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Stress Less – Part I

By February 22, 2020March 13th, 2022CPA Exam News

It’s tax season at work, and you are also progressing towards your CPA certification, so it’s completely normal to feel some stress right now. But how much pressure are you shouldering? Is it damaging your quality of life?

Don’t look back on this season of your life and realize you missed some great days because you were always stressed out.

What do psychologists say about stress?

Stress is not all bad! Psychologists define eustress as “good stress” or “positive stress;” think of it as just the right amount of stress to inspire and increase performance. On opposite ends of the spectrum are being under-stressed or over-stressed. Not enough stress leads to a lack of motivation and minimal accomplishment. On the other hand, too much stress leads to overwhelm, paralysis, lack of sleep, health issues, panic attacks, emotional disorders, and on and on the list goes. The solution is not to escape stress altogether, but rather to manage it for optimal performance. So some ideas…

Should I quit?

We want to start with the most extreme idea and then move down the scale. Sometimes severe distress can indicate the need for a complete life-change, such as switching to a new career!

Please note: we don’t recommend jumping into this decision without a great deal of scrutiny and consideration.

Your habits; your life

Set-up new habits to decrease stress in your life, or in other words, come up with a new “life system.” To do so:

  • Can you identify the leading cause(s) of stress in your life?
  • Once you’ve identified those, do you have any ideas of what would help decrease these stressors? If your first thought is, “nothing will help,” then maybe try one of our other ideas (below or in Part II) to step back from the situation and look at it with a clear mind later on.
  • If you still feel there’s no solution, ask a friend or family member or co-worker for perspective on your situation and see if they have insights you might be missing.

Please note: We know life problems and chronic stress can be extremely complex, so we don’t want to imply that a solution is easy. But once you’ve analyzed the issue, we hope you start to see that there are solutions, even if these solutions take time and concentrated effort to implement.

Health matters

Incorporate healthy habits! Exercise (find a time that consistently works best for you), eat healthy meals and snacks and make getting adequate, quality sleep a priority.

Please note: We kept this one short not because it isn’t vitally important, but because we talk about it in a blog post here–>

Do you see what I see?

Change your perspective. Easier said than done, right? But stress is our reaction to events based on our perception. For example,

  • The CPA candidate who views a situation as an adventure will have much less stress than a candidate who encounters the same situation but perceives it as an ordeal
  • Similarly, the accountant who views a client’s set of books as a challenge to fix rather than as a complete disaster to suffer through will also shoulder less stress

No matter what circumstances you are facing, there are always multiple perceptions of that same event. You get to choose your perspective, so choose well because this choice can have radical life implications.

Please note: The first step is often to replace your internal vocabulary with proactive language. Instead of “I have to,” use “I choose to.” Or instead of “I can’t” or “I don’t have time,” use “I can” or “I am choosing not to.”

Why can’t I focus!?

Cut out distractions that infringe on your time and mentally drain you, particularly technology. Do you allow constant interruptions rather than giving yourself space for deep work and complete focus? If so, that can lead to stress even when the demands upon your time are quite manageable.

Please note: For more detail, please see our earlier blog post on this as well –

Next up: more joy, please!

Find things that truly bring you joy! If crafting or watching sports or being with animals or getting a massage or organizing your closet gives you a boost (and reduces that stressed-out feeling), then incorporate that activity regularly.

Please note: It’s okay if other people don’t understand why certain things bring you joy. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks; keep embracing those things that make you come alive.

We threw a lot of information and ideas at you; hopefully, that doesn’t stress you out! That certainly wasn’t our goal. We all get caught up in feeling overwhelmed or fear or uncertainty, but you only have one life to live #YOLO. Do you really want to live it all stressed out? We believe it’s possible to enjoy the process, even in the busyness, even when studying for the CPA Exam, and still be at peace.

CTA: Wanting some additional ideas to stress less? Check out Yaeger’s affordable and flexible study materials. We know the content on the CPA Exams, and we know how to prepare you well.