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4 Tips for Dealing with Tax Day Woes without Booze or Drugs
Tax season is officially upon us. With less than a month to go before taxes are due in, this is around the time of the year when many people who put off doing their taxes before now – especially those waiting for notoriously late 1099s – start to stress out. Tax season isn’t just stressful because tax filing is a headache, but for a lot of people, worries extend beyond the paperwork. Will you get the amount back that you are expecting to? Will you have to pay in far more than you’re expecting to? Do your deductions properly align with your records? What will happen if you make a mistake? These worries and plenty of others haunt many people around this time of the year and for addicts, stress can easily lead to alcohol or drug use. Knowing how to deal with the particular kind of stress that tax season brings can help you to prepare and your protect yourself from a senseless, stress-induced relapse. So consider some of the following tips if you’re feeling number-crunching weight.
- Reach out if you need help.
You don’t have to face tax season alone! Go to a professional for help with your taxes and you can usually write off the preparation fees in the coming year. It’s important to know what’s within your skill set. Just because you know how to file your own taxes doesn’t mean that you should. It might take you far longer than it takes someone else and you might wonder if you’re making vital mistakes. An accountant who prepares taxes for a living know how to spot errors and can help ensure that your taxes are filed quickly and properly.
- Instead of thinking about the process, begin the process.
We often build things up to be more than they are mentally. The amount of stress many of us feel about taxes is usually inappropriate, but it feels extreme because we haven’t yet started the process of filing our taxes yet. Instead, we spend our time pacing and thinking about what a pain it is. The next time you catch yourself thinking like this, force yourself to act on your stress rather than just sit there and listen to it.
3. Take it one step at a time.
Sometimes taxes seem so daunting because, in fact, they are! Self-employed taxpayers have especially difficult tax filing on their hands, usually involving multiple streams of income and a wide variety of deductions. If you fall into this category, try taking your tax thoughts one month at a time. Start with January 2014 focus on your records from that month. What did you spend? What did you earn? Once January is behind you, it’s that much easier to move on and into February.
It’s easier said than done, of course, but you do need to compartmentalize your tasks and thoughts. Once you’ve done the work on your taxes in a day that you set out to do, turn off the tax stress. Exercise, meditate, take a long walk or a bath – do whatever it takes to silence your inner stress. Everything really will be alright.
Elizabeth Seward has written about health and wellness for Discovery Health, National Geographic, How Stuff Works Health, and many other online and print publications. As a former touring rock musician, Elizabeth has firsthand experience with the struggles of substance abuse and the loss of loved ones because of it. She believes in the restorative power of yoga, meditation, talk therapy, and plant-based diets and she is an advocate for progressive drug policy reform.