Workplace bullying and your emotional health

Estimated read: 8 minutes 

Workplace bullying can have a devastating impact on emotional health and your own self-worth but it’s not always easy to know where you can go for some support and a listening ear.  

Key points: 

  • It may not be easy to talk about the harrassment you are suffering at work, but we do know that sharing how you are feeling and confiding in someone that you trust can help to avoid emotions bubbling over into your personal life
  • Take some time out to think about how you are really feeling – many people feel scared, stressed, anxious and low in confidence.  If you recognise any of these signs and feel it would help to take some time out from work then make an appointment to see your GP
  • Finding a hobby or an exercise that will help you to relax can also be another great strategy of trying to ensure that you stay calm and healthy. Exercise or being active can be a great outlet for releasing stress and anxiety
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Are you bottling up your feelings?

It may not be easy to talk about the harrassment you are suffering at work, but we do know that sharing how you are feeling and confiding in someone that you trust can help to avoid emotions bubbling over into your personal life. It is inevitable that at some point the bullying at work will impact on your life at home. Talking with your partner or family might not be easy because you have such close emotional ties but think about how you would feel if your felt your partner was keeping something from you and how you would want to support them.   

Your home will probably feel like your safe haven or sanctuary, and you might just want to shut the door and forget what is going on at work. However, if you don’t find an outlet it might mean that emotions are running high and you return home feeling a little more agitated and stressed than usual which can mean that the slightest little thing can result in tempers flaring and family life can start to deteriorate.

What can help?

  • A diary can be a great way of expressing how you are feeling and can also aid in ensuring you have a written account of what has been going on
  • Take some time out to think about how you are really feeling – many people feel scared, stressed, anxious and low in confidence. If you recognise any of these signs and feel it would help to take some time out from work then make an appointment to see your GP
  • Stress can have a devastating impact on emotional health and it might mean that taking a couple of weeks off work might help you to feel calmer
  • Don’t feel guilty or ashamed because you need some time out – workplace bullying is not acceptable and can have a debilitating effect on physical and emotional health. Ask your GP if there is any counselling you can access. 
  • Check your insurance documents – some household insurance policies include a counselling helpline so this might be something you could look into.
  • Think about your options – are things so stressful that you feel you have to leave for the sake of your health, or do you feel that you have the strength to fight this
  • Is it worth dipping your toe in the water and researching other job opportunities just to get a feel of what other jobs are out there.

Looking after yourself

These are all steps that you can take for yourself if you are being bullied at work. Some will be harder than others but it is crucial that you remind yourself how important it is for you to look after “you”. Listen to what your body is telling you and don’t ignore any signs of bullying that might be telling you that your body might be struggling.

Finding a hobby or an exercise that will help you to relax can also be another great strategy of trying to ensure that you stay calm and healthy. Exercise or being active can be a great outlet for releasing stress and anxiety. Here’s a few ideas that might help:

  • Going for a swim before or after work might help to calm the brain and put you in a good frame of mind
  • A walk in the countryside, park or to the beach can also be another wonderful tonic
  • Meditation can be a great way of encouraging the mind to switch off and relax
  • Getting out on your bike with the family
  • Tai Chi or yoga can also help to balance mind, body and soul
  • If you’re feeling more energetic perhaps you could try an exercise class or some martial arts

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to stay healthy and less stressed – there is plenty that you can do which involves no cost. You might not always feel like it but sometimes we do need to push ourselves to do things, the more you do it the more you will get used to it. In time you will probably miss your exercise and will realise what a great stress buster it has been for you.

Further resources

You may find it helpful to view our workplace bullying resources section for tips and advice. If you are experiencing any form of bullying, you can call our helpline on 0808 808 2222, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or talk to us online. You might also want to take a look at our bullying forum to see how others may have coped in similar situations. You can also get some advice from ACAS on workplace bullying.  

This page was updated in August 2021

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