Mental Health Awareness During Tax Season
Mental Health Awareness Week reminds us of the importance of supporting business owners during tax season.
While we expect mental health challenges to arise from traumatic events or terminal illnesses, daily life stressors effectively cause greater anxieties. The anxiety many business owners experience during tax season is, perhaps, an underestimated stressor that can have serious consequences. In several especially tragic cases, it’s been a culprit to suicide. 988 is a federal crisis hotline available to anyone who feels overwhelmed or is considering self-harm. Just as important as validating your feelings, is allowing yourself to remember that even the worst of times eventually pass. From high peaks, we all one day look down on those lower valleys and realize how much smaller they are, than they felt when we stood within them.
Tax Season Anxiety
For business owners, tax season can be an exceptionally stressful time. The pressure to ensure accurate financial records, navigate complex tax codes, and minimize tax liabilities can be overwhelming. The fear of making mistakes, facing audits, or missing out on potential deductions can lead to anxiety and sleepless nights. This persistent stress can manifest in various ways, affecting both physical and mental health.
Tax Stress Can Threaten Sobriety
To illustrate the potential impact of tax season anxiety, let’s consider the story of “Larry,” a small business owner. Larry was passionate about his business and worked tirelessly to make it successful. However, every year, as tax season approached, he became increasingly anxious and depressed. His anxiety levels were so high that he withdrew from his family and found an escape through gambling and other risky behaviors.
Over time he developed a gambling addiction that he’d later fight to overcome – with the struggle always resurfacing around tax season. This vicious cycle caused him to massive financial losses on top of the tax debt he resented paying. Even worse, it almost caused him to lose his family. Fortunately he successfully overcame his addiction, healed his marriage, and with the advice of good friends – hired an excellent tax planner.
The Hidden Toll of Daily Life Stressors
Larry’s story highlights an important truth: the impact of daily life stressors, such as tax season anxiety, can wreak havoc on our mental health and lives. This is especially true for business owners who bear the weight of their companies’ financial responsibilities.
Tax season stress can cause business owners to suffer:
The fear of financial consequences and making mistakes can lead to generalized anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
As in Larry’s case, prolonged stress can trigger depressive episodes, making it challenging to find joy or motivation in daily life.
Some may turn to substances like alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism, which can further deteriorate their mental health.
The relentless demands of tax season can contribute to burnout, characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and a decreased sense of accomplishment.
Investing in Mental Well-being
While tax planning primarily serves the immediate need to save business owners money, we should also view it as an investment in mental health. The financial stability and peace of mind that come from proactive tax planning mitigates excess taxes as well the perception of tax season as a massive obstacle. With effective and proactive tax planning, tax season can provide a sense of relief and opportunity as this is when all your strategies really pay off.
Business owners can implement the following practices to safeguard their mental well-being during tax season:
Seek Professional Help:
Consider hiring a qualified tax professional to manage your taxes, reducing the burden of navigating complex tax laws.
Dedicate time to self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and spending quality time with loved ones.
Connect with the people around you:
Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if you feel overwhelmed.
Start tax preparation early to avoid last-minute stress, and maintain organized financial records throughout the year.
Mental Health Awareness Week reminds us that mental well-being is more of an asset than time and money – and it affects both. The anxiety experienced by business owners during tax season is a real and can threaten their mental health. By recognizing the negative impact it can have, you’re empowered to change it. Never delay getting the help you need to protect your well-being and your finances.
Guess What? It’s not too late to make this tax season easier on your psyche and bank account. Schedule your free consultation to see how ISCPA can help you.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.