Recently we shared some time management strategies to implement during busy season, and it should be noted that having good time management skills can be a great way to help curtail your stress when the workload picks up, but we thought it was important to have some other stress coping mechanisms under your belt for tax season. Often people get so bogged down in the job at this time of year, that they forget to pay attention to their own needs, so we thought a reminder was in order of just a few small ways you can help manage your stress in order to survive this busy season.
Schedule a little time for yourself each day. When things get hectic, it can seem like there’s never enough time to get everything done, and perhaps more so if you have a family waiting for you at home. It’s important, however, to make a little time for yourself, if even just half an hour. Take a walk. Take a bath. Do some yoga. Practice meditation. Anything, to give yourself a little attention will go a long way toward your mental wellbeing and give you a bit of release from the tension of a busy work day.
Turn off all screens at least an hour before you go to bed. In our technology-dependent culture, most of us are never far from a smartphone, laptop or television, but the light that emanates from these devices can have a negative effect on our sleep patterns and can make it harder to fall asleep and to sleep soundly at night. So do yourself a favor and give your eyes a rest when it gets close to bedtime. Instead of watching tv before bed, read a book or a magazine. Check your email after dinner, then put your phone away for the evening. It can be hard to get used to it at first, especially for people who tend to check their smartphones regularly throughout the day and night, but as you adjust, you will find yourself more calm, relaxed and, frankly, happier, which can help you alleviate stress before bed and help you get a good night’s sleep.
Use your lunch/dinner break for exactly that. Often if people even take a break for lunch, they spend the entire time staring at their phone, catching up on emails or scrolling through social media. Here’s a novel idea: use your lunch break to eat lunch and take a break. Have a casual conversation with a coworker. Try not to drag work into it. Or find a walking buddy in your office and get out for a fifteen minute loop around the neighborhood. Use this time to enjoy yourself and break up the stressors of the day with some positive social interaction. And a delicious lunch can’t hurt either. We’ve got some suggestions for some mealtime stress relieving locales in a variety of cities.
Plan firm-sponsored wellness perks. If your firm doesn’t already offer some wellness perks to help you get through busy season, see about suggesting some. These can be major game changers— helping to increase coworker camaraderie and making for a happier and healthier busy season. Designate a firm “fun committee” to organize small events or happenings throughout the busy season (and the rest of the year). Maybe your firm could have a masseuse come in and offer 15-minute massage breaks. See if your firm will cater breakfast when you have to work on weekends or healthy snacks to keep in the break room. Try to organize a group stretching break where everyone takes a few minutes to get up from their desk and limber up.
Make time for your family and friends. At the end of a long day or week, sometimes we just want to curl up in a ball and be left alone, but it’s important to remember to make time to nurture your social relationships. Try to keep a smile on your face and give just that little bit more of yourself to someone else, and just knowing that you are as busy as you are, they will return that affection in spades. They say the happiest people are people who show the most appreciation to those around them, so try to go out of your way to appreciate the people in your life and you will likely find yourself reaping the benefits.
Implementing some of these strategies can help cater to a less stressful busy season, making you happier, healthier and more productive, but in the end it’s also up to you to choose to be positive and to get through these difficult few months and teaching yourself to cope, without letting the stress of tax season overcome you.