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Cook County Tax Tips

County docs offer stress-relieving tips to help taxpayers as they crunch numbers before April 15

CHICAGO - In the two weeks leading up to April 15 - Tax Day - thousands of Cook County residents will be thumbing through W2s and stressing out about whether or not they will receive a refund, or if they will have to pay Uncle Sam. To help navigate people through the long nights of filing, Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) doctors are offering a few stress relief tips of their own.

Tax Season doesn't have to be a stressful time of year, but CCHHS doctors recommend learning how to deal with it and suggest taking proactive measures to alleviate it. Some suggestions include:

1. Hit the gym.

Doing yoga, biking outside, jumping rope and pumping iron will help to alleviate stress. During anxiety-ridden situations such as preparing tax forms, going to the gym will burn adrenaline, and thus, reduce stress. While getting the right amount of exercise will keep you physically fit, it will help you to be mentally fit and promote a sense of mental health and well being, as well.

2. Get enough Zzzz's.

While burning the midnight oil to find those final deductions may seem like a good idea, it may do more harm than good. Constant stress and worry has a diminishing affect on your health and quality of life, and stress and anxiety can disrupt the normal sleep cycle. A restful night's sleep will benefit you before and after you mail in those taxes.

3. Pass on the espresso.

Because dollar signs and filling out complex paperwork can be stressful on their own, taking proactive measures such as cutting down on caffeine will help reduce even more feelings of agitation and anxiousness. Like nicotine, caffeine can be overly stimulating for the mind and body and make you feel worse.

* * *

Stress may also lead people to raid the refrigerator, eat unhealthy foods and seek out comfort foods.

Because financial stress skyrockets during Tax Season, people often experience decreased immunity and health problems like a stiff back, strained eyes, headaches, and heartburn, but it can also lead to another problem - depression. Determining what triggers both physical and mental stress and minimizing that stress, is imperative.

"During stressful times it is especially important to take a moment to listen to your body. If you have tightness or tension in your back, that is your body telling you something. Try to relax and go for a walk to flex the muscles," said CCHHS Director of the Section of Behavioral and Preventive Medicine Dr. Dave Goldberg. "It's also important to be mindful of your mood as stress accentuate negative thoughts and cause even more stress."

If it's clear that tax stress is getting the best of your health, you may want to consider visiting an accountant. The main goal, after all, is staying healthy.

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CCHHS (formerly known as the Cook County Bureau of Health Services) oversees a comprehensive, integrated system of healthcare throughout Chicago and suburban Cook County through its hospitals, ambulatory and community health network clinics, public health department, correctional healthcare facility, and outpatient infectious disease center.

The CCHHS is comprised of: John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, Provident Hospital, Oak Forest Hospital, Cook County Department of Public Health, Cermak Health Services, the Ruth Rothstein CORE Center and the Ambulatory and Community Health Network (ACHN) health centers.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 6, 2010


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