A blue and white graphic with a photo of Bob Lujano with the NCHPAD Connect logo and the words Self Care for Caregivers below it

Caregiving is a rewarding but challenging role. And as a caregiver, it’s so important to also take care for yourself.

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, we put together five easy tips on how to care for yourself – while caring for a loved one.

  1. Nutrition. Eating well is beneficial for so many reasons. A healthy diet can help reduce the risk of some diseases, increase your energy and ability to stay healthy, and improve your overall well-being. Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat and whole grains. And a healthy diet isn’t a bland or boring! Check out our recipe videos for some great recipes that are simple, delicious AND healthy.
  2. Physical activity. Physical activity has many benefits: improved brain health, disease risk reduction, weight management, heart health and mental health improvement. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. If this seems overwhelming, try breaking up activities you enjoy several times a week. Not sure where to start? Try our home workout series for simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.
  3. Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you focus on what you are feeling and sensing in the moment. Mindfulness allows you to slow down, be present in the moment and only focus on one thing at a time. Meditation can help reduce anxiety and depression as well as improve sleep and mood. Try to make time every day to practice some sort of mindfulness. Get started with our guided meditation series.
  4. Get outdoors. Spending time in nature can be healing for a variety of reasons. It can improve your physical and mental health, help improve your immune system illness and can even help reduce stress. Being outdoors can inspire your creativity and expose you to new things. You never know – it could become your new favorite hobby!
  5. Spend time with family. Spending time with family or people you care about can lead to stronger relationships, emotional intelligence and may provide a sense of togetherness. Studies have shown that having solid social interaction can improve your psychological well-being, may lengthen life and is good for cardiovascular health. Prioritize relationships and spend time with people who you care about!
A green graphic with the words How to practice mindfulness during the holidays on it with the NCHPAD Connect logo and an illustration of a person's head with a heart over the mind.

By Emily Hornsby, NCHPAD Mindfulness Instructor

The holiday season can be an exciting time of the year, but it can also be overwhelming. Travel, parties and events, making time for friends or loved ones, and added financial responsibilities are just a few of the stressors this time of year. If you are feeling overwhelmed by this added stress from the holiday season or just need to pause, a few simple mindfulness practices can help you pause, relax and enjoy the holiday season.

  1. Mindful pausing: Pausing for a moment or two to notice what you can perceive through your senses, moving from thinking into direct experience. 
  2. Mindful breath: Taking three breaths mindfully as an invitation to relax and create space between your thoughts.
  3. Heart hug: Gently placing your hand over or near your heart space (or imagining holding your hand to your heart) can cause the release of oxytocin, one of our “feel good” hormones. Feel or imagine the warmth of your palm on your body, and take a few intentional breaths. Over time, your body learns this response and a quick gesture will work.
  4. Self-hug: Place your arm or arms over your chest or another part of your body and give yourself a hug, or imagine giving yourself a hug. This action has the same effect as a heart hug. 
  5. Other gentle touch: Gently rubbing your hands or fingers together, placing your hand on your thigh, or placing your palm against your cheek. Some people find a light tapping with their fingers at the center below their collarbones reassuring. 
  6. Tuning into sensation: If your movement is limited, you might feel the air as it hits your skin on the face or another part of the body. Experiment to see what works best for you.
  7. Spend time in nature to become more grounded and reconnect with yourself. You may want to try leaving your phone or electronic device at home when you spend time outdoors so you connect with your surroundings. Hear the birds sing, listen to the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees, or notice birds and other animals.
  8. Practice Mindfulness Meditation to help you rest your attention on the present. Sit quietly and focus on your breath, another anchor-like ambient sound (background or surrounding noise), an object in the room, or another part of your body like your hands or feet. When thoughts, feelings and emotions come into your awareness – and they will – gently notice them. You can even name them to yourself – thoughts are here, planning is here, fear is here, anxiety is here – and then let them go and return to your breath or other anchor. It’s just like training a puppy repeatedly; you return to your breath or other anchor. By practicing mindfulness meditation, you are retraining your brain to be in the present rather than worrying about the future or ruminating about the past.
  9. Practice gratitude by either mentally noting what you are grateful for regularly or keeping a gratitude journal and writing down a few things you are thankful for.
  10. Don’t forget to do what you enjoy: Exercising, playing a sport, playing a musical instrument, listening to music, painting, sculpting, gardening, spending time with family and friends, or even watching a favorite movie or TV show are all beneficial. It’s easy to get caught up in the to-do list of the holidays and forget to do the things we enjoy. 
  11. Above all else, be kind to yourself.

Interested in more Mindfulness content? Check out our Mindfulness series on our YouTube channel.

MENTOR Equipment

MENTOR is our 8-week program focused on physical, mental and emotional health for individuals with a mobility limitation or physical disability.

Our programs and resources are always free, and as part of MENTOR, we also send ALL participants a FREE box of exercise equipment and other wellness goodies.

