Programs

A woman with a prosthesis and a man with a prosthesis sitting on a small wall looking at each other and smiling.

The MENTOR program uses the acronym MY SCORECARD as a simple and effective way to monitor behaviors throughout the day. The fourth letter in MY SCORECARD is C, which stands for core values.

Core values are a key wellness domain for mental health. These values represent what an individual believes in, such as achieving good health or being positive with others, and how they practice these beliefs daily.

Core values are more about who a person wants to be rather than what they want to do. Understanding who you want to be (e.g., a person who eats well) helps you determine what actions to take to achieve this identity.

What are Core Values?

Core values are what matter most in life. They embody the deepest feelings of who we are at our core and reflect how we live or aspire to live. They are the characteristics we want others to recognize in us. Core values are the essence of our identity and guide the kind of life we wish to lead.

Why Do Core Values Matter?

A fulfilling life requires a set of guiding principles like core values. Core values are crucial for maintaining positive relationships with family, friends and coworkers. They are also essential for living a mindful life that respects and dignifies others.

In the MENTOR program, core values also focus on living well with a disability or health condition, emphasizing the importance of health and the strategies to maintain it.

Core values form the foundation for healthy living. They provide purpose, clarity and perspective. Without them, individuals may feel aimless and struggle with setting and achieving goals, especially after acquiring a disability.

Core values help prevent feelings of apathy, loss and grievance, making behavior change more attainable. They not only benefit the individual but also positively impact those around them.

Core values are an important part of healthy living and help navigate life’s challenges. Challenges and problems can lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration and despair. But when you adopt core values, you can shape your identity and stay focused on your journey from recovery to improvement and prevention.

Living by core values begins with committing to a set of values that align with your goals. Goals represent your destination, while values guide your journey. Core values act as guideposts, helping you stay on track even when faced with challenges.

How to Start

Begin by identifying and writing down your core values. Instead of saying you need to quit smoking or you need to start exercising, tell yourself who you want to be and make it part of your identity. This process can transform your identity, leading to positive behavior changes. Core values are about becoming someone, not just having something.  

Instead of defining yourself by your goals (like losing 10 pounds, exercising more or eating better), define yourself by the person you aspire to be. Use statements such as:

  • I am a physically active person.
  • I am a mindful person.
  • I am a person who manages personal hygiene and advocates for access and inclusion.
  • I am a person who lives by core values that prioritize others’ needs above my own.
  • My relationships with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and strangers reflect a spirit of love and connectedness.
  • I respect my mind and body by eating well.
  • I honor the need for my mind and body to rest by sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night.

Understanding and living by your core values increases the likelihood of achieving your MENTOR goals. Once you make this part of your identity, it becomes a self-regulating behavior for you to achieve on your own. Make core values part of your daily life and hopefully, you become the person you want to be!

To learn more about MENTOR, visit our program page!

Man brushing his teeth

The essence of mindfulness is recognizing that the present moment is all we can control. This is done by resting our attention on the present, focusing on our breath or other bodily sensations and returning to the present when our mind wanders. These simple practices can create more happiness and joy in our lives.

Mindfulness has many benefits. Mindfulness enhances emotional well-being, reducing stress and anxiety. It also improves focus, leading to better decision-making and overall mental clarity. Mindfulness can also have other health benefits like regulating inflammation and sleep as well as reducing blood pressure.

So how can you practice mindfulness? Mindfulness can be practiced in numerous ways throughout the day. It doesn’t even require much time. Here are some ways to practice being mindful in your everyday activities:

  • You can be mindful in the car. Focus on the steering wheel in your hand, the vibration of the vehicle or the sound of the vehicle.
  • When you’re making the bed, feel the texture of the bedspread, the softness of the sheets, and the firmness of the mattress or pillow.
  • When you’re in the shower or bath, feel the water on your skin. Notice the smell of the soap and texture of the bubbles of the soap on the skin. Acknowledge the warmth or coolness of the water.
  • If you’re eating, take in the sensation of biting into food along with the taste or texture of the food. Be aware of how the food feels in your mouth and how it feels swallowing the food.
  • When you’re brushing your teeth, feel the bristles of the toothbrush against the gums and teeth. Recognize the texture and taste of the toothpaste.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in daily activities that we forget to focus on the present moment. Focusing on tasks or responsibilities from the past or future can prevent us from being in the present.

