With the holidays and the new year just around the corner, there are a lot of things to look forward to in the coming weeks. However, accountants often feel underlying stress during this time of year: looming deadlines, year end, and an upcoming busy tax season. How can we focus on ourselves and our team when there’s always have so much happening around us?
Putting your mental health first is crucial to producing good work in the months to come, especially this time of year. Here are a few ideas you can use to keep stress levels in check during times of pressure:
Have a Team Lunch
Treat your team or a client to lunch or coffee as a holiday treat. Don’t feel pressured to talk about work – in fact, skip the work talk altogether. Keep conversation light and casual. Let yourself step away from the daily grind for just an hour. After all, your computer needs to reboot for an hour every now and then; give yourself the same kindness.
Whichever task is bringing you more stress than you can handle this holiday season, consider hiring extra help. Hire a personal shopper to buy gifts. Hire a seasonal bookkeeper or additional accountant to help with tax time. Hire a cleaning service to deep clean your house before your in-laws arrive for the holidays. You can even get groceries delivered at participating stores. Ask yourself which thing is worth spending money to not have to stress over, and don’t give yourself grief for not wanting to deal with it. That’s why those services exist!
Take a Step Back
There will be days where the workload piles up and any extra projects get pushed to the back burner. Give yourself and your team permission to get through the day and do the bare minimum when this is the case. Do what is absolutely necessary as soon as you can and let everyone come back to non-essential items at a later date – it’s not like they’re going anywhere. Go home early if possible and spend a little time with family and loved ones. Hopefully, the next day you’ll feel refreshed and motivated to tackle those tasks.
It’s really easy to become sedentary this time of year. It’s not always possible to find the motivation or discipline to maintain a full workout routine, but a little bit of movement helps relieve stress and improves cognitive function. Twenty minutes a day is plenty – even the busiest person in the world can find time to take a quick walk around the block. Find ways to work it into your schedule, like taking a bit of your lunch to walk around the office building. Sometimes, you can get other members of your team involved in fitness efforts. See what people would be interested in, and try implementing a fitness initiative.
Get Your Office a Gift
Get something you’ve been wanting or needing around the office but haven’t gotten around to yet. Get another computer monitor, a higher quality scanner, or another piece of office equipment you’ve been eyeing. These are investments in your business, so don’t feel bad about needing them. If you use the holidays as an excuse, we won’t tell anyone.
Stay Well Rested
Make sure you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. It can feel difficult to get the rest you need when there are holiday events to attend and deadlines at work to reach. Make it a point to go to bed early enough to get restful sleep. Don’t use phones, tablets, or other screens with harsh lights for a full hour before going to bed.
Keeping your head on your shoulders always takes a certain amount of work, but it’s especially important for accountants to stay on top of their game this time of year. Remember, taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of others.