I know… you’ve just finished recovering from the fun, excitement, and stress that accompanies the hectic pace of the holidays, only to find yourself busy preparing for a New Year and a new tax season.
Whether you’re anticipating a basic tax filing or dreading some heavy duty paperwork, putting aside time for self-care and relaxation during the busy tax season will help you emerge on April 16th with your health, sanity, and finances intact.
Here are a few tips to help you survive (and dare we say, thrive?) during this year’s tax-time:
- Get organized. Do your due diligence and figure out exactly what forms you need to file and what paperwork you’ll need to gather to complete those forms. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your credit union can assist you in finding professional accountants to guide you through the process with ease.
- Make time for yourself. I know that between deadlines at work, family needs, and social commitments, it can be easy to forget to take care of you. It may feel counterintuitive, but try to do something nice for yourself every day. Yes, I mean every single day. This doesn’t have to be a big financial or time commitment, and “something nice” will look different for everyone. Maybe it’s as simple as taking 10 minutes for yourself when you get to the office to enjoy your coffee in peace. Or perhaps you’ll feel refreshed after taking 15 minutes to walk outside and breathe the fresh (albeit cold) air. Maybe you meditate, or find relief in physical activity like running or yoga. Maybe you just want to play with your dog, take a hot bath, or call a friend. Whatever it is, do more of what makes you happy.
- Make your office space a sanctuary. In 2018, “the office” means something very different to just about everyone. Whether you work in a traditional setting (an office or cubicle), shared work space, or at home, there are steps you can take to make your office a more enjoyable place to inhabit. Declutter your files and drawers so things are easier to find (organization not your thing? Try enlisting that coworker or friend whose space you envy to help out). Get a plant. Science has proven that house plants make people happier and they help clean recycled indoor air. Hang art, pictures, or quotes that make you happy. Set up an essential oil diffuser or buy a rod-diffuser – smells dramatically impact our productivity and happiness. Buy a lamp or two and turn off those awful florescent overhead lights. Invest in a standing desk. Get throw pillows for your chairs. Just do what you need to do to spruce that boring space up and you will look forward to spending more time there, I promise.
- Eat. Okay, this should go without saying, but when you’re busy juggling a million different things or undergoing external stressors (like doing your taxes…) it’s easy to forget to nourish your body until you reach the point where your blood sugar has dropped, you’re very cranky, and you realize that maybe it’s because you’re downright starving. Make a point to keep healthy snacks close by throughout the day. Apples, string cheese, and pretzels are good options on the go.
- Go easy on the caffeine. I would never suggest that you give up your morning cup o’joe, but I might suggest that you forgo your second… or third… or fourth cup. Caffeine can make you delightfully alert and ready to face the day, but too much can restrict your blood vessels and oxygen flow to the brain, cause feelings of stress and anxiety, and leave you with a nasty crash after it wears off. Try sipping on a sans-caffeine herbal tea or hot water with lemon when you’re craving more coffee. Following step number 4 (eat!) will also prevent energy slumps caused by low blood sugar.
- Expecting a refund? Plan ahead. Whether you’re thinking about using your well-earned refund on a tropical getaway, looking forward to a special purchase, saving for a rainy day, or paying off the bills you’ve accumulated from holiday shopping, it’s helpful to keep your refund somewhere safe and separate from your normal checking or savings account so it doesn’t “magically” disappear on things like gas and groceries. A prepaid Visa Everyday Spend card is a safe, secure, and easily accessible way to guarantee that your refund goes where you want it to go. Ask your credit union how to get started with an Everyday Spend card and rest easy knowing your refund will be there when you’re ready to use it.
- Get quality sleep. I know you’ve been told time and time again how important a good night’s sleep is for your overall wellbeing, but I’m here to tell you again: There’s nothing I know of that will help you destress more than proper rest. Prioritize your sleep and your coworkers, family, and friends will thank you. It’s okay to say no when you feel overcommitted and exhausted. Skip happy hour or dinner with coworkers if it means you’ll lose precious Zzz’s.
Now relax and know that you’ve got this. If you follow these steps and still feel overwhelmed, don’t ever be afraid to ask family, friends, or a trusted co-worker for help. If no one comes to mind, your local credit union is always there to point you in the right direction.
Keep calm and file on!