The coronavirus and all the business shutdowns across the US have taken a terrible toll on our mental health. Workers who are used to being surrounded by other people all day have now been forced to work from home. That may have sounded attractive in the beginning but prolonged isolation and lack of social contact are not who we were meant to be. We are social animals who need contact with others.
In this article from the Washington Post, it is reported that nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Last month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Online therapy company Talkspace reported a 65 percent jump in clients since mid-February. Text messages and transcribed therapy sessions collected anonymously by the company show coronavirus-related anxiety dominating patients’ concerns.
Accountants are really feeling stressed to the max right now, for on top of being forced to work from home they have to deal with their regular tax season issues. If you are an accountant who is feeling anxious and having mental health issues during this far from normal time in our lives, don't feel bad about it. As you can see from the statistics above, you are not alone. The Rules of Thumb blog from MoneyThumb would like to direct you to an article from CPA Practice Advisor titled Mental Health Tips for Tax Pros During the Coronavirus Tax Season.
"Between new tax laws and changes as a result of COVID-19, the lack of in-person conversations with clients and juggling life at home, tax preparers need more support than ever before. This support can come in a variety of ways like adjusting benefits packages and incentives, for example, that encourages employees to prioritize mental wellness.
Benefits like flexible working hours paid time off, and access to mental health resources can help employees adjust to the “new normal” and avoid further stress or burnout. In addition to benefits, it’s also important for firms to reassess staffing plans and address related challenges. Firms can explore alternative staffing solutions by bringing in consultants or temp workers to alleviate overwhelming workloads."
The above is quoted from that CPA Practice Advisor article. They also offer 4 solid tips accounting firm leaders should implement to help their staff in these troubling times. Those tips are as follows:
- Prioritize personal health
- Exercise patience
- Encourage socialization
- Offer support
If you are finding as an accountant during tax season and this pandemic that your mental health is suffering, may we also suggest you read this article from LonerWolf. It discusses what is called Existential Depression, which in these strange times is not unusual for anyone to be suffering from. We have too much time on our hands, being isolated, and that can easily turn into getting stuck in our heads, wondering about life and our place in it. After all, existential depression is defined as a lack of meaning and soul connection. We are definitely missing some of those important soul connections that we have always relied upon.
The LonerWolf article is very in-depth and we suggest you take the time to read it in its entirety. This will be a great way to begin your weekend. If you wouldn't mind, can you please share this post on your social media page so that your peers in the accounting field and your other friends can take advantage of the information? Thank you!