When you’re in a conversation, being mindful can lead to better communication and understanding. Check out these tips for better mindful communication:

Sometimes during the day, we may get stressed or overwhelmed with work or life burdens. We might need to recenter. One way to relieve this stress is by going outside and being grounded in nature. Watch this video and discover the benefits of being mindful while being in nature:

NCHPAD Mindfulness Curriculum Coordinator Emily Hornsby shared these benefits and tips for being mindful throughout the day:

Mindfulness is paying attention to what is going on in and around you moment by moment without judgment. Another way of thinking about mindfulness is being in “the flow.” When you are engaged in an activity just for the sake of being engaged in that activity, and you are not thinking about the future or ruminating about the past, you are in “the flow.”

You can practice mindfulness, or being in “the flow,” in your everyday activities like washing the dishes, taking a shower or taking a walk in nature. When you are paying attention to the way the warm soapy water feels on your hands when you are washing dishes, and how the sponge feels in your hand as you clean the dishes, you are mindfully washing dishes.

When you are taking a walk in nature and you pay attention to the sound of the breeze when it blows through leaves on a tree, or the smell of honeysuckle, or the sound of birds or squirrels scurrying on the ground, you are taking a mindful walk in nature.

When thoughts come into your awareness, you acknowledge them without judgment, and then decide whether you want to rest your attention on that thought or if you would rather let that thought go like a cloud in the sky and return to the present moment.

Practicing mindfulness in your everyday activities retrains your brain as you are creating new neural pathways towards more joy and happiness. We are happiest when we are present and not thinking or worrying. Try mindfulness in your everyday activities and see how it goes!

You can learn more about mindfulness through our website articles and videos on YouTube

A man standing in front of a mirror wiping his face with a towel.

Self-care is so important for maintaining mental and physical well-being, but it’s often overlooked in our busy daily lives. The demands of work or caregiving responsibilities can take up so much time and energy, leaving little room for self-care activities. We might also feel certain pressures and expectations that can make productivity seem more important than personal well-being.

The third letter in MY SCORECARD from the NCHPAD MENTOR Program, S, is one wellness domain that includes many others. It stands for “Self-care” and covers anything from physical and mental health maintenance to promoting self-advocacy.

Self-care can be broken down into two unique perspectives:

  • Psychosocial self-care – things you can do to promote self-awareness, self-advocacy and self-compassion.
  • Physical self-care – things you can do to keep your physical body healthy.

Psychosocial Self-Care

To start practicing psychosocial self-care, the first thing to do is avoid self-criticism. Although being critical of yourself is a common experience for many, when you do it too much or become too critical, it can be very unhealthy. And if you become too critical, seeking professional assistance may be necessary.

Excessive self-criticism can lead to what is known as ruminative negative thought patterns, which impact effective self-care. These negative thoughts constantly occupy a person’s mind, making it hard to think about anything else – and hard to stay healthy.

There is good news, though. We can be taught to reduce self-criticism through greater self-compassion. A prominent figure in self-compassion research is Dr. Kristen Neff, who defines self-compassion as the “practice of being kind and understanding to ourselves when confronted with a personal flaw or failure.”

Dr. Neff suggests that the best way to overcome self-criticism is to practice what it feels like to treat yourself the same way you would treat a friend having this difficulty. Simply treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would offer to a friend encountering similar challenges.

Self-awareness is another important part of self-advocacy. Self-awareness is defined as “the ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior.”

In other words, the ability to accurately assess your own strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism and a growth mindset. Improved self-advocacy comes from enhanced self-awareness, which leads to better self-care practices.

Enhancing psychosocial self-care also involves maintaining a positive psychological outlook. Some experts refer to this as empowerment health, which involves the development of essential life skills that promote independence. One way to develop these skills can be through engaging in quality self-care activities that provide meaningfulness to your life.

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care for individuals with disabilities can be put into three main areas:

  1. Managing medical or behavioral aspects of the condition(s), such as taking medication.
  2. Preventing or managing secondary and chronic conditions through health-promoting behaviors like physical activity or exercise.
  3. Removing environmental obstacles, such as ensuring access to quality healthcare and implementing assistive technology at home to prevent falls, for example.

Some of the most essential aspects of self-care involve maintaining good bowel, bladder and skin care. Each of these may require special attention to avoid any health issues.

Bowel management is important for protecting participants from other health issues that can result from poor bowel maintenance.

Good bladder maintenance can avoid common urinary tract infections. You can maintain good bladder health by regular emptying, avoiding increased bladder pressure and preventing complications. This will lower your risk of infections, improve social continence and prevent autonomic dysreflexia, which is the excessive rise in blood pressure.

Additionally, individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and other forms of paralysis face a significant risk of developing pressure injuries, commonly known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores.

To prevent these injuries, it’s important to regularly change positions to alleviate pressure on bony areas. While in a wheelchair, engage in activities like wheelchair pushups, leaning side to side and bending forward over your knees. Additionally, always use a high-quality wheelchair cushion.

Maintaining skin health involves avoiding soaps labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.” These soaps can disrupt the skin’s acidity, which serves as a natural protection against infection. Keep skin clean and dry by washing with soap and water daily and thoroughly rinsing and drying afterward.

Two other areas of physical self-care include proper use of medications and good oral health. Taking medications is a critical area of physical self-care for people with and without disabilities and can help maintain certain health conditions.

Good oral health through regular flossing and brushing teeth is essential to avoid further health complications that stem from improper oral hygiene.

Suggestions for better Self-Care

A good way to practice self-care involves engaging in meaningful activities. Everyone needs to have something in life that ignites enthusiasm and anticipation regularly. Engaging in activities such as art, sculpting, reading, writing, woodworking, crafting, quilting or learning a musical instrument is crucial for filling each day with sources of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Participating in activities like taking an art class, joining a book club or following a favorite sports team are effective ways to do activities you enjoy while making connections with friends, colleagues and family members.

To get to the heart of self-care, try making a list of which daily activities are bringing you joy. Then make a list of which activities are negatively impacting you. From there, make a plan to increase your daily positive activities and reduce the negative experiences.

Here are some examples:

  • If you enjoy being outdoors but are indoors most of the day, take a short break and go outside to come back refreshed!
  • Don’t like taking out the trash? If you have a pet, use that time to take your pet out for some exercise.
  • Instead of scrolling on a mobile device before bed, make a list of exciting books you would like to read and set a goal to read a little every night.
  • Don’t like doing household chores? Mix in your positive activities and listen to your favorite songs while accomplishing your tasks.

Taking care of yourself may seem simple, but it’s easier said than done when you have a recent diagnosis, a newly acquired disability or a health condition. Individuals who need certain types of support must advocate for themselves with their doctor or other health professional. Self-care starts with self-awareness! Need help finding adaptive resources for activities or health tips? Contact us and get in touch with one of our expert inclusion specialists!

A meditation bell on a mantle with small lit candles.

Spiritual practice is an important method for improving and maintaining mental and physical health. But what is spiritual practice? How can it help me? How do I implement it into my life?

This topic is the second blog in our series about MY SCORECARD, an acronym we use to explain the domains of wellness that we focus on in the NCHPAD MENTOR program. The second letter in MY SCORECARD, Y, stands for “Your spiritual practice.”

What do we mean by “Your spiritual practice?”

First, it’s important to know that for the MENTOR program, “Your spiritual practice” is not associated with religion. It can be part of the spiritual tradition or religion that you practice in life, but it does not have to.

In MENTOR, “Your spiritual practice” means maintaining a strong relationship with yourself and others and realizing the broader purpose of life in relation to the ‘source’ of all forms of life. 

Spirituality has more to do with the connection of all things and a deep understanding of our connection to each other.

While there isn’t one specific definition for spiritual wellness, there are terms that are associated with this practice: peace, harmony, compassion, connection to others, purpose and transcendence (something beyond this universe). 

The National Wellness Institute defines spiritual well-being as “the search for meaning and purpose in human existence, leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world.”

The essential foundation of spirituality is an understanding that everything connects to the whole. 

When the life of others becomes more important than your own life, and your level of faith to an outside source gives you reason for hope and optimism, you are gaining a sense of spirituality that connects you to the rest of the world.

How does Spirituality benefit me?

In a 2016 study, Australian researchers conducted a review of 28 studies focusing on spirituality among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). This comprehensive review explored how spirituality contributes to the adaptation and resilience of individuals and their family members following SCI.

This review highlighted three key findings that showed the significance of spirituality: 

  1. Higher levels of spirituality were associated with improved quality of life, life satisfaction, mental health and resilience for individuals with SCI. 
  2. Families and people with SCI would like health professionals to use spirituality in their practice. 
  3. The researchers concluded that there is great potential for conducting more research in spirituality to determine how and why this important practice leads to better health outcomes. 

Following a recent injury or new diagnosis, engaging in spiritual practice can offer solace to individuals seeking to regain a sense of balance in their lives. For some, the path to recovery may involve spirituality, offering a profound insight into their inner purpose and ultimately fostering a heightened sense of peace and serenity.

How to apply “Your Spiritual Practice” in your daily life

From NCHPAD Director Dr. James Rimmer

Upon awakening every morning, seek out a place in your home where there is stillness and silence and meditate for about 5-15 minutes (start with one minute if five minutes is too long). Make this your daily practice. 

  1. While meditating, connect with whomever or whatever is your spiritual source, that is, your understanding of how you arrived into this world. 
  2. During your meditation practice, focus on compassionate thoughts for a) family, b) friends and c) those you don’t know who are suffering anywhere in the world.
  3. Use your meditation practice to reach a state of consciousness where you understand how to remove fears, doubts, anxieties and other emotions. Replace them with peace (acceptance of this moment only – no thoughts about the past or future).
  4. Set up your daily mantra (a saying that keeps you grounded in your spiritual practice) to use whenever you fall back into an emotion (fear, anger, jealousy, etc.). For me, it is – “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it yourself.” Eckhart Tolle 
  5. Remember that the focus of spiritual practice in MENTOR is that ‘outflow equals inflow.’ The more you give to others, the more you receive in return. Positive relationships with whomever you meet or with family IS the central aspect of a strong spiritual practice. 
NCHPAD Mentor logo, the words "MyScorecard: Mindfulness" are below it. The text overlays a colorful background.

We’re often told to think positively when we feel sad or stressed, but it’s not uncommon for our minds to have negative thoughts.

Negative thought patterns exist because of early survival skills everyone develops to prevent us from harm. This pattern could be from a perceived danger, learned experience from a previous negative situation or life uncertainties.

If left unchecked, negative thought patterns can create deeper anxiety, worry and anguish. But what tools can we use to control our thoughts and emotions?

In the NCHPAD MENTOR program, we focus on multiple domains of wellness through the acronym MY SCORECARD. The first letter in MY SCORECARD, M, may be the most important. It stands for “Minding your thoughts and emotions.”

So how can we mind our thoughts and emotions? Mindfulness, one of the main parts of the MENTOR program, can help.

Here are some of the benefits of Mindfulness from Emily Hornsby, NCHPAD Mindfulness Curriculum Coordinator:

Mindfulness and meditation help us to be more open and accepting of the difficulties and joys of life – just as they are. Scientific research indicates that the practice of mindfulness and meditation can have the following benefits:

1. It changes the brain so that the individual experiences more happiness and well-being.

2. Improves attention.

3. Lowers stress.

4. Improves thinking and quality of life.

5. Positively changes responses to pain.

6. Lowers anxiety.

7. Improves mental fatigue.

8. Increases calm and focus.

9. Improves the quality of life for caregivers and survivors.

10. Improves the ability to attain goals.

11. Enhances self-resilience.

With these benefits, it is easy to see how practicing mindfulness and meditation can positively contribute to all the other domains of wellness, from being more present in our relationships and our time in nature to knowing when we need to practice self-care or rest and relax. Mindfulness and Meditation can provide a portal to our spiritual practice, and it is a self-care skill available to all of us. Being present with mindful eating and exercise can help us with our weight management and overall health.

When we look inward through mindfulness practice and meditation, we can see with more clarity what our core values are, and we are better equipped to focus our attention on contributing to others as-opposed-to being fixated on worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. Mindfulness and Meditation are tools that can help us with all the wellness domains in MY SCORECARD.

Mindfulness can help prevent negative thought patterns that turn into reactions. Awareness of a negative thought pattern and stopping it from becoming an emotion can prevent a negative reaction.

Living well and managing the day-to-day stresses of difficult life’s situations like finances, emotional setbacks, relationship difficulties and job burdens start by placing the mind in the right mindset or simply staying in the now.

Think of Mindfulness as an anchor in your life that you can return to when stress, anxiety and negative feelings start to impact your life.

Watch some of our Mindfulness videos here on our YouTube channel.

To learn more about the MENTOR program and join today, visit our MENTOR page.

Mentor: What is MY SCORECARD?

The path to good health starts with better daily habits. Part of our MENTOR program is to increase awareness of the multiple domains of wellness, so we created the acronym ‘MY SCORECARD.’

Every day is made up of 24 hours and 1440 minutes, and the ‘scorecard’ concept helps participants remember that every minute of their day counts. By using MY SCORECARD in the MENTOR program, we take a holistic approach to helping participants learn to optimize their health across a 24-hour period. MY SCORECARD encourages participants to map out their health behaviors across the day, offering a much broader perspective on how everything fits together — and why every wellness domain must be considered.

MY SCORECARD

