How to Cope with Tax Season Stress
For most of us that aren’t accountants (and even some of us that are), tax season is absolutely dreadful. The pressure of gathering all the necessary documents, filling out forms, and filing correctly can be incredibly overwhelming for even the most organized individual. And unless the government decides to just tell us what we owe, we’ll be stuck doing it again, and again, and again….
Sorry. That’s probably not helping. The truth is that taxes are hard - but luckily for all of us tax novices, there are ways to cope with tax season stress and make the process more manageable. Hard to believe, we know, but we are certain the suggestions in this blog will help you at least a little bit!
Read on for tips on organizing your taxes early, practicing some self care, and working hard to maintain positivity in a time of financial fear. We can get through this together, Copper Crew!
What is Tax Season Anxiety?
Ever wonder why you’re so spooked come April? Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘Wow, does everyone feel like a literal deer in the headlights of the IRS when they’re paying taxes?’ Well, you’re not alone, and your problem is real. There’s actually an entire diagnosis for it: Tax Season Anxiety. Believe it or not, this is a real phenomenon that affects many individuals who dread the process of preparing and filing their tax returns. It's a feeling of dread, fear, and uncertainty about the whole tax process.
Tax season anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors. Some people are worried about making mistakes on their tax returns, which could lead to penalties and legal issues. Others may feel anxious about owing money to the government, or not getting a refund they were counting on. The fear of being audited by the IRS can also contribute to tax season anxiety. The IRS is an unforgiving and meticulous beast, so some of those fears are well-founded.
Another factor that can cause tax season anxiety is the complexity of the tax code. We’re sure we’re not alone in saying that taxes are really, REALLY confusing - especially if you work as a freelancer, have more than one job, or are dealing with some other seemingly-non-important-but-in-fact-is-extremely-important factor. The tax code is notoriously complex, with many rules, regulations, and exemptions that can be difficult to understand.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage tax season anxiety. How? Well, unlike the IRS, we’re going to lay it out for you in a way that’s very easy to understand:
The 10 Best Ways to Manage Tax Season Stress
We’ve done the research, asked around, and have it down. From meditation to future planning, here are the best ways to handle your tax season woes!
The earlier you start preparing for tax season, the better. Don't wait until the last minute to gather your documents and start filling out forms. It’s tempting, but really, don’t do it. By starting early, you can give yourself more time to complete the process and reduce stress levels. We suggest creating a checklist of all the documents you need and start gathering them as soon as possible. Boom! Done.
This is probably the hardest one to do, but it’s also the most important one.
Organize all of your documents into categories, such as income, expenses, and deductions. Keep all of your documents in one place so that they are easily accessible when you need them. To make it a little more fun, try putting them in multicolored folders and pretend like you’re completing some kind of fun organizing DIY task. (That’s a stretch, but we figured we’d try.)
Taking breaks during tax season is crucial for reducing stress levels. Don’t be afraid to step away, go outside, and remind yourself that there’s more to life than taxes (despite how you may feel in the moment). You’re alive! Taxes aren’t!
Schedule regular breaks throughout your day and take time to relax and unwind. Go for a walk, practice yoga, meditate…whatever helps!
Maintaining a positive mindset during tax season can make a big difference in reducing the pain of it all. Remind yourself that you can do this and that you are capable of completing the process. If anyone can do it, you can do it! Focus on the end goal of getting your taxes filed, and the potential of getting that sweet, sweet refund. Maybe you can use it to hire an accountant next year. Sigh.
ACK! That’s not positive. WE GOT THIS!
Don't be afraid to seek help if you need it. Consider hiring a professional tax preparer or using tax preparation software to help you stay organized and make the process easier. If you don’t have the money for this, consider reaching out to a friend to commiserate together. A problem shared is a problem cut in half, right?
Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress levels during tax season. Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. Consider incorporating exercise into your daily routine, even if it's just a short walk or a quick workout.
By the way, our wearables and products are amazing for pre, during, and post-workouts. Our compression sleeves increase blood flow, stabilize tendons, and limit the amount of soreness you feel the next day! No sense in being sore while you do your taxes, that’s two different kinds of pain at once. Grab some compression sleeves to take the physical pain out of the equation!
Practicing self-care always important, but it’s super important when we’re under duress. Make sure to prioritize your own well-being by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking care of yourself. Treat yourself to a relaxing bath or a nice meal to help reduce stress levels.
Hey, maybe you can use your refund for a massage as a fun little reward!
Break Tasks Into Smaller Chunks
Breaking tasks into smaller chunks can make the tax season process more manageable. Rather than trying to complete everything at once, break tasks down into smaller pieces and tackle them one at a time. This can help reduce stress levels and make the process feel more manageable. Just make sure you give yourself enough leeway to do this.
Reward yourself for completing tasks and making progress during tax season. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, such as a favorite meal or a fun activity. Get your favorite candy, or maybe buy that video game you’ve been looking at. This can help motivate you to keep going and reduce stress levels.
Plan for Next Year
We know, this is a little far-fetched - but it’s good to get into the habit. Take note of what worked well and what didn't this year and make adjustments accordingly. You can also create a system for organizing your documents and keeping track of expenses throughout the year to make tax season less stressful in the future. The more you do this, the easier it will be. Maybe in a few years you won’t be an anxious heap come tax season!
Start early, get organized, take breaks, stay positive, seek help if needed, exercise, practice self-care, break tasks into smaller chunks, reward yourself, and plan for next year. Sounds like a lot, but trust us, it’s worth it. Remember to prioritize your well-being and take care of yourself above all else. The IRS may not be understanding, but we are!
Good luck, y’all!