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Stress management is a key element in maintaining your mental health. One major factor in feeling stressed is our perception that we've lost control. Here are some ways to manage your mental health and keep your stress under control. 
 
  1. Don't procrastinate

    Tackle projects a little at a time so you don't feel overwhelmed later. There are a variety of tools that can help you manage your time efficiently. “A project tracker can be a great tool to keep you focused on making progress,” says manager of Gundersen Health System's Employee Assistance Program – and clinical social worker – Amber Sherman. “Many of these can be found online. Or you can get creative and make your own.”

  2. Manage your time and plan ahead

    The more prepared you are, the less likely something will catch you off guard. Try to allow extra time to be able to do things and don't forget to allow yourself enough time to get to your next appointment or complete your next task.

  3. Don't be afraid to say no

    If someone needs help from you and you just don't feel that you have the time or energy to do it, it is ok to say no. Setting aside time for yourself – and sticking to it – can go a long way in reducing your stress and anxiety. “Remember that ‘no’ is a complete sentence. You don’t have to offer any justification or rationale for declining an invitation for something you’d rather not do,” says Amber.

  4. Don't be afraid to ask for help

    Others are generally willing to help out with tasks big and small, you just need to ask. “We all need help from time to time when life becomes overwhelming. Learning how and when to ask for help can relieve the pressure of a difficult situation,” adds Amber.

  5. Live within your budget

    Money can be a drain on your mental health if you don’t manage it correctly. “Take charge of your personal finances by creating a budget every month and sticking to it as much as possible,” suggests Amber.

  6. Remember to be grateful

    There is a strong connection between gratitude and mental health. By recognizing the positive aspects of your life, you can relieve stress and appreciate many positive health benefits. “Developing a daily gratitude practice can be a powerful tool to refocus your energy on what’s going well in your life,” recommends Amber. “Pick a time every day to sit down and reflect on the positive. You might even consider writing in a journal about things you are grateful for each day.”

  7. Simpler life = less stress

    When you simplify and unclutter your life, it makes everyday tasks much more manageable. “Start with one small area of your space per day, maybe one drawer or countertop to clear out. Over time you will be able to conquer the clutter,” says Amber.

  8. Notice and address anxious thought

    If you are dwelling on something that happened in the past, notice those thoughts and try to refocus on what is right in front of you. This might be a good time to practice some deep breathing or other mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.

  9. Slow down your life

    It is important that you take the time to take care of your mental health. Be mindful of the aspects of your life that can be stressful so you can allow for more time and energy to tackle them.

  10. Take care of yourself

    Make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. When we take care of our physical body, our whole bodies are better able to handle the stressors life throws at us. Spice things up by learning some new exercises to do at home or an exciting way to refresh a traditional recipe.

Following these tips is a great way to control your stress on your own. If you need help dealing with stress, contact your primary care provider or  Gundersen Behavioral Health. Your company’s employee assistance program – if it has one – can also be a good resource.

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