Take care of yourself: It’s advice you’ve probably heard countless times from medical professionals, friends and family members who know you have arthritis. If you’re a caregiver to another adult who’s disabled or ill, however, meeting your own needs in addition to those of the person you’re caring for can be a challenge.

In fact, a survey from Caring.com, a website that provides resources to caregivers, queried more than 1,000 caregivers and found that caregiving was their single biggest source of stress – even more so than their financial concerns and other family medical problems – and that their physical and emotional health often suffered as a result. “It’s all too common to attend to the needs of the person you’re caring for before your own, even if you have a chronic disease like arthritis, not realizing that you can’t be fully effective if you neglect your health,” says Marion Somers, PhD, who owned and directed a geriatric-care management service in Brooklyn, N.Y., for more than 30 years.

Here, she and other authorities on caregiving offer practical solutions to nine common challenges – physical, emotional and even financial – so that you can keep up the good work without being worn down.

1. Challenge: “I’m completely exhausted.” According to an AARP survey, the average caregiver is a woman in her late 40s who cares for an aging parent, as well as her own nuclear family – and works outside the home, too. Add to that hectic schedule a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or fibromyalgia, which often causes physical fatigue, and it’s a miracle you’re not sleeping in your soup!

Solution: Go for natural energy boosters. A good night’s sleep should top your list. To make it easier, skip the late-night TV, drop your bedroom temperature and make the room as dark as possible. Make healthy eating another priority; packaged, convenient foods often cause a blood sugar spike that ultimately depletes your energy. And set aside a few minutes each day for exercise. A University of Georgia study of nearly 7,000 people, published in Psychological Bulletin, revealed that just 10 to 15 minutes of daily exercise – even just low-intensity walking – significantly reduced fatigue in individuals with health problems, including arthritis. “If you’re [reluctant to] take time away from caregiving duties, realize that, as a person with arthritis, exercise should be a non-negotiable part of your Rx,” says Robinson.

If feelings of exhaustion don’t ease up, see your doctor. “Fatigue can be a sign that your disease is not actively controlled,” says Chaim Putterman, MD, chief of the division of rheumatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.