7 steps to a healthier Self-Assessment season using mental wellness tips and tricks
If December was a hill, we’ve just reached the summit. The gentle slope towards Christmas lies ahead but today represents an opportunity to breathe and plan ahead. So take a moment and read on for 7 steps to a healthier Self-Assessment season using mental wellness tips and tricks because (and we hate to remind you!) just beyond that valley is the Everest that accountants call busy season.
71 – Prepare for your break
Not preparing for time off over Christmas is a mistake many of us don’t realise we’re making. Whether you’re planning a big festive celebration or having a quiet weekend at home, be sure to set yourself up so that you can switch off your laptop on the 24th and forget all about work.
Use the next week to:
Add a line to your email signature with your availability
Clear down your inbox
Create a plan for the first week back in January
Send emails out to chase information
Tidy your workspace
Clearing your administrative tasks will also clear your mind. You can log off knowing that you aren’t missing any surprises – and stay logged off till you’re back in work-mode!
72 – Check in with your body
When was the last time you checked in with your body? It’s a strange question for sure, but it’s something worth doing a few times a day.
This is part of a technique in meditation called body scanning which asks you to spend around half an hour ‘listening’ to what your body is telling you with the aches, pains, tingles and troubles you usually ignore. For more on why feeling your aches is actually a good thing, check out this article from Elaine Smookler at mindful.org.
You can easily apply body scanning to your office routine in a small way. When we’re anxious or stressed, we tend to lift our shoulders and drop our chin – which could be why your shoulders ache right now! Make it a habit to drop your shoulders and raise your chin when you get up from your desk and reap the benefits of a less stressed-out body.
73 – Say “It’s ok”
Acceptance is a powerful tool for managing stressful situations outside of our direct control.
This one’s a quick-fire, short-term solution for when you find yourself upset and unable to influence outcomes. Think about when you’re stuck in traffic on your way to a meeting. You’ve got a client waiting for you and no way to get to them. What can you do?
Maybe you give them a quick call to let them know you’ll be late. Then what? You’re still stuck and there’s nothing you can do about it – so acknowledge your stress then turn up the radio and accept it!
As Erin Olivo Ph.D. of Wise Mind Living puts it, “Acceptance works to reduce stress because it helps you manage your emotions. The true source of stress in your life is not whatever particular thing you think is stressing you out, it’s the emotion that thing is stirring in you. If you deny those distressing emotions – or ignore them, or misunderstand them – you create stress.”
So say “it’s ok” and find your zen!
74 – Do it slowly
Whatever ‘it’ is, do it slowly.
When you need to quiet your mind, choose an activity to do slowly. Have you got a few bits of washing up waiting for you? Go and do them, slowly. Immerse yourself in the sensory feedback from the hot water, the scent of the soap, the textures of the sponge and the sound of bubbles fizzing in the sink.
By giving your full attention to the task at hand in detail, you can give your mind a break from that client who still hasn’t sent in their tax return paperwork and won’t pick up the phone. While you’re experiencing the present, you don’t have to worry about the future.
75 – Get your groove on
Press play on an upbeat playlist like Spotify’s Feel Good Friday, turn up the volume and dance like no one’s watching (be sure you’re not accidentally still connected to that important Zoom call!)
Just ask the participants in a 2017 Australian study; those who actively engaged with music had significantly higher wellbeing scores than those who didn’t.
76 – Get your move on
Dancing like you’re a superstar isn’t the only way to relieve the stress of busy season. But when you’ve got a stack of client returns to wade through, you might find yourself chained to your desk all week with little motivation to do anything in the evening except hibernate on the sofa.
This week, take a look at options for exercise in your area in January and book yourself in! Committing now will help you follow through with your plans in the future. Your wellbeing will thank you later.
In the words of Thoreau, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!”
77 – Rant it out
None of us are always rays of sunshine, and some days it’s all a bit too much. Find a willing friend and let it out. Research shows that voicing frustrations is an effective stress reliever, with the added benefits of validation, problem-solving, outside perspective and motivation to boot.
Over January, if your team is showing signs of stress, consider bringing them together for a casual chat over coffee. It might be the boost you all need to push on through.
The final step
That’s it! We’ve been on a journey to share these 77 steps to a more enjoyable Self-Assessment season with you since September, and now January is just around the corner.
Our team would love to help you explore how software can make all the difference when busy season hits – and beyond! From bookkeeping integrations to final submission, get in touch to find out more.
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