How to Beat Stress During Tax Season

Gina Deveney
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As the looming deadline draws closer each season, accountants and finance professionals often find themselves bearing the brunt of tax stress. Whether you have too much work on your plate or you simply feel overwhelmed by taxes and filing concerns, weathering the season successfully demands a well-oiled plan. Fortunately, beating the tax blues doesn't have to feel like an impossible mission when armed with the right tips and tricks for overcoming tax stress.

Before you focus on anything else, take stock of your current situation and review your work patterns. While you cannot control certain aspects of your workflow, you can proactively eliminate distractions and poor working habits. Many accountants feel burnt out by the end of the season, but you can combat tax stress by thoughtfully structuring your time and keeping your own behavior in check.

Of course, effectively managing your schedule doesn't only apply to the time you spend slaving away at your desk. In addition to putting in the hard work in your office, you also need to take care of your physical and emotional needs. Stay active to prevent your body from becoming sedentary, and give yourself an energy boost by leaving your workspace. A quick jaunt around the block or a jog over your lunch break helps destroy tax stress in its wake.

In addition to tackling your own needs, don't overlook your co-workers or staff members. Tax stress frequently affects every member of a working office, as the financial pressure and time crunch puts every worker's nerves on edge. Work to reduce communal stress levels by holding competitions, hosting a special evening out or recognizing great performance with small perks. While seeming insignificant, these minor efforts provide an extra level of motivation for workers who feel overwhelmed by taxes.

Finally, keep yourself fueled for the marathon with healthy meals and snacks. As your body experiences the effects of stress, it's normal to reach for that candy bar hidden in your top drawer. Indulging in excessive sweets and fatty foods can backfire, however, leaving you exhausted. Many people also experience the emotional repercussions of poor eating habits, derailing their productivity and creating an enormous roadblock. Prevent this from occurring during your tax season by stocking your office with healthy alternatives to processed junk food, and work to minimize the number of takeout meals you consume at lunch.

Without the clients who entrust their tax preparation to you each year, you wouldn't be able to make a living as an accountant. Although it's easy to get wrapped up in the tax stress that builds in the months leading to April, try to remain grounded and thankful for your work. This is easier said than done, but taking a Zen approach helps keep you grounded and lets you escape the season relatively unscathed.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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