One of the things we have trouble seeing is the cumulative effects of pretty much anything in our lives. It is usually not doing something for one hour, or one day or even a few weeks that has significant impacts on our lives, it is what we do or face day after day after day.
One of the cumulative effects of stress I noticed personally was a “sense of dread.” For about two years I was in a work environment with organizational financial distress and unavoidable dealings with a few very negative people. Naturally, I had to fight the dread of facing these stressors each day, but after some time I had an almost constant sense of dread in the back of my mind. This made it difficult to relax during times such as holidays or the rare vacation.
Even after getting out of this environment, it took a long time for this sense of dread to go away. I guess one might say it took time to heal from the stress and negativity.
My advice is to get out of the stressful environment you are in. Life is too short to choose to spend your time in dysfunctional places or with dysfunctional people. If you cannot get out right away, make an exit strategy and plan, then start moving in that direction.
Too often people stay too long at places or with people because of some sense of duty. Do not think you can change deeply ingrained or institutionalized patterns of behavior. The truth is, you will not keep people from returning to their default position.