20 Tips to Help Accountants Stay In Shape During Tax Season

Busy season is a stressful time of the year – but there are things you and your employees can do to mitigate the stress of tax season. The pace may be hectic, but it’s also a good time to be more mindful of healthy habits. Out of adversity comes opportunity, and every employee sets the stage for how well they manage the heavy workload and long hours of busy season.

First and foremost, take care of yourself. If you don’t do that, nothing else matters and your work will be less than your personal best. Remember to practice gratitude for the support you have during the season (and that it will all be over soon). Keep your sense of humor. Everything seems a lot more manageable after a good laugh. Cultivate a positive attitude. Once you are on a negative downward spiral, busy season isn’t going to get any easier for you. Here are some more tips that can help you stay happy and healthy during the busiest time of our year.

To reduce stress:

  • Rethink your schedule. Most firms allow staff to set their own schedules as long as the work gets done. Are you at the top of your game in the morning or the evening? Do you need a workout break mid-afternoon? Do you prefer to work longer hours during the week and have Sundays off? Do you have childcare commitments? Customize your schedule to meet not only the firm’s needs but your personal needs as well.
  • Exercise! If you are currently not exercising on a regular basis, find time to go for a 15 to 30 minute walk before work, after work, or during your lunch hour. You’ll be surprised at how much more energy you will have.
  • Remember to breathe! When we are under stress, our breathing becomes shallow and lowers our effectiveness.
  • Focus on the positive. Mantras can be an effective way of staying positive and focusing on your strengths.
  • Incorporate the scent of lavender into your day. The smell has a calming effect.
  • Use visualization and guided imagery. Think about a time when you were very happy or time that made you laugh. Close your eyes, picture that time and take a few deep breaths. Try to actually picture yourself back in that time and focus on it for a couple of minutes.  Doing visualization and guided imagery for a few moments each day will help to relax your mind and body.
  • Practice patience with yourself and others. Everything works out in the end.
  • Separate work and your personal life. When you’re with your family and friends, focus on enjoying them and taking a break from work.
  • Reward yourself with a massage. Massages are healing both spiritually and physically.
  • Drink spearmint or chamomile tea.

To encourage overall wellness:

  • Drink plenty of water. Many people become dehydrated without even realizing it. Staying hydrated improves your productivity and your health.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Use antibacterial lotion frequently.
  • Stay at home if you are feeling ill. This will help speed your recovery and keep your coworkers from getting sick too.
  • Take your vitamins.
  • Take 30 minutes to relax when you get home before you reach for alcohol or in the refrigerator. Oftentimes, the urge to drink alcohol or eat will pass.
  • Eat healthy – try snacks like fruit, nuts, and whole grains. Make time for eating regular meals.
  • Keep moving forward. If you find you are spinning your wheels on a project and overanalyzing the facts – stop, take a break, and clear your mind. If you’re still stuck, reach out to others in your firm for help.  In the long run, it will save everyone time.
  • Work smart – use technology to streamline processes. Often, staff will keep manually entering data instead of taking time to learn how to capitalize on the advantages of technology. It is worth your initial investment of time to learn how to use technology successfully.
  • Take 10 minutes at the end of the workday to plan what you want to accomplish the next day. You will begin you day ready to go.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Televisions, computer screens and mobile devices are actually stimulants. Read a book, do meditation, or guided visualization instead.

Remember, it’s important that wellness becomes a value of the firm. This means, management should participate and model healthy habits too. Employees can work with a buddy or mentor to make sure they are getting the support they need to thrive during busy season. Slowing down may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the fastest way to ensure wellbeing and overall success during a hectic few months.

About the Author

Karen Mattull

Karen Mattull

Karen Mattull is the Director of Human Resources for BeachFleischman PC. She is responsible for overseeing the HR function for both firms, including recruiting and hiring, performance management, employee relations, wellness and HR compliance. She is also a certified senior professional in human resources.

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About the Author

Lori Niederlehner

Lori Niederlehner

Lori Niederlehner, CPA, CCP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is BeachFleischman PC's Strategic Operations and Advisory Resources (SOAR) Chief Operating Officer. She specializes in strategic recruiting, talent management, organizational development, employee relations, leadership development, compensation, operations and business advisory services.

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