If you are caring for a loved one with a long-term chronic illness, caregiving becomes a marathon rather than a sprint.

The demands on a long-term caregiver can be considerable. So, to be able to provide the best care, it is vital to also take care of yourself.

As a caregiver, it is essential to know and accept your own limits. Stress develops whenever you start to feel that your responsibilities are greater than the time, energy or other resources that you have to meet them. Focus, is common among caregivers of people coping with cancer who face so many competing demands. This can be especially challenging when your role as a caregiver may change over time, sometimes unexpectedly, depending on your loved ones’ health. Finding ways to manage stress can help you feel better, protect your health and make you better equipped to care for your loved one.

Twelve warning signs

 If you experience any of these warning signs you should seek professional help.

1. You are unable to sleep.
2. You get sick more often.
3. You develop chronic health issues (e.g., high blood pressure, body aches,        headaches, upset stomach).
4. You become irritable over little things.
5. You tend to cry over minor upsets.
6. You have difficulty staying calm.
7. You are feeling pressured to carry on.
8. You feel a sense of hopelessness.
9. You lose interest in everything you once loved to do.
10. You are too tired to care, chronic fatigue.
11. You withdraw from socializing.
12. You experience loss of appetite.
Stress affects every organ in the human body. Pay attention to these warning signs now and make adjustments to manage your stress to avoid bigger health issues down the road. You must take care of yourself first. If you don’t, you will be of no use to the person you are trying to care for.
Keep in mind that your stress can be further aggravated if you are working outside the home.

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