Tax season falls somewhere between a sprint and a marathon. Perhaps a better way to describe it is that it moves at the pace of a sprint but has the longevity of a marathon. Either way, it’s hard and burnout, at some point, is pretty much inevitable.
Or is it?
Just as runners prepare both their bodies and minds when getting ready for a race or a marathon, so too must we prioritize our own basic needs as we make our way through (an extended) tax season.
Here are three simple things you can do right now to help take better care of yourself so that you can have a more productive (and less exhausting) tax season:
Tip #1: Invest in a Good Water Bottle
Hydration is fundamental to keeping the body healthy and balanced, especially if you drink caffeine. Did you know that for every cup of coffee you drink, you need 2 cups of water to bring yourself back to equilibrium?
One way to determine whether or not you are drinking enough water is by tracking your water intake. You can do this by purchasing a 32oz water bottle and making sure you fill it up at least twice a day. Another helpful alternative is purchasing a water bottle with time markers on it, such as this one. If you glance at your water bottle, and it’s 10 am, but your water bottle is still at the 8 am marker, you know exactly how much water to drink to get yourself back on track.
Tip #2: Eat the Right Food (and at the right times of day)
When we are busy, it’s easy to forget to eat. Or we may go all day without eating and eat one large meal right before bed. Our bodies require energy throughout the day to keep us going. Stock your work area with food. This is not the time to start that new diet you’ve been considering for months. Your body needs healthy, calorie-dense foods that will sustain you during those long hours. Think low amounts of sugar and high amounts of healthy fat, protein, whole grains, and vegetables.
Some ideas include sliced chicken breast on organic whole grain bread, avocado toast or toast with almond butter, hardboiled eggs, and sliced vegetables with hummus. Greek yogurt and protein bars are also great ideas, provided they are low in sugar, such as these. Always remember to read the packaging!
Tip #3: Prioritize Sleep
This might seem obvious, but it’s easier said than done. We all know that our minds don’t operate at their peak when we are sleep deprived. Yet sleep deprivation and tax season go hand-in-hand.
So what to do about it?
If you don’t already have one, establish a healthy sleep schedule. Set a realistic bedtime and waketime, and do your best to maintain it. One thing that can help is turning off your phone at a designated time each night, preferably at least an hour before bed. When you are tempted to Google that one last thing, remind yourself that you both feel and perform better when you get enough rest. Finally, be mindful of your caffeine intake. Consuming too much caffeine, especially later in the day, will interfere with your sleep. If you need an extra boost in the afternoon, have a hearty snack. If you are still feeling sluggish, choose green tea over coffee.