Getting Through Tax Season Stress
Don’t let tax season stress get you this year.
Finding something to laugh at like a comedy movie or a picture can help relieve some tax season stress.
Oh glorious tax season, why do I hate you so? Let me count the ways:
I never know if I will end up having to pay money I don’t have to the government, or if I will be lucky this year and get money back.
Trying to make sense of the mess of all the receipts I collected for business expenses over the last year.
Realizing how much we paid in medical bills over the course of the last year. (medical expense deductions)
Praying we are filling out the tax information correctly.
Hoping that the deductions we are rightfully claiming aren’t going to flag us for an audit.
Effects of Stress on the Body
A little bit of stress is not a bad thing; it makes us more alert and able to handle certain situations better. However, when stress has completely taken over it is and it is no longer temporary it causes harm to you both emotionally and physically.
Emotionally, it can cause you to lash out at your loved ones because you are in a constant defensive mode. It can make dealing with even the simplest of situation difficult, cause depression, and makes everything seem much worse than it actually is.
Physically, it can be the trigger for asthma, headaches, diabetes, and heart issues. We all know that stress increases our blood pressure, but how many of you know that stress can actually cause us to develop skin conditions also? (webmd.com)
To top it all off, if you are already suffering from an ailment stress makes it worse
Stop right there! Drop that cookie!
When you are stressed out, the absolute worst thing you can do is stress eat. Yeah sure, it makes you feel better for a little bit while all the neurons in your brain are bouncing around happily, but that is a very temporary fix. Once those neurons calm down you crash; which makes you feel physically tired. Then you also regret what you ate, leading to more stress eating to try and make those feelings go away
Do you see a bad cycle starting here?
There is no end to this cycle either and it can go on for years and years unless you put a stop to it.
When my son was born I found myself a stressed out, working two jobs, 21-year-old single mom and I fell into a nasty post-partum depression. To make the depression and stress pain go away I ate. I ate everything and anything I could. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for me to eat a large pizza for one meal, or a whole bag of double-stuff Oreos watching a single movie alone in my house while my son was sleeping.
I ate so much that I gained 80 pounds after I had my son on top of the 25 pounds I gained during pregnancy. That’s right, I gain over 3 times more weight from stress eating than I did from being pregnant. My son is now 13 and I still have yet to permanently lose all of this weight.
Please let my experience help you realize that stress eating is so very bad. If you can’t help it and you absolutely must eat to calm yourself, remove all of the bad food from your home and surround yourself with healthy alternatives.
Celery, apples, radishes, cucumber, and carrots are all great stress snacks because they are crunchy and you have to work hard to get them chewed up. If you need sweet stress relief, reach for some berries or even frozen grapes, instead of the cookies and ice cream.
Find a Stress Relief Outlet
Having a stress relief outlet is an absolute must. First, it gives you something to focus on rather than the stressful situation you are dealing with. Second, it gives you a break and removes you from a surrounding that may be stressful.
Massages, pedicures, playing sports, going for a drive, or seeing movie are all great stress relief outlets. Recently I have been using the gym for my stress relief outlet. Working out on the cardio equipment gives me the same high I used to get from eating a bag of Oreo cookies (without the regret and extra resulting pounds) and the steam room in the locker room is a great place to escape to just relax and be alone.
Looking at Stress in a Different Light
Another way to attack your stress is to look at it with a more positive spin. For example, with my tax stress above:
I really don’t have a positive spin for the stress of not knowing if you have to pay.
I am thankful I am self-employed and have to look for these receipts instead of having to work for someone else.
Yes, we had a lot of medical bills. But we have health insurance to pay for most of the actual cost and because we have so many they are tax deductible.
I have to say I love TurboTax as they walk you through every form and piece of information you need for your situation.
The audit? Well, not much I can do there if we do get chosen, so I have to go on with life and deal with it if it happens.
Being able to put a positive spin on your stressful situation works best after you have utilized your stress relief outlet, so take a break and then come back to the stress. And good luck to everyone with their tax season stress this year.