Actively managing your health is challenging and can be exhausting. There are so many things to consider and remember: appointment times, routines, foods to avoid, and for some of us, medication. Between doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies, medication issues can arise quickly and with no warning. Here are four tips for staying on top of your medication.

Sort out your medication into daily boxes.
If you take multiple medications, it is easy to forget to take the right pills at the right time. Local pharmacies and most grocery stores sell medication boxes with sections for each day of the week. The boxes, like this weekly organizer, are usually inexpensive and are worth their weight in gold. Take some time at the beginning of the week to fill up each section with your daily medications. If you take medicine multiple times a day, look for boxes divided into AM and PM sections. Once your medicine is sorted, it is easier to remember to take everything you need.

Use a calendar to keep track of refills.
Depending on the strength, brand, and classification of psychiatric medications, certain pills can only be dispensed in small amounts. Others can be filled once a month, and some insurance companies encourage clients to fill a 90-day prescription and have it mailed to them. With so many variables, losing track of when something needs to be refilled is a common concern. Using a calendar to mark when a prescription is picked up from the pharmacy and when a refill needs to be called in will keep you from missing an essential medication. If the refill will need to be called in on the weekend, be sure to check your pharmacy’s hours to make sure they will be able to fill the prescription.

Check-in regularly with your insurance company.
Many insurance companies have specific requirements clients must meet for medications to be covered. Unfortunately, these requirements can change without warning. You might suddenly end up paying much more money than usual when you pick up the prescription, regardless of how many times you have refilled the medication in the past. Many insurance companies have websites where clients can view information about their prescriptions. Visiting these websites once a month will help you avoid unwelcome surprises at the pharmacy.

Document any unusual side effects.
An often-forgotten part of managing medication is checking for side effects. Mental health medication changes the way your brain processes certain stimuli. While this is helpful and usually the goal, medication can stop working as well or start to cause strange reactions, even if you have been taking the medication for a long time. Keeping track of those issues will help you and your doctor make sure the medication you take is the most beneficial for you.

Staring at pill bottles and prescription slips can be intimidating. The thought of running out of an essential medication can be even harder to think about. However, adding these four techniques to your medication management plan will help you let go of some of the stress surrounding medications and focus more on other aspects of your mental health. Many things cause people to worry when they are trying to improve their mental health; fortunately, medication does not have to be one of them.