Tips for managing stress during tax season

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Stress can be a vicious cycle. During busy times, such as tax season, healthy habits and extracurricular activities are some of the first things to fall off your plate. Meanwhile, those parts of your routine are some of the most important to keeping stress levels under control. Poor stress management can ultimately lead to poor health and potentially negatively impact overall productivity. In fact, according to a study by Replicon, accounting professionals take more sick time in March than any other month of the year, 17 hours on average compared to 11 hours in other months.

Whether your firm has one employee or 100, a strong company culture that encourages open communication and recognition can help employees manage their workloads and stay motivated as work gets busy or challenging. The work environment is an important part of keeping workplace stress at bay, but it’s up to each employee to understand their individual stress triggers and employ coping tactics. During busy times in particular, it is important for firm leadership to encourage (and practice) self-care to help manage stress individually and ensure everyone is in their best mindset for themselves, the firm and their clients.

Stress management tips are as individual as stress triggers, but there are some common methods to controlling stress, including:

• Get some fresh air. Go outside and take a walk nearby or find the nearest bench for a quick breather.

• Take a mental break. If going outside isn’t an option, at least step away from your desk and read a few pages of a book or magazine or perhaps chat with a colleague who is also taking a break.

• Stay properly hydrated and nourished. Unfortunately, coffee is not a balanced meal. Remember to refill your water bottle and don’t skip lunch. Your mind will stay sharper that way and your clients will thank you.

• Unplug for a moment. It’s no secret excessive screen time isn’t ideal, whether you take that walk around the block, sit down to a tech-free dinner, or just step away from the computer for a moment, your eyes, back and neck will appreciate the break.

• Move your body. More time at work usually means more time sitting down. If you’re really pressed for time, just get up and stretch every hour or so. If you have more time to spare, spend it doing whatever type of exercise you love. Investing in a very simple self-care routine can pay big dividends.

Every job comes with some level of stress, and busy days and intellectual challenges often keep balancing work and life interesting. But when these stressors become overwhelming, initiating your own stress relief efforts can help maintain a positive, fulfilling work environment that’s great for everyone’s mental health, morale and the business overall. Each of these tips will allow your mind to refresh and regroup so you can return ready to face your to-do list with a vengeance.

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