A New Year, brings new challenges. For a lot of people, these challenges are felt most keenly in the workplace. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2014/15 440,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress that they believed was making them ill.

Figures like these underscore the scale of the problem and the importance of finding effective ways of dealing with stress.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., business psychologist and author of ‘Success Under Stress’, gives some helpful tips on how to combat stress.

Act rather than react

“We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control,” says Ms Melnick. When a person feels out of control their body has a stress response that over time impacts on well-being and concentration. To counteract this, try to
identify the elements of the situation that you can control and concentrate on what you can do rather than what you can’t. This will help reduce your stress levels.

Just breath

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are under increasing levels of stress, find a quiet place to take a deep breath. If you Inhale for five seconds, hold your breath and exhale in equal counts through the nose this will help you to become calmer and think rationally about the tasks you have in front of you.

Plan ahead

Not having a structured plan for the day increases stress and can ultimately delay the completion of the tasks. It is easy to feel overwhelmed if you aren’t organised. To combat this create a plan of action for the day to break down your tasks into bite size pieces. This will make you feel more in control and make the tasks easier to complete.

Look after yourself

It may seem obvious, but if you don’t look after your health, your health won’t let you work. Your mother was absolutely right when she said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast, combined with a low sugar, high protein diet will help keep stress at bay. Another vital element of your physical health is making sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can make you more likely to get high blood pressure, diabetes and suffer from stress. It is important that you try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

For more tips on handling workplace stress: