The thought of the impending tax season can stress out even the most organized person. There’s a lot of research planning and preparation to do and while it’s important to have an organizational system in place to help make this year’s taxes seamless, here are 10 ways to help keep your stress levels low.
1. Get enough sleep
Not only can stress make falling asleep harder but functioning on not enough can increase stress. Try to aim for 7–9 hours a night and set up a routine to make falling asleep easier. This can include shutting down your computer, making sure you have a quiet dark space, and trying to get the same amount every night. Source
2. Keep a journal
details from hard or stressful days allows you to process your thoughts, rather than compartmentalizing and not dealing with the issue at hand. Source
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym for this one to help. Research has shown even taking a 15 minute walk has benefits at relieving stress. Next time you’re starting to feel stressed walk around the block, go for a run, or hit up a group fitness class. Source
4. Take a deep breath
Whenever you are starting to feel stressed, step away from the task, sit with your eyes closed for 3–5 minutes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Studies have shown that this can immediately reduce your heart rate and make it easier to focus. Or try breathing with the shape above in and out. Source
5. Disconnect from technology — especially your phone!
Studies have found that being constantly connected actually does more harm than good! Taking a little bit of time everyday just to step away or turn off your phone helps more than you know. This is because, as HealthDay explains, smartphones produce “a relentless need to immediately review and respond to each and every incoming message, alert or bing.”
6. Laugh more
Watch a funny video or movie, hang out with someone who makes you laugh, listen to a comedian. According to the Mayo Clinic “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.” Source
7. Tune out and listen to some music
Cranking up the tunes and let yourself be fully absorbed for a minute. While classical music is especially good, any song you like will do. This allows your brain a distraction, will reduce tension in your muscles, and decrease the stress causing hormones. Source
By simply taking a few moments to be grateful for what you have can make you happier. Try writing 3 things down every day or when you start to get stressed, step back and list 10 good things in your mind. Source
9. Connect with a friend or loved one
When we get stressed sometimes our natural instinct is to bottle it up and want to go hide from the world. But research has shown that just by reaching out via email or meeting up worth someone over coffee helps to decrease stress levels, provide distraction offer support and remind you that everyone deals with stress. Source
10. Be prepared
The best way to manage your stress levels during tax season is to be prepared. You can get ahead of things by creating a solid organizational system like this one here and getting advice from a professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Check out our tax preparation guide here for more helpful resources to make your tax return a breeze.