15 Apr Taxes, taxes, taxes, and anxiety, and creativity!
As someone who considers themselves to be very right brained, doing my taxes brings about a new level of extreme anxiety in me. All that logical data that has to be entered correctly into the boxes, and with a sense that I am being judged for every item I include. In my head I hear the man at the IRS saying, “Did she really need that font?” or “She ordered how much toner last year?!” After nearly two weeks of gathering all my pieces of paper together, getting TurboTax to download and then update, and confronting the many changes in information needed, I’m done. It’s finally over. My taxes have been completed, checked, sent off – so my uber-anxiety is over for another year!
In the many days it has taken me to do my taxes, my anxiety has produced new levels of physical as well as mental discomfort. My stomach was unsettled and I found myself with nervous energy I needed to work off. At one point, after walking around and around, I went to my work table and started working on some paper flowers. It wasn’t a conscious act, I was really trying to stay focused on the taxes, but the umpteenth question about annual mileage and how I recorded it pushed me over the edge! Had I not been in tax anxiety overdrive, I would probably have decided I needed to stop and go and do something creative, but at that point I was beyond sensible thought. However, as I cut, stuck, and manipulated the paper, my anxiety levels subsided. I started to notice it was getting dark outside, and that it was way past dinner time. Simply changing over to working with my hands for awhile helped reduce my anxiety, and restored my awareness of reality.
All too often life throws us things at us that make us feel stressed. The quick and easy response is to take away the sting of the that stress and anxiety with food, drink – or whatever temporarily brings us peace. I would like to suggest that if we can train ourselves to create at such times instead, we will feel much better about ourselves the next day! To that end we need to collect the items that we can turn to without lots of thought, pick up, and start using. I always tend to have a project on the go on my work table, so often find myself wandering over and picking up elements and slowly getting drawn into what I was doing. By spending 10 minutes of so letting my mind wander off and contemplate the number of petals I need in this size, I can then return to the more stressful task refreshed, less tense, and ready to answer the impertinent questions one more time.
If you are are also feeling stressed by your taxes, can I suggest you go and download and print pages from one of my coloring books, then grab some markers or colored pencils, and give yourself a brief time out. it is amazing what doing something creative will do for relieving your anxiety induced by taxes!