Workplace trauma can be difficult to recover from, and often it goes unnoticed. Toxic workplaces have very real effects on the mental health of their workers. Employees often cite layoffs and violence as traumatic events. These and workplace accidents that result in death or injury are some of the more severe circumstances.

More common workplace trauma might look like bullying, harassment, missing out on a promotion, or simply underpaid employees. When we lack security and fulfillment, our mental health suffers. Recognizing workplace trauma for the impactful event it is can be the first step toward recovery.

Recognizing Workplace Trauma

How a survivor processes their experience is completely unique to the traumatized person. Some people experience their trauma as depression or anxiety. Others might experience trauma and feel “off” and can’t identify the reason. These signals can also depend on the event itself. Identifying some of these flags can help you support a co-worker or yourself after a traumatic event:

  • Excessive absences without explanation
  • Increased sick days taken
  • Questionable decision-making
  • Communication breakdowns
  • Secretiveness and lying

The key to using these to identify workplace trauma is watching for oddities. A co-worker who used to perform well, arrives punctually who then starts arriving late and has an impacted performance may have experienced trauma. If someone frequently calls in sick on a normal basis, this is less likely to be workplace trauma.

Symptoms of Mental Trauma

Workplace trauma can present itself emotionally, mentally, and even physically. If left unchecked, trauma can lead to depression and anxiety. Some common symptoms of trauma are:

  • Feeling apathetic or numb
  • Disrupted sleep schedule
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Feeling under constant pressure to work
  • Stomach and digestive issues like ulcers
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Angry outbursts

How to Recover from Workplace Trauma

Once you’ve identified workplace trauma in you or another person, it’s important to process the trauma. This is the first step to recovering from it. During your recovery, here are some things to keep in mind:

Prioritize Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to regain control of your life after a traumatic event. This makes mental space for you to process your trauma. If you’re overworking, it’s imperative that you take some downtime.

Lunch is an important meal, so don’t skip it. Pack a healthy meal and eat it away from your phone and your laptop. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, too. Also, look at your sleep schedule. Your mind needs six to eight hours of restful sleep each night to function at full capacity.

Find Your Triggers

When we experience trauma, we often develop a fear response to anything resembling the traumatic event. If you can, it’s helpful to analyze the root cause of your trauma. This information is extremely helpful when identifying your triggers. The next steps in finding your triggers are:

  • Acknowledge any physical responses you might be having. Observe if you’re breathing heavily or if you have an elevated heart rate.
  • Think backward through your day. Can you remember when the symptoms started? What happened before, during, and after symptoms started showing?

You’ll need to repeat this process. This can be tedious, but it’s important work. When you know your triggers, you can gain better control over your fear response.

Get Support

If you know a fellow co-worker, family member, or friend who has had a similar experience to yours, ask if they’re available to support you. The help of a trained therapist can also have a monumental effect on how quickly you heal. A certified therapist can help you talk things through and support you.  Seek support sooner rather than later and reclaim your career with confidence. Please read more about trauma therapy, contact us soon, we’re here for you.