Stress, Insomnia and Taxes?
Are we getting close to the time to lodge our tax returns? At the end of each Australian tax year, on 1 July, many of us have to voluntarily lodge a tax return. For some of us, the stress of having to sort through the income, expenses and numbers keeps us awake at night. If worrying over tax season is keeping you awake at night, here are some reasons why you need more sleep and less worry.
Delegate - Is the fear of individual or business tax due or a tax penalty causing insomnia? Get a tax advisor or accountant to help you with the paperwork. Getting an expert to help you with your tax paperwork can bring you the relief you need to rest at night.
Morning schedule - The best time to work on tax filing forms is around 10 am in the morning for most people with a regular sleep-work schedule. Around 10 am in the morning we biologically tend to be the most alert and have the best concentration.
Take your time - Work on your taxes over a couple of days in short durations. A short nap between complex problems helps some people arrive at the best answer. And, for most of us, a good night's sleep and fresh look at the tax tables allows for clear thoughts and focus.
Stress causes insomnia - Most of our bodies release stress hormones (including adrenaline and cortisol), part of a complex cycle and one of the end results is a lack of sleep. Tax filing stress may cause insomnia for some of us, so address the sleeplessness with diet, exercise and smart-timing.
Avoid high-calorie drinks and foods - There may be a vicious cycle of craving fatty, salty, sweet or caffeinated foods and drinks during stressful times like tax filing deadlines. Make a conscious effort to pick healthier foods, eat with family and friends and eat reasonable servings during stressful times.
Exercise - Go for a quick walk (or bike ride, or swim) during the day, but not after dinner. Get outside, over to the gym or take an exercise class. Exercise increases your hormones that help you deal with stress, can release endorphins, improve your mood and reduce sleeplessness.
Go to bed early - When our minds are full of worry, such as tax deductions and tax payments, it takes longer to relax and get into sleep. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. Make sure the room is dark and quiet. Give your mind a chance to relax.
Shift-work and FIFO - Are you working at night or Fly-In-Fly-Out from a remote job site? Talk to your co-workers or support team about the stress, but not about your tax details. Sometimes talking to others about the worry of juggling life, work and tax filing deadlines is a start to getting sleep and finishing our tax season.
Take a day off - Sometimes the stress of work and personal commitments compound the stress of tax season. Our mental health is hard to measure and we may need a day of separation from the office, break from volunteer activities or time off from school commitments to relax.
Limit big decisions - If tax season is stressing you out, try to avoid making other big decisions like buying a car or changing jobs. During periods of stress and insomnia we tend to have riskier behaviour and can make decisions that cause us more stress in the future.
At Bedshed we know that a great mattress and perfect pillow won't remove the stress of tax season, but we are thinking about our tax filings and our fellow taxpayers like you, too.