When approaching the finish line, athletes need to summon the final spurt of energy in order to finish the race. This is no different for accountants when they see the self assessment finish line in sight.
To push yourself across the line, AccountingWEB has compiled a handful of stretches to motivate you and assist you as you warm down after the race.
Feel the burn
Working long hours behind a desk, gorging on junk food, and battling the stress of SA can induce feelings of lethargy. Combat these feelings, by stepping inside the AccountingWEB workplace gym, and feel the burn from behind your desk.
Drop the dumb bell and revert to a stapler. As crazy as it sounds, clanging and banging a stapler in a deadlift fashion will still exert your muscles.
Step 1: Grab your stapler and stand with your arms straight at your sides
Step 2: Place the stapler in the palm of your right hand, then slowly lift your still-straight arm up to shoulder height
Step 3: Lower your arm back to the starting position
Step 4: Do 12-15 reps with each arm. You get bonus points if you do the exercise with a stapler in each hand
Look around your desk and see what other stationary you can wield to flex your tax return filing muscles.
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If you work on one of the higher levels of an office block, rather than using the lift, you can get your blood pumping by simply climbing the stairs.
Step 1: If you have stairs in your building, walk up and down for five to 10 minutes
Step 2: If you want more of a workout, take steps two at a time while climbing up
Step 3: If you don't have stairs in your building, march on the spot or take a brisk walk outside
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Like athletes gasping for breath after a race, it’s important that accountants take time to warm down. Throughout the busy season, accountants have been charging at full speed. Athletes don’t crash to a halt after a race, they gently warm down to prevent their muscles cramping up, and for their heart rate to return to normal.
Accountants should follow a similar regime once they have filed their final tax return so they don’t suffer work cramps.
Stretch your work muscles. Consider gradually easing out of your hectic work schedule, instead of dropping tools. If your busy season has inflicted an inordinate amount of stress, you may approach a return to normal duties with dread. Perhaps move on to other work ignored throughout the busy period.
As well as mentally warming down, it’s important you physically warm down. Spending long hours hunched over your desk will result in stiffened muscles. Before you start stretching, Deskercise author Dr Todd Berntson advises, as told to AccountingWEB.com, that you should, “get up and walk around a bit, or go up and down a flight or two of stairs or march in place, working your arms as well as your legs”.
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Straighten your back with the reaching upper back stretch, as originally found on AccountingWEB.com:
Step 1: Stand with your feet slightly apart
Step 2: Cross your arms with your palms facing downward
Step 3: Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height
Step 4: Reach forward as far as possible until your shoulders are slightly rounded
Step 5: Drop your head between your arms
Step 6: Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
Step 8: Repeat two to three times to ensure you have really stretched out your upper back
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Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
Step 2: Put your left hand behind your head with your elbow out
Step 3: Slowly bend at the waist to the right as you slide your right arm down to your right knee
Step 4: Do 10-15 reps and repeat on the other side
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Take a break
Over the last couple of months you will likely have been consumed by SA. Once you have warmed down, it’s time to unwind.
If you’re not escaping to a post-SA season break, or surrounding yourself with nature, CABA’s quick happiness boosters, published in their ‘health matters guide’, should perk you up.
- Make a compilation of music you associate with happy times
- Dig out photographs that make you smile
- Do something that takes you back to your childhood, such as eating a Sherbet Dip or blowing bubbles
- “Some scientists believe adopting positive body language can have an effect on your brain,” writes CABA. So walk tall, and this should translate into how you feel.
If you’ve incorporated any of our stretching and wellbeing exercises into your SA regime, comment below to let us know if you are feeling any fitter.
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.