But you might be wondering what you get – and how it all works. Watch the video below to see the equipment we’re sending to MENTOR participants and learn how the equipment could be used below.


MENTOR Tote Bag- Whether you want to carry around some of your MENTOR equipment, supplies or something else, the MENTOR tote bag has you covered! It has three pockets: a zippered section, an open pocket at the front and a mesh pocket great for holding your MENTOR water bottle.

MENTOR Water Bottle– Stay hydrated during your MENTOR classes with your 24 oz. water bottle. The handle on the lid makes it easy to carry, and the flip cap allows for accessibility to your favorite beverage as you open and close the top.

MENTOR Journal and Pen– Keep track of your wellness journey or track and document your progress with our journal and pen.

Stability Disc– The stability disc is a round cushion filled with air that will be used to help you stretch and train your core and balance. The stability disc is a great tool for practicing muscle and brain coordination.

Sliders– Sliders are round disks that have one smooth side and one side with cushioned foam. You’ll put your hands or feet on the foam part in certain mobility and strength exercises.

TheraBands– These bands are like large rubber bands with different levels of resistance based on the color of the band. There are five different levels of resistance, starting at very low (green) and going up to very heavy (black). As you move through the program, you’ll progress to higher levels of resistance!

Wrist Weights– These Velcro wrist weights will help you get stronger through specific exercises our experts will guide you through.

Racquetballs– Hand-eye coordination and dexterity can be hard to practice without the right tools. Throughout your exercise sessions, you’ll bounce your racquetballs against the wall or on the ground to turn some exercises into a game!

Yoga Ball– Once your yoga ball is inflated, you can use it to help build your balance, core strength and even work on flexibility.

Resistance Bands with Handles– These bands can be anchored to a doorway to add another option to resistance training and strength building different from TheraBands.

MENTOR Yoga Block– Our MENTOR Yoga Block is made of a comfortable foam that can help you during your warm-up or after an exercise session. On the back of the block there are some suggested poses, but there are many other good examples and uses for the yoga block.

MENTOR Yoga Mat- The yoga mat adds some cushion to your exercises. Coming in a mesh zippered bag, the mat is easy to transport and store.

Peddler– Similar to peddles on a bike, the peddler has two stirrups where you can put your feet or hands. As you push the peddle down and around, the digital monitor will show stats like the number of rotations, your total time and calories burned.

Ready to join MENTOR? Have questions?

Give us a call at 866-866-8896 or email us at

Young adult sitting in wheelchair

NCHPAD Connect is our online registry for people with a physical disability or mobility limitation. But how does it work, and what do you get when you join? Watch the video or keep reading to learn more.

What do you get?

NCHPAD Connect links you to resources, communities and wellness programs that are specifically tailored to people with a wide range of physical disabilities.

How does it work?

First, you need to sign up. After you sign up, a member of the NCHPAD Connect team will call (from 866-866-8896) to set you up with programs and resources that best fit your needs.

How much does it cost?

NCHPAD Connect and any of our programs, resources or time with instructors don’t cost you anything except your time. It’s completely free, and we send all the tools you need to participate directly to your door.

What exactly will you have access to?

You’ll get access to individualized programs and personalized resources on mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, diet and weight management.

These programs will connect you to a team of health and exercise coaches, mindfulness instructors, nutritionists and mental health experts who will help you to navigate daily health and wellness.

With each program we’ll also send you an inclusive wellness box tailored to your individual needs.

Depending on the program, your wellness box could include anything from a water bottle or weights to a yoga mat or journal, all helping you on your health and wellness journey.

We’ll even send you free coffee and snacks when you join our NCHPAD Coffee Club.


Have questions? Give us the NCHPAD Call Center a call at 866-866-8896.

How do you like to spend time in nature? National Trails Day

June 3 is National Trails Day, the “nationwide movement to give back to trails and build a world where everyone feels welcome and has access to enjoy the great outdoors,” according to the American Hiking Society.

Recently, our friend Dr. Scott Crawford shared how he was able to enjoy some time in nature on a hike – thanks to a wheelchair-accessible trail at the Mississippi Agriculture Museum in Jackson, Miss. The accessible route took him through the woods to enjoy an overlook of Eubanks Creek. “I was there for a meeting, but arrived early to ‘explore,’” said Dr. Crawford. “People with mobility limitations rarely get out in nature, so I try to savor every opportunity I get.”

Images by Dr. Scott Crawford

Outdoor time in nature is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. It’s also one of 11 evidence-based elements of health that our MENTOR program is based on. Each element is part of the acronym MY SCORECARD: Mindfulness, Your spirit, Self-care, Core Values, Outdoor time in nature, Relationship building, Exercise, Contribution to others, Arts and leisure, Rest and relaxation, and Diet. In the MENTOR program, our expert health coaches and instructors combine these elements through personalized instruction and resources to help you reach your health goals – at no cost to you.

Learn more about the MENTOR program here, or reach us at or 866-866-8896 to sign up.