5 Tips to Help You Manage a Stressful Tax Season

A tax preparer manages his business from home while caring for children

Every tax season is different, and if you’re feeling stressed or overextended this year, you’re not alone. We’re here with tips to help you manage stress, find some balance, and persevere through a long tax season.

1. Set work hours and take breaks

One of the great benefits of owning or starting your own tax business is the flexibility and the opportunity to set the hours you work. However, while many preparers continue to work from home, it can be difficult to establish boundaries between work hours and personal hours, know that normal work hours aren’t always possible during tax season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set some boundaries. Even on your longest days, you should still prioritize the basics: getting enough sleep, eating real meals, and getting some kind of physical activity.

Whenever possible, aim to give yourself at least a few hours of downtime in the evenings. If the pressure of work leaves you feeling guilty for taking a break, remember that unplugging and resting will help you be even more productive tomorrow.

2. Wear blue light blocking glasses

Starting at screens doesn’t just fatigue your eyes– it can also disrupt your sleep, especially when you work into the evenings. The blue light from your computer and phone tells your body that it’s daytime, preventing you from producing melatonin and falling asleep easily.

Blue blockers, glasses that prevent the blue light from your screens from reaching your eyes, can help. Try wearing them after the sun goes down or anytime your eyes feel strained. 

Don’t have a pair? Try installing Flux on your computer instead. This free download will automatically dampen the blue light from your screens after sunset.

3. Get outside

Getting sunlight doesn’t just boost your vitamin D – it’s a proven way to support your mental health. So be sure to take walks, enjoy your yard or balcony, and try working outside when the weather is nice.

4. Try breathing exercises

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or can’t fall asleep, give 4-7-8 breathing a try. This technique involves inhaling deeply for a count of four, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight. 

While it can take some practice, many people swear by it as a stress management technique and sleep aid.

5. Adjust your mindset

It’s completely justified to feel frustrated right now. You’re working at a time where you’d normally be taking vacations, focusing on family, and recouping. But it’s helpful to remind yourself that this season will end. You will get a break. You can make it through. 

Lean into methods that help you refocus and adjust your mindset whether that’s meditation, prayer, journaling, or talking with family and friends. Right now, Headspace app is offering guided meditations specifically for those working during the pandemic.

This article was last edited on November 14, 2021.