4 neat ways to reduce stress and still meet your deadlines

We are at that point in the year where many of us, particularly accountants, batten down the hatches and emerge burnt out in early February. Therefore, we thought we should share with you the best techniques that we have found, to dial down your stress levels and still meet your deadlines.

Eat healthily and drink in moderation

We know that this is definitely easier said than done! Particularly as Easter Eggs have just begun making an appearance. Putting my best Scourge hat on now, there is no reason why you have to eat and imbibe everything which is on offer. Research has shown that the usual suspects, such as alcohol, caffeine and processed foods, can all contribute to increased stress levels. As the saying goes, everything in moderation. Therefore, fill up on the highly nutritious, non-processed type foods before enjoying a little bit of what you fancy. After all, vitamin ‘pleasure’ is an important way to reduce your stress levels.

Remember what will get done will get done

When everything seems overwhelming it is worth remembering that you can only get done, what you and the team can get done. If a client misses the many deadlines you set for them, then it is not your fault if their tax return gets left until last. Generally, as a profession, we are far too good at bending over backwards to accommodate our clients’ needs. There comes a point where enough is enough. Your clients may need to learn that you can’t magic a complete set of accounts or an accurately filled in tax return out of thin air or scraps of paper.

Have a support team to lean upon

Your support team is there for the good and bad times. The right make up of a support team will differ for each individual. However, it is likely to contain support for your home life, an external mentor/coach, as well as people you can trust within your firm. As the old BT advert used to go, it’s good to talk. So make sure you take the time to check in with your support team and vent any frustration out to ensure you are not bottling up your stress and angst.

Increase your general level of activity.

We know, particularly at this time of year, you can feel like you are chained to your desk. However, the human body is designed for physical activity. We were designed to often walk more than 10km a day to forage for food and water. Would you be able to walk that distance now? Physical activity, as well as being a great stress reduction tool, is vital for our mental wellbeing and stamina.

Let’s now look in more detail how just a small increase in your level of activity helps you to maintain high levels of productivity during peak periods of high workload. When you exercise, your body starts to produce serotonin. Serotonin enhances your mind and helps you clarify your thinking. This is why it often gets easier to take a decision, work out what’s going on, or cope with an event if you go for a walk or run. (Or get that tax return from hell completed!) However, serotonin has even more benefits to our health. It is the precursor to melatonin, which is the chemical our body produces to help reach deep sleep. When you sleep deeply you wake up in the morning fully refreshed and ready to tackle the day. In turn, you’ve got more energy left to do more exercise and therefore produce more serotonin, which makes you a happier and more effective person because you can think more clearly.

To summarise, being proactive at managing your own personal well-being is vital to help you reduce your stress levels at this peak period of the year. Just some small tweaks such as doing more exercise or eating healthily can make a big difference to how well you manage your stress levels.

We hope this helps! Good luck!

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Posted in For Accountancy Practices.