one job at one company, not your entire career. Remind yourself that you have talents, skills and value as an employee. If you need to, take a mental step back to get some distance from the problem.
Focus on What You Can Control
In difficult work situations, it’s tempting to obsess over things outside your control, like other people’s actions. This is wasted mental energy. Instead, focus on what you can control: your own actions, attitude and responses. Reframe challenges as opportunities for growth. Look for aspects of the problem you can directly influence.
Lean on Your Support System
Turn to mentors, friends and loved ones for moral support. Venting your frustrations can be cathartic. Your support system can help validate your feelings and give an outside perspective. They can also provide advice and boost your confidence and resilience.
Take Care of Yourself
Practice self-care to avoid burnout. Make time for healthy habits like exercise, nutritious meals and restful sleep. Build in small breaks during the workday. Unplug after hours and on weekends. Taking care of your physical and mental health enables you to better handle challenges.
Develop Coping Strategies
Have some go-to coping methods ready to use when adversity strikes. For example, take a quick walk to clear your head, listen to upbeat music, practice deep breathing or journal about your feelings. Identify strategies that help you stay grounded.
Keep Communication Open
Be proactive about keeping lines of communication open, especially with your manager. Discuss any issues early and brainstorm solutions together. Frame concerns objectively and non-accusatorily. Listen earnestly. When communication breaks down, problems fester.
Keep a paper trail of any concerning interactions, issues or conflicts. Specific documentation like dates, times, who was present and exact words said can help support your case if problems escalate. Documentation also helps you remember details accurately.
Don’t Internalize It
When facing adversity that involves other people like bullying or discrimination, avoid internalizing it. Their actions are a reflection of them, not you. Remind yourself of your positive qualities and that you cannot control others’ behaviors. Don’t blame yourself.
Pick Your Battles
Not every difficult situation requires an all-out battle. Some problems naturally resolve or aren’t worth fighting over. Conserve your energy and let minor slights roll off your back. Save your efforts for major issues that seriously impact you and warrant HR intervention.
If a conflict with a boss or coworker festers, suggest mediation. A neutral third-party mediator can facilitate a discussion to resolve disputes in a healthy, productive way. Both parties must agree to mediation for it to work.
Become a Problem Solver
Rather than just venting about adversity, shift your mindset to focus on solutions. What constructive actions could improve or resolve the situation? What have you learned that you can apply to future challenges? Adopting a problem-solving attitude empowers you.
Use Adversity to Grow
Reframe adversity as an opportunity for personal growth. How can you learn from this experience? Perhaps you’ll discover new coping mechanisms, communication strategies or leadership skills. Allow yourself to be challenged and shaped into a better, wiser employee.
While dealing with adversity is never fun, maintaining the right attitude and using healthy coping strategies allows you to not just survive but even thrive at a difficult job. With time and perseverance, you can overcome many adversities at work. Don’t give up!