Today’s post is a guest blog by Brendan Wu, Co-founder and CFO of Common Ledger.
At Common Ledger we’re pleased and proud to be teaming up with our buddies from Sqrl. Together we think we’ve got plenty to offer the accounting world and we’re starting by showing accountants the love
Around the world there’s one time of the year that looms ominously over accountants. The financial year end just passed – 31 March down here in little old New Zealand. For these next few months, accountants far and wide bury their heads into managing clients’ affairs. Information is requested, creative client entries are queried and transactions constantly verified. All of this required in the name of trustworthy, financial stewardship.
Accountants work tirelessly so their clients are prepared to tackle the next financial year. It’s all part of the game, part of being a business advisor.
However, given the growing speed and complexity of businesses accountants are constantly required to up their game. No one ever said it was easy and I, also of the accounting ilk understand that.
Through this busy period of the year, we all need to stop, take a moment and de-stress. Breathe. Apart from eating healthy, drinking less and not smoking any there are other ways to give ourselves some time to down tools before re-entering and facing off with the general ledger once again.
Meditation helps reduce the amount of processing activity taking place in our brain. This allows us to relax, increase focus and reduce anxiety. It’s also been shown to help people perform better under pressure. Well known, science-based, medical facilities such as the Menninger Clinic and the Mayo Clinic have been sufficiently impressed with the results of meditation – both now run clinics specializing in the technique. Take 10 minutes out of your day to turn yoga-like and unlock some of the impressive benefits.
Singing, no matter how good or bad you sound has its place – and as it turns out important benefits. The activity releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins, draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation, reducing stress. Research from Harvard and Yale Universities confirms that singing further reduces stress by lowering the heart rate and encouraging the release of those mood enhancing endorphins in our brains.
When we sing we stimulate the vagus nerve (no, not that Vegas – tut tut tut) that runs down the back of the sinus cavity and throat. This relaxes the body, naturally relieving tension caused by stress. What’s more the benefits of singing are increased when we sing with others. Get some friends or colleagues together and sing it loud – all together!
Typically, one of the first things to fall away around year end when we’re busy is exercise. But it’s even more important in crazed high-pressure times. Ensure this doesn’t happen to you – hit the pavement for a jog, jump on your bike for a ride or splash into the pool for a swim.
The benefits are big – firstly, cardiovascular exercise stimulate brain chemicals that foster the growth of nerve cells. Secondly, exercise increases the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine (more feel good brain chemicals). Finally, a raised heart rate releases endorphins and the ANP hormone, which reduces pain, induces euphoria, and helps control the brain’s response to stress and anxiety. Wow, we’ve got no excuses now.
Release your inner child
Being an accountant is a very serious matter. We are the custodians of all things financial and with that comes a duty of care. It’s part of our DNA to take things seriously (that’s why we wear glasses, suits and are born skeptical), but in doing so the child within us is tucked away. We risk losing that ability to dream the impossible and live in that spirited feeling of complete freedom. Don’t fall into the trap. Smile, giggle, laugh – it’s good for you. Being a kid again keeps the heart and mind young, vibrant and playful.
Physical contact with others reduces stress too. Snuggling and cuddling releases oxytocin which is also known as ‘the feel good hormone’ – it increases overall happiness and creates a sense of well being. The chemical reaction stemming from a good hug helps reduce blood pressure which reduces the risk of heart disease and reduces stress and any anxiety. Research from Harvard University shows that eight hugs a day allows you to reap the full benefits of oxytocin. Go on, get cuddling!
Share some love
As the saying goes “it is better to give than to receive” so why not share the love? Giving provides us with that feel good factor, those warm fuzzies and in return, that truly amazing “awwww” (c’mon we’ve all felt it). There’s no better way of reducing stress than dishing out a nice dose of happiness. Go ahead and do something to show your appreciation to a colleague or a random stranger and feel the stress melt away.
Common Ledger is a part of the accountants ecosystem. We understand the pressures faced when confronted with a barrage of numbers. That’s why we’re asking both clients and fellow accountants to take time out and show some love to our ‘bean counters’.
To help this, we’ve built Love Thy Accountant. A simple campaign to show true appreciation to the unsung heroes of the business world. On the Love Thy Accountant website anyone can choose how they wish to show their accountant (or any accountant) some love. Thanks to some very generous sponsors, we even have prizes to give to accountants, and to the kind person who took time to share the love.
A little bit of appreciation and a bit of love to our accountants goes a long way.
So be stress free and go forth and share the love below!