Accountants and business owners (or managers or CFOs) alike don’t get much of a break after the holiday craziness of December. Starting January 1 until April 15, we are officially in tax season, which is one of the busiest times of the year for accountants and businesses.
These three and half months are spent gathering financial documents, making sure all employees and contractors receive the correct 1099s and W-2s, and rounding up records and receipts for deductions. Needless to say, even if business owners have good, professional help with their taxes, this time of year is still rather…stressful.
It might not even be the actual work of tax season that is causing us to sweat, according to WebMD. The topic of money and finances is a stressor for many, as is dealing with the IRS. No matter why you may be feeling anxious, it’s not a good thing.
Have you ever heard that the only two certain things in life are death and taxes? This means we can’t get you out of filing a tax return, but we can help to make this season a little less stressful for you.
The 3 Things You Need to Do for a Stress Free Tax Season
Take care of your physical self
Meaning sleep, eat right, exercise, and stay hydrated. There’s a reason that “hangry” is a thing. The hungrier you get, the angrier you get, and the more dire things seem. The same thing goes for the rest of your body’s physical needs. When your body is sleep and nutrition deprived everything is much harder to deal with.
Stress can cause negative physical symptoms such as stomach upset, headaches, sleep problems, and exhaustion in your body, making it even more important to be on your game when it comes to your health this time of year.
Keep your bag or desk stocked with healthy snacks, take stretching breaks, and rest when you can. Becoming run down and sick will only make tax season harder to deal with.
Take a break from the screens
Psychology Today tells us, “Screens are a form of environmental stress.” This doesn’t just mean the computer screens you are seeing all day long at the office. It also includes the screens you surround yourself throughout the rest of the day: televisions, tablets, and smart phones.
It may feel like a stress relief to take a break from work and scroll through your phone, but you could unknowingly be contributing to your stress by doing that.
So, during tax season, make a point to truly unplug from your devices at various points throughout the day. Because not only are screens bad for stress, they are also bad for your health. Try any of these screen free activities:
- Going for a walk or bike ride
- Relax with an adult coloring book
- Head outside with friends or family for a game of soccer or football
- Pull the board games out of the closet
- Read a book
- Experiment in the kitchen with a new recipe
Be realistic about what your life looks like during tax season. It’s probably busy and that can’t necessarily change. When life is busy, it can often be even more stressful to try to squeeze in ways to reduce stress.
For example: you know that in theory going to that Zumba class on Wednesday nights should help you relax, but you just can’t get there. Now, not only are you stressed from work, you are also stressed from not being able to de-stress!
Don’t use this is an excuse to give up on self-care, however. Take a moment, take a deep breath, and get a good picture in your mind of what you need to get done and what your life will look like during tax season. Delegate what you can, and then accept the amount of work you have and look for ways to make it more manageable and find time to take care of yourself and relax.
Eating healthy takes a lot more time and effort than stopping for a fast food breakfast every morning. Instead of getting down on yourself for not having time to make eggs and squeeze vegetables for a juice concoction every day, work on ways to incorporate healthier foods into your diet that don’t need as much effort. I.e. instead of hitting up the vending machine for a mid-morning snack, pack an apple and some nuts. After tax season is over, you may have some more time for a total diet change if you would like.
Other quick easy ways for a stress free tax season:
- Take stretch breaks at your desk
- Use your lunch hour as an opportunity to get outside and take a stroll
- Talk to your co-workers for a few minutes about something other than work
- Go to bed 10 minutes earlier
Is tax season still stressing you out? We totally get it. Contact us at Lumen Advisory and Finance for help with your business’s tax return this year.