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Toxic Work Environment Threatens to Poison Worker's Homelife

DEAR ABBY: I need advice on how to enjoy my life and not allow the toxic environment of my job to overwhelm me. My job was nice when I started 12 years ago, and I enjoy helping people. I process payments for disabled people in a cubicle setting. However, my place of employment has become a backstabbing, uncaring, favoritism-oriented environment.

I am well-paid and have good health insurance, so I need to stay. But I am very sad each day going into work. It is affecting the way I interact with my children and my husband. Any ideas on how to get past the horrible day in the office so I can be at peace at home? -- DREADING IT

DEAR DREADING: I do have a few suggestions. When it's time to take your break, use it as an opportunity to escape the toxic environment. Put on headphones and listen to upbeat music, read a book or leave the office to eat lunch or have a snack. If possible, take a short walk or meditate and do breathing exercises to relax. Then, after work, before interacting with your children and your spouse, give yourself the "gift" of a 15- to 30-minute walk or jog, which may help you to draw a firm line of demarcation between your work life and your home life. And take your vacation time to get away and replenish your spirit.

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