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Having worked with thousands of accountants and bookkeepers over the past few years, I have learned that during tax season “normal working hours” goes out the window, 90% of annual work for clients happens in a two month period, and the pressure on support staff is at an exorbitant level. There are of course different resources and applications available to help streamline tax accounting but at the end of the day, tax season has and always will be the proverbial “pressure cooker” for the accounting and bookkeeping industry. However, whether you are young or old, it is so important to take care of yourself Mentally and Physically during the busy seasons of life. Studies have confirmed the dramatic effects stress can have on the body causing many different conditions and a reduced amount of important natural antioxidants that help your body fight cancer such as glutathione. So take time for yourself during tax season. Take a walk, spend time with family and loved ones, and make sure to look up from time to time. A great article from Rogers CPA Review suggests the following steps for staying healthy during tax season: 1. Find 15-30 minutes to work out - It’s a well-known fact that exercising can be of great help when it comes to relieving stress. The reason? When your body participates in physical activity, endorphins are released. These endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Remember—you don’t have to produce a full days’ regimen at the gym in order to reap the benefits. Find 15-30 minutes when you get home, before you go to work, or on the weekends to allow your body to influence your mind. Getting into this routine won’t only reduce stress, but will keep you energized, healthy, and improve alertness as well as concentration. 2. Practice a good diet - It’s true what they say—you are what you eat. And during this Busy Season, strive to be a walking vegetable, fruit, and good proteins/carbs machine. Make sure you’re getting in breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that these include quality proteins (such as salmon, eggs, nuts, sunflower seeds), healthy fats (like avocados, peanut butter, olives, tofu), and high-fiber (beans, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits). While it’s easy to skip meals when you’re busy, avoid this habit. Your body needs proper nutrition to feed your brain and keep you energized. Enjoy healthy snacks in between meal periods and get in the habit of eating well regularly for optimum functioning! 3. Decompress & meditate - Find about 5-10 minutes during the day (or at the end of the day) to wrap a warm towel around your shoulders, turn on some soft instrumental music, and sit up straight with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this breathing exercise a few times to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure. Next, focus on a mantra, peaceful sound, or embrace silence to clear your mind. Partake in this decompression and meditation process to center yourself and provide some moments of clarity. Putting your mind and body in a peaceful state is a good routine to execute before putting yourself to bed. 4. Drink tea instead of coffee or energy drinks - You've probably heard that green tea has a ton of health benefits, and you’re right! Green tea has been proven to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol; in addition, it can prevent some heart-related issues from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure. If grabbing your cup of joe in the morning and then powering up with an energy drink in the afternoon is your regular go-to, try indulging in green tea instead. With less than half the caffeine of those other beverages in addition to healthy antioxidants, making this switch is a win-win situation as it helps keep you awake as well as does wonders for your body. 5. Pamper yourself! - And we've saved the best for last. Remember that jacket in the storefront window you passed last week? Or the slice of cheesecake you passed on during dinner? Or maybe even the 1-hour spa massage you thought was a tad pricey? Well, you don’t have to feel so bad about splurging every once in a while during Tax Season. Don’t deprive yourself of the things that you enjoy or love doing. If you find yourself with a few hours’ window of freedom, get some you-time in and just have fun! You’ll find that indulging in your favorite activity or trying something new is a great way to relieve stress while simultaneously reconnecting with the world around you. We hope you incorporate all of these tips into your weekly regimens to get through this Busy Season as smoothly as possible! And remember—no matter how tough the going gets, you’re tougher!