Workplace bullying and your emotional health

Read more about getting support if you are bullied at work

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.  It’s entirely understandable that you may not feel comfortable enough to find anyone within the workplace that you can confide in, especially if things are tense and difficult at work and you are having to face this every day.

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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.

So what can you do to take control of your own emotional wellbeing and help you through these difficulties?

  • 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. See the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to find a counsellor in your area
  • Check your insurance documents – some household insurance policies include a counselling helpline so this might be something you could look into.
  • Join a bullying at work suppport forum where you can find others that are going through something similar. We have a forum dedicated to workplace bullying and it can be comforting to know that there are others out there going through something similar in a safe environment.  You can share experiences and tips on what might have worked for you. 
  • Take control and get some legal advice on bullying at work from ACAS (Advisory Concilliation and Arbitration Service).  They are there to give advice to both employees and employers.  It’s important to find out exactly where you stand and what rights you have as this can be really empowering.
  • Speak to a support service where you can talk your situation through with a trained support worker. Sometimes just a listening ear can help – you could call our free confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222 or chat to us live online or there is also the Samaritans 
  • 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 are strong enough to fight this and are going to make a stand.
  • 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”.  We know that stress can affect blood pressure so it’s always worthwhile arranging regular checkups with your GP to make sure you are staying healthy.  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 can be a great outlet for releasing stress and anxiety so perhaps you could do some local research at your library, council or local health club to see if there is anything that you might like to try.  Finding outlets can be key in managing stress – it doesn’t have to be anything high impact.  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 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.

Family Lives are always here to support you so if you ever feel in need of a listening ear you can talk things through over the phone with a trained support worker in confidence, call us on 0808 800 2222 or email us at

After being a target of bullying Neil Moon has become an avid campaigner of anti bullying, workplace stress and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues, please see his video below describing his experiences.

If you would like Neil Moon from the video above to talk to your organisation please contact him on Alternatively, if you would like to show support for their campaign please follow Neil on twitter @work_nm.


This page was updated in April 2019



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