Self Care for Accounting and Tax Professionals During the Busy Tax Season

July 8, 2020

As a tax professional or accountant, you are busier than ever during tax season. Longer hours, stressed clients, and fast-approaching deadlines can be a recipe for burnout. Finding ways to make self care part of your daily routine can keep you balanced and help you put your best face forward with clients. 

We’ve compiled some simple self care tips that are perfect for busy accountants and tax professionals. Try some of the self care strategies below to refresh and reinvigorate your mind as you pick up the pace professionally.

Make Time for Your Favorite People

It may seem counterintuitive when you’re at your busiest, but scheduling time with friends and family is one of the best ways to prioritize your wellbeing during tax time. Numerous studies have found that strong social support is one of the best indicators of good mental and physical health. In fact, spending time with friends and family can encourage better health behaviors, improve heart health, boost your mood, improve your body’s ability to recover from sickness, and lower your stress levels. 

During tax season, appointments with clients and overlapping deadlines can make it a challenge to schedule time with your support network, but even a phone call with a loved one provides these stress-lowering benefits. 

Plan Something You Can Look Forward To

Things may be getting hectic at work right now, but there’s nothing better than the promise of an upcoming massage, vacation, or day trip. What’s an activity you enjoy doing but never seem to have time for, or something you’ve always wanted to do and never got around to? Now is a great time to start planning it. 

If you’re ready for a getaway now, search for weekend travel deals and pick a destination you’d enjoy. You’ll be rejuvenated and refreshed by your weekend away. Rope in a few friends or family members and you’ve got the added benefit of strengthening your social support network while giving yourself something relaxing or fun to look forward to during your busiest days. 

Challenge Yourself Physically

A physical challenge isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but during times of high stress, it has been proven to lower anxiety, decrease tension, uplift and stabilize mood, and improve the quality of sleep. As a tax professional or accountant during the busy tax season, you may find yourself spending more time at your desk. It’s doubly beneficial to up your physical activity and improve your overall sense of wellbeing. 

You don’t have to run a marathon or climb a mountain to reap the benefits of physical activity. Take a walk, join an exercise or dance class, play a new sport, or join a gym to get your blood pumping a few times per week. You’ll feel better, stronger, and happier if you do. 

Say Goodbye to a Bad Client

As a professional who works with the public, you understand and accept that not all clients are easy to deal with. There are some that you always look forward to seeing, some that you know you can rely on to show up well-prepared, and some that are exceedingly difficult to work with. 

If you find that you have a client who is always demanding, rude, difficult to get payment from, or otherwise making it hard to do your job, consider letting them go. Saying goodbye to your worst client may be the most powerful way you can prioritize your wellbeing and stay balanced during the busy tax season. 

Do Nothing

Taking time to think, meditate, or just stare into space for a period of time each day is one of the most powerful ways you can take care of yourself during your busy season. Think of this scheduled or loosely planned time as “doing nothing,” with no expectations to accomplish anything or make the time productive. It’s a regenerative time for you to relax and decompress. 

It’s also beneficial for your eyes to take time to step away and do nothing. After hours of staring at small numbers on a computer screen, you might find yourself experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain (headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain). The 20-20-20 method can help you work a little downtime into your daily schedule: Look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes or so to cut down on eyestrain and give yourself a quick break. 

The regular practice of doing nothing doesn’t just relieve stress and give your eyes a temporary break. It’s associated with mental health benefits and bolsters your problem-solving abilities. Manfred Kets De Vries, the Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change at INSEAD, notes:

By giving the brain ‘downtime’ we can improve mental health and allow ideas to incubate...in fact, slacking off and setting aside regular periods of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best thing we can do to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination and improve our mental health.

During tax season, an increase in working hours, clients, and paperwork is par for course. Making self care part of your daily routine can change the way you approach tax season, manage clients, and feel about yourself. 

Spending time with your favorite people, planning enjoyable activities or getaways, saying yes to a physical challenge, parting ways with your worst client, and getting comfortable with occasionally doing nothing are all ways you can take better care of yourself during your busiest time of year. 

Tax season may make it harder to squeeze in time for yourself, but if you’re purposeful about doing it, you will reap the benefits and improve your personal and professional life. 

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