So how is April 15th finding you this year? Wrought with stress, or breathing a little easier? Shuffling together last-minute receipts and W-2 forms, or calmly rifling through your bin of clearly-labeled folders? Depending on your situation, your timeliness, or perhaps your organization skills, Tax Day is either a mini-Christmas or a dreaded nightmare. Even if you’ve got the hang of tax season and can run the online quick tax programs in your sleep, chances are that it’s still no walk in the park. If you’re like most Americans, Tax Day can leave you feeling a little tense. Whether it’s because you’re significantly more likely to get in a car accident on this day, or because well over half of Americans find doing their taxes to be stressful, or because, per the IRS’ report, a full 1/3 of us wait until the last minute to file taxes; nationally speaking, we’re a hot mess come April 15th. Why the anxiety? "Money is a major source of stress on people, and what tax season does is shine a great big spotlight on the issue," says Michael McKee, a Cleveland Clinic psychologist and president of the U.S. branch of the International Stress Management Association for the WebMD website. "Money takes center stage at tax time, even if you might have been able to push it to the wings the rest of the year." It’s like a giant spotlight illuminating your dirtiest closet, biggest pimple, or your giant Justin Bieber CD collection. Talk about a taxing process.
Painful process aside, statistics are actually in your favor for getting money back from the IRS. In 2015 it was estimated by CNN that nearly eight out of ten of us get a tax return. If you find yourself in that happy majority, the question stands: just what to do with this mid-spring mini windfall. You could treat your family to a fancy dinner, yourself to a spa weekend, or your pooch to a week at Dan’s Doggy Daycare. Want an even better idea? We believe that treating yourself to a few more personal training and nutrition sessions at our studios is, hands-down, the very best use of your tax return. Here’s why:
- You know that stress we were talking about earlier? The cortisol-raising, brownie-binge-inducing, sleep-stealing, brain-zapping stress? It turns out that exercise zaps every one of those nasty effects of stress, plus does way more.
- Exercise can also elevate our self-esteem. Which is much-needed after our dirty (financial) laundry has been thoroughly aired and exposed.
- Forcing yourself now to keep a healthy routine of regular exercise and good nutrition drastically raises your likelihood of keeping it up in the future. Making exercise a top priority today is some of the best health insurance there is.
Filing your taxes is, for many people, one of the most stressful times of the year, second only to tornados or other natural disasters. When you finally finish, the return you get is like a little reward – for your hard work at your job, for your tax preparation and filing, and for making sure that you get enough taxes taken out all year long. Why not put the sudden extra funds toward maintaining your physical health and mental health, ensuring that you’ll be able to live the life you want for years to come? This year’s tax return could be a huge step toward an ongoing lifetime of health. Who knows? If you make a proactive health decision with your tax return every year, you might actually start looking forward to Tax Day.