The phone rings and rings. New messages flood your inbox. Your calendar fills up with consultations. You explain the new GOP tax law for the ten-thousandth time.
It's tax season, and business shows no sign of slowing down, which could make it more difficult for you to manage stress.
Don't burn yourself out. Read on, and we'll show you how to keep your mood boosted throughout a hectic day of tax season.
The alarm interrupts your dreams, and you roll out of bed. You'll be headed to work soon. Make sure to prepare your mind and body before you leave.
Before you think about showering or making tough wardrobe choices, stop by the coffee maker. Pour the water in, fill the filter with grounds, and hit "START."
Coffee tastes great, whether you opt for a bold, dark roast or something lighter. Plus, it's a cost-effective air freshener. These seemingly magic beans help burn fat, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer's disease by 65%.1
Caffeine will wake you up, but so will exercise. A short, 15-minute walk can strengthen your memory, reduce stress, and improve circulation.2
You've heard it a million times, but it bears repeating: Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, and you shouldn't skip it.
Even though pastries and sugary breakfast cereals taste great, these simple, refined carbs only give you temporary energy. Reach for complex carbs, such as fruits and whole grains. They take longer to digest and release more energy over time.3
As you round out your breakfast, pick almonds, avocados, and other healthy fats. Complete the meal with lean proteins, such as turkey and egg whites.
The rest of your routine awaits.
You arrive at work. Before business picks up, talk with your team.
If you sprint from your car straight to your desk, you're giving your coworkers a bad impression. Even if you need to slice through a thick backlog, talk to your coworkers and ask them how they're doing.
With the rigors of tax season in full effect, no one expects you to be a 24/7 ray of sunshine. But a simple smile can brighten anyone's day. There's science behind it, as studies show smiling reduces the stress-causing hormone cortisol and releases endorphins that trigger happiness hormones.4
After you talk to your team, plan your day. Don't set too many goals for yourself if you have several appointments.
Outside of seeing clients, you can put these items on your calendar:
- Generate referrals
- Clean your office
- Drink 8 glasses of water
- Follow up with clients between appointments
If you take the Zen approach of completing three daily goals, you prevent mental clutter and create a realistic task list for yourself.5
Your stomach growls in protest, and you finally have a few minutes for a break.
You save money by bringing your own lunch, but you shouldn't park yourself in front of your computer while you eat. Doing this will lower your productivity and fill your keyboard with more germs than a toilet seat.6
After you eat, let literature take you to outer space with Neil deGrasse Tyson or to London and Paris with "A Tale of Two Cities."
Reading expands your vocabulary, improves your memory, reduces stress, and helps lower your blood pressure.7
The last client just left, and you're close to going home.
Hide your cell phone in a drawer or silence it. Find a comfortable, quiet space and shut off the lights if you can.
Focus on breathing and posture, and take five minutes to clear your mind. Meditating helps you control anxiety, improve sleep, and regulate cortisol.8
Empty Your Communications Queue
Give your emails and voice messages your undivided attention to eliminate some of tomorrow's worries. Check all your messages and respond, if needed. You'll have one less stressor in the morning.
You've put in a lot of work, and now you can leave.
Science supports the importance of mental breaks, because they increase productivity and restore motivation.9 Don’t take your work home. During the evening, focus your attention on your family. Allow your mind and body to recuperate for the next day.
If we’re being honest, tax season will probably prevent you from following most of these mood-boosting tips on extremely busy days. But if you practice mindfulness and focus on elevating your mood, you'll be well on your way to reducing stress.
This article is for informational purposes only.
1Gunnars, Chris. "13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science." Healthline. 15 June 2017. Web. 29 January 2018.
2Smith, Jessica. "10 Amazing Benefits of Walking." MyFitnessPal. 25 March 2017. Web. 29 January 2018.
3Blake, Lauren. "Eat This for Breakfast to Improve Your Mood All Day." U.S. News. 12 April 2017. Web. 29 January 2018.
4"The Science Behind Smiling" Pick The Brain. 12 November 2016. Web. 29 January 2018.
5Brandall, Benjamin. "How to Prioritize Tasks and Do Only The Work That Matters." Business 2 Community. 7 June 2016. Web. 29 January 2018.
6Holub, Anne. "Why you should never eat at your desk again." Business Insider. 26 April 2017. Web. 29 January 2018.
7Winter-Hebert, Lana. "10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day." Lifehack. Web. 29 January 2018.
8Thorpe, Matthew. "12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation." Healthline. 5 July 2017. Web. 29 January 2018.
9Selig, Meg. "How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain? 5 Surprising Answers." Psychology Today. 18 April 2017. Web. 29 January 2018.