Most people would agree that the workplace may sometimes pose as a toxic environment. Whether it’s due to office politics, drama with coworkers, or stress from the job itself, it’s easy for negative energy to build up and affect our mental and emotional health.
For empaths, this can be especially difficult, as they are highly sensitive to the emotions of others and can easily become overwhelmed in a hostile work setting. Empaths and toxic workplace environments require some adjustment.
According to psychologist Dr. Judith Orloff, there are three types of empaths: those who feel the emotions of others (emotional empaths), those who sense the physical sensations of others (physical empaths), and those who are able to intuitively understand the thoughts and motivations of others (mental empaths).
Empaths are often drawn to helping professions, such as teaching, nursing, and social work, as they have a strong desire to make a difference in the world. However, this can also mean that they are more likely to encounter difficult situations and people in their line of work.
If you’re an empath and a toxic workplace is taking a toll on your health, be aware of the dangers you face and take steps to protect yourself. Here are eight dangers you need to watch out for.
1. You constantly feel drained.
Because empaths absorb the emotions of those around them, they can quickly become exhausted from all the negative energy in a toxic workplace.
If you find yourself feeling tired all the time, even after a full night’s sleep, it can be a sign that you take on too much from your environment.
Sometimes, empaths and toxic workplaces end in illness. You might find yourself getting sick more often than usual.
Empaths are also highly sensitive to environmental toxins, so if you’re constantly being exposed to negative energy, it can take a toll on your physical health as well.
So, how do empaths manage emotions?
To protect yourself, create boundaries. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and distance yourself from the situation. This might mean leaving the office for a walk outside or even taking a mental health day to recharge.
2. You have trouble concentrating.
Empaths in a toxic workplace find it hard to focus on their work. The constant barrage of negative energy can make it difficult to think straight, and you may find yourself making more mistakes than usual.
If you’re usually a high performer at work but have been struggling lately, it might be due to a toxic environment.
During times of stress, empaths may start having trouble with their memory. If you can’t seem to remember things like you used to, it could be a sign that you’re overwhelmed and need to take a break.
3. You’re always anxious or stressed.
As an empath, you are constantly absorbing the emotions of those around you. In a toxic workplace, this can be incredibly draining.
You may find yourself feeling anxious or stressed all the time, without knowing why. This can lead to burnout, both emotionally and physically. You need to create boundaries in a toxic workplace.
Set limits on how much you’re willing to take on, both at work and in your personal life. Take time for yourself every day to recharge, whether that means reading, spending time in nature, or listening to music.
When you take care of yourself, you’ll be better able to handle the challenges of a toxic workplace.
4. You’re always putting others first.
It’s in your nature to be caring and compassionate, and you often go out of your way to help others. However, this can be a problem in the workplace. In a toxic workplace, some people will take advantage of your kindness and use it to their own benefit.
If you’re not careful, you can end up being used and manipulated by colleagues who don’t have your best interest at heart.
Empaths should be aware of this danger so that they can protect themselves. Remember, it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes.
In fact, it’s essential for your well-being. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or taken advantage of at work, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are people who can support you and help you create a healthy workplace environment.
5. You have a hard time saying “no.”
You might feel like you have to please everyone at work, even if it means sacrificing your own needs. Or, you might be afraid of being seen as “difficult” or “uncooperative.”
However, it’s crucial to understand that you can’t always say “yes.” There will be times when you need to set boundaries, both for your own well-being and for the sake of the task at hand.
Otherwise, you risk burnout or resentment. It’s okay to be assertive and to put your needs first. Your coworkers will respect you for it, and you’ll be able to give your best to the projects that truly matter to you.
6. You’re constantly second-guessing yourself.
If you’re an empath, the workplace can be a tough environment. You might find yourself in a job that’s totally wrong for you, surrounded by people who drain your energy. Or you might be in a good job, but constantly second-guessing yourself.
Second-guessing yourself is a danger for empaths in the workplace. It’s easy to doubt your instincts and ability to do your job when you’re constantly taking in other people’s emotions. The key is to learn to trust yourself.
When you know your own worth and value, it becomes easier to silence the second-guessing voice in your head. When you trust your gut, you’ll be better able to navigate the challenges of the workplace—and find success as an empath.
7. You’re always taking on too much.
As an empath, chances are you’ve been told at some point that you’re “too sensitive” or “too emotional.” Maybe you’ve even been told that you’re “too much” for one person to handle. And unfortunately, these well-meaning but ultimately harmful comments can follow you into the workplace.
In a toxic work environment, empaths often find themselves taking on more than their fair share of emotional labor. Whether it’s constantly reassuring a stressed-out coworker or shouldering the burden of a difficult project, empaths are often the ones who end up going above and beyond.
And while it’s important to be supportive of your coworkers, always remember that you have limits too. It’s okay to say no, and it’s okay to put your own needs first. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
8. You’re not taking care of yourself.
It’s easy for empaths to get lost in taking care of others and forget to take care of themselves. In the workplace, this can be especially dangerous because empaths are often drawn to jobs that involve caring for others.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others, it’s important to make sure that you’re also taking care of yourself.
Otherwise, you risk burning out and becoming overwhelmed by the demands of your job. For empath management, it’s better to set boundaries and make self-care a priority.
This may mean saying no to extra assignments or taking breaks during the day to refuel. Whatever it looks like for you, remember that your well-being should always come first.
Tips to Survive for Empaths in a Toxic Workplace
Some of the most effective tips to survive the situation when you think ‘being an empath is killing me’ include:
Understand your triggers
Empaths are highly sensitive people, and that means they’re often more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed by their environment. If you’re an empath, it’s essential to understand what causes you to feel overwhelmed and what empaths should avoid are those situations or take steps to mitigate the effects.
Empaths often have a hard time saying no, but it’s crucial to set boundaries in order to protect your energy. When you know your limits, you can more easily avoid situations that will deplete your energy.
It’s important to take breaks throughout the day, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Taking a few minutes to yourself can help you reset and recharge so you can better handle the rest of your day.
Connect with nature
Spending time in nature can be incredibly grounding for empaths. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a walk outside or simply spend some time surrounded by plants and trees.
Meditation can be a great way to center yourself and find calm amidst the chaos. If you’re new to meditation, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started.
Empaths often put the needs of others before their own, but it’s vital to practice self-care. Make sure to schedule time for yourself to do things that make you happy and help you relax.
Find a supportive community
It can be helpful to find others who understand what it’s like to be an empath. There are many online and offline communities that offer support and guidance for empaths.
Seek professional help
A therapist or counselor can provide you with tools and resources to help you better understand and manage your empathy.
Empaths and toxic workplace situations don’t always mix well. So, be aware of the dangers you may face in the workplace. From emotional labor to being surrounded by negativity, there are many challenges that come with being an empath.
However, there are also many ways to overcome these challenges. By understanding your triggers, setting boundaries, and taking care of yourself, you can more easily navigate the workplace as an empath.
Do you have any tips to share for how to survive in the workplace as an empath? Let us know in the comments below!
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Founder of Eggcellentwork.com. With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.