Since I became self employed, every year I’ve had to submit a tax return.
And every single year I avoid doing it for as long as humanely possible until this year. This year, however, for the very first time I did my tax return a month before I had to submit it!
The issue is the longer you put something off something that you’re worried about, like submitting my tax return, the bigger it becomes meaning the more:
- Headspace it consumes
- Time it takes up
- Money it loses you
- Sleep you forfeit
Imagine if instead I had submitted last year in April, even earlier, when I could have.
What would that have meant?
- No head scratching going over old statements or receipts wondering what they were for and getting cross with myself about it
- More diligence and really researching what else I could have included as expenses (meaning I’d save some hard earned cash)
- Increased head space to focus on what’s more important
- Feeling better about myself as I would have kept a tally of my numbers throughout the year
- Life would have been more certain as I would have known what my income and expenditure were
- Budgeted properly for paying my tax bill
- I wouldn’t have worried about it over Christmas
Why do I avoid it?
On the surface of it – maybe it’s because it was daunting, too complicated, I couldn’t be bothered doing it?
The truth is though… it’s on my threat register as something that’s scary.
- I’m scared as it makes me feel vulnerable in case I get something wrong.
- I’m scared to face up to the finances. It’s a marker for success or failure and it feels I’m measured against that.
- I’m scared as it’s a hard number that shows all the hours I’ve worked against how much I’ve contributed to my family.
And it’s these fears that don’t make me feel ‘safe’ on my ‘threat register’ which makes my friend anxiety become active.
Rather than confront these fears and remind myself that I am safe and it’s ok… in the past, I have avoided.
This has been the first year that I’ve actually confronted this and sat with these fears and worked out my avoidance. It resulted in an earlier than normal tax return.
It feels amazing to really recognise what this is about. It’s like a light switch going ‘a-ha’ and realising how it’s just an old out-dated threat.
Whilst the vast majority of you won’t have tax returns to do – I’m sure this story of avoidance is something you can relate to.
There’s all sorts of things that will make you anxious, worried, concerned and as such you will then avoid? Maybe….
- It’s the deadline at work?
- It’s the honest discussion with a member of your family or partner?
- It’s seeing friends or gathering in social situations (post covid)?
- It’s going on zoom for a class?
- It’s the clearing out your home or unpacking of boxes?
- It’s the starting of a new job or change of career?
- It’s saying no to someone?
- It’s the asking for help?
- It’s the taking the kids out for the day or somewhere that might be difficult?
This may mean that it will cost you more in time, energy, headspace and (possibly) financially rather than just facing it head on. And will probably result in a feeling of failure, a narrative that ‘I can’t do it’ or a general feeling of overwhelm.
It takes bravery to take the time to face up to what your ‘threats’ are.
It means facing up to your fears and feeling vulnerable.
The benefits though are massive.
- It helps you to think clearly again so you can focus on what’s important to you such as your kids, family, career or whatever else that might be meaning you’re happy to sit and get the board games out or apply for that new job
- It increases your energy as you’re not so exhausted by the thoughts meaning you have the energy and motivation to go for the walks/exercise/take the kids out/do things round the house/apply for that job
- It means you feel more fulfilled as you can focus on doing things that serve your needs and make you feel good such as a book/personal development/time with the kids rather than sitting scrolling for hours on social media avoiding your ‘thing’
- It allows you to think rationally about the situation so you’re able to sleep more easily at night
- It stops you from shouting at the kids as there’s less going in your head meaning you’re feeling more patient and calm
I’m running a group programme from mid-February – Finding freedom from the impact of anxiety. This is a step by step programme for mums who want to regain their lives, time, energy and headspace.
If you’d like join the group programme, contact me here.
Much love, Tricia xxx