Monday, April 8, 2013

Tax-Time Stress: 4 Tips for Staying Calm

Deep breathing, organization, and other strategies can reduce the stress of tax season.

Plant in pair of hands
Deep breathing, organization, and other strategies can reduce the stress of tax season.

April has arrived, the month of my birthday and … taxes. Yes, tax day is here again on Monday, April 15. Tax season a stressful time for many people, with complicated paperwork and a possible check to write the IRS. If you are like me and received correspondence from the IRS informing you that your taxes from two years ago were not calculated correctly, this month is especially stressful. Here are some tips for managing stress this month:

  1. Deep breathing. When we are experiencing stress we often take many shallow breaths, causing further physical stress to the body. Breathing deeply and slowly promotes relaxation of the body and mind.
  2. Organization. Keep all of your financial documents in one place, so that when you do your taxes you will not have to sort through other files or a stack of mail.
  3. Plan a quiet time to do your taxes. Schedule a time when you can focus on doing your taxes without distraction. Plan a time when you are not too tired or trying to do too many things at once.
  4. Plan on doing your taxes well before the April 15 deadline. This might not be an option this year, but you can learn for next year. This will give you time to look over your filing and check for errors. By doing your taxes early you can also get help from a tax accountant or file a tax extension.

By Traci Pantuso, ND, MS, naturopathic doctor and resident, Bastyr Center for Natural Health

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