There can be lots of stress associated with caring for someone who has a chronic illness, is disabled or is elderly.

Devoting significant time to caring for another person can be overwhelming physically, mentally and emotionally. While we all have our own ways of dealing with the stress associated with being a caregiver, there are tips that can make it easier to cope with stress.

Prolonged stress. We are naturally able to deal with stress, so at a basic level, it is not something to worry about initially, as our ability to deal with stress helps to keep us alert and aware of our environment. If stressful situations remain for prolonged periods, then it becomes much harder for us to cope with stress. It can affect our immune system. Managing stress and stressful situations in a different way can help. We need to learn to deal with emotional issues such as anger, irritability, mood swings and sadness by having breaks regularly and finding support among family, friends or other caregivers.

Manage pain and fatigue by exercising and getting enough rest. If you are caring for someone who is able to leave their home, then take him or her out with you to enjoy the fresh air. Go for a walk to the park or to the local shops to help you to relax. Avoid taking medication or drugs to manage your stress. Try not to think that you are superhuman and can do everything because you have your own needs too. Set realistic expectations about what you can and cannot do.

Overeating and changing behavior can also be signs of stress. It is important to remain positive and remember that some things happen that you have no control over. Take time to breathe. You should take breaks, have a cup of tea or step outside for a few minutes to reduce your stress levels. Think about what stresses you and how you can reduce it. You may not be able to eliminate your stressors, but you will be able to manage them better.