3 min read

Burnout Sucks, We Know


With the tax season behind us, you can finally catch your breath. But what comes after the long hours and high pressure? For many of us, it’s all too common yet rarely addressed effectively: burnout. It is crucial to understand what burnout is — more than just stress, it’s a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged pressure without feeling valued or fulfilled. 



The Effects of Overworking

The tax season marathon often asks more of us than we can sustain. This overexertion doesn’t just leave us tired; it can significantly harm our physical and mental health. And symptoms like constant fatigue, irritability, a growing disinterest in work, and an extreme lack of motivation are alarm bells we shouldn’t ignore

The effects of overworking don’t stop at individual health; they permeate our personal lives, affecting relationships and quality of life. The constant push to meet ever-present deadlines can mean missed family events, strained relationships, and disconnecting from our social circles. It can alter our sleep patterns, eating habits, and even our ability to enjoy what we once loved. 

Work is work. And when it’s time to work, it’s time to work — groundbreaking stuff right here! But this cycle of neglecting personal needs in favor of work not only exacerbates the symptoms of burnout but also creates a longer path to recovery. Recognizing the comprehensive impact of overworking is vital, as it underscores the importance of taking holistic measures for recovery, not just for our careers but for our overall well-being and those around us.


6 Immediate Steps for Recovery

After you’ve filed that last return and the ceaseless buzz of the office gives way to quiet stillness, the remnants of the tax season’s chaos are probably still lingering in your mind and body. And that’s understandable. Tax season is intense.

Here are some immediate steps you can take to start slowly working your way back to a place where you feel fulfilled and relieved from the pressure:

1. Prioritize Relaxation: This can mean anything from indulging in a long, peaceful bath to meditating or simply spending a quiet evening with a book. The key is to find activities that genuinely relax you and allow your mind to wander away from the confines of work. Consider techniques like intentional deep breathing or mindfulness to help reset your stress levels and bring you back to the present.


2. Take Time Off: It may seem obvious, yet it’s often overlooked. And this doesn’t necessarily mean taking a vacation or even a staycation to disconnect from work-related communications. Time off can be as simple as dedicating a few days to yourself, doing whatever brings you peace and happiness. It’s about slowly getting your mental health back to a healthy space instead of making a huge jump to try to fix it immediately.


3. Set Boundaries: Establishing clear work-life boundaries after a stressful work period is crucial. This might mean turning off work emails after a particular hour or dedicating specific days to family time or self-care. Inform your team and clients of these boundaries to ensure they’re respected. More importantly, hold yourself accountable for prioritizing your well-being by giving yourself these breaks and stepping back from work.


4. Daily Exercise: Just to be clear, we don’t mean trying to deadlift 300 lbs before running 15 miles. Daily exercise can be taking an hour-long walk, cycling around the park, or doing 10 pushups and calling it a day. It’s not so much about trying to become the next Kai Greene (although it’s never too late to get super jacked) but about giving yourself some structure in your free time, keeping your body active, and getting those endorphins flowing. 


5. Pursue Hobbies: Reclaiming or discovering hobbies outside work can be profoundly therapeutic. Whether painting, gardening, playing a musical instrument, or woodworking, hobbies can provide a much-needed outlet for creative expression and stress relief. 


6. Give Yourself Time: Dealing with burnout is never easy. You might feel alone, and you might feel pressured that you aren’t recovering soon enough. Don’t give in to this pressure. DO. NOT. GIVE. IN. Burnout affects everyone differently, and that includes you. Give yourself grace and time to recover at a speed that feels right for you. 


Using Technology to Make Work Easier

Leveraging technology can significantly ease the workload. Tools that automate repetitive tasks, simplify project management, or facilitate communication can save valuable time. Focusing on user-friendly solutions, such as streamlined software for tax filing or client management systems, can reduce stress without the need to dive deep into the technicalities.


Supporting Each Other in the Workplace

Creating a supportive work environment and culture is crucial to making it safely through tax season. Encouraging open conversations about workload and mental health without judgment can foster a culture of care. Sharing experiences and coping strategies can help everyone feel less isolated in their struggles and inspire new ways to manage stress. And creating a culture of helping each other and taking ownership as a group will help teams work better as a unit.


Moving Forward


We can navigate post-tax season burnout by taking immediate steps to take space from work, adopting long-term wellness habits, using technology smartly, and fostering colleague support and a culture that builds the team up together. 

While tax season will never be easy for any accountant, it helps to have a plan of action for when the proverbial excrement starts hitting the rotating wind-blowing device. What are some strategies you’ve used to get yourself out of burnout?

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