5 Creative Ways to Relieve Stress During Tax Season

Young woman practicing meditation at the office desk

Tax season is upon us, which means millions of Americans will be stressing out about filing their IRS forms correctly and whether they will receive a refund this year.

But just because getting ready for Tax Day can be emotionally taxing (see what I did there?) doesn’t mean it has to be. In fact, you can find fun ways to de-stress while preparing your taxes and waiting on your refund check. Here are five ways to let off some steam this tax season. (See also: 6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes)

1. Have a tax-themed movie marathon

Watching movies is a time-honored way of getting out of your own head for a little while. If you choose comedies to watch, you’ll reap even more stress-relief benefits as laughter releases neuropeptides that help fight stress and cause the body to release its own painkillers. Put that together and it’s clear that a tax-themed comedy movie marathon could be just ticket to feeling less overwhelmed by tax season.

Can’t think of any tax-themed comedies? There’s a surprisingly large number of films that fit the bill:

  • Stranger Than Fiction features Will Farrell as a tax auditor who discovers that he is actually a fictional character in a famous author’s book.

  • The Blues Brothers kick off their mission from the big man upstairs when they learn the orphanage where they were raised owes $5,000 in back taxes and will have to close if they can’t pay the IRS.

  • Happy Gilmore begins with the title character’s grandmother owing $270,000 in back taxes. High jinks ensue as Gilmore (played by Adam Sandler) realizes his ice hockey skills make him an excellent golfer.

  • The Producers shows what happens when a Broadway producer and his accountant realize they can keep all of their investors’ money if they intentionally produce a flop. This tax fraud is a major problem when their flop turns out to be a smash hit.

2. Write a profane limerick about paying taxes

While simply shouting “You forking IRS buttheads!!” (or something a little more profane) each time you get frustrated filling out your 1040 form will certainly help you to relieve your tax-related stress, taking the time to really savor the profanities you’d like to spout about your annoyance can make this even more fun. Plus, expressing your feelings verbally allows you to blow off steam and release those feelings so they aren’t stuck in your mind.

Limericks are traditionally both profane and funny, and you can challenge your friends to each come up with their own tax limericks. Whoever comes up with the funniest or most foul-mouthed poem wins.

3. Dance it out

There are a surprising number of tax-related songs out there, which means having a tax dance party would be brilliant way to dance your stress away. Not only does dancing get your heart rate up, which is an immediate mood booster, but cutting a rug to the following songs can remind you that tax woes are so universal that even famous musicians have to deal with them. (See also: These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness)

  • “Taxman” by The Beatles

  • “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G.

  • “Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks

  • “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel

  • “Money” by Pink Floyd

4. Host a potluck

Socializing is an important part of reducing stress, and if you’re worried about money because your tax bill is about to be due, hosting a potluck can be a great way to spend time with friends without emptying your wallet, or theirs. Each person can be assigned a dish, or bring desserts or beverages, and you can collectively commiserate over how you all wish you could stick it to The Man. (See also: Throw an Awesome Potluck Dinner With These 6 Easy Tricks)

5. Use extra IRS forms to make papier-mâché

Tax time is an ideal opportunity to get back in touch with your artistic side, and if you can use some of the infuriatingly complex tax forms to create your work of art, all the better. Creating a papier-mâché bowl or vase out of your excess IRS forms can feel immensely satisfying while also relieving your tax-related stress.

If it’s been awhile since you last made papier-mâché, don’t worry. It’s easy! Gather together your excess IRS forms, as well as some extra newspaper or other scrap paper to make sure you have enough paper for your project. Find a large plastic bottle or other large base for your papier-mâché project. Tear or cut the paper into one-inch wide strips. Mix one part water to three parts white glue. Dip your paper strips in the glue mixture, and start layering those bad boys on your base, placing no more than four layers of paper at any spot.

Let it dry completely, pull the papier-mâché shell from the base, and start painting it however you like. Consider painting the words “I survived filing my taxes!” across it and making it as a keepsake of this year’s tax season.

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5 Creative Ways to Relieve Stress During Tax Season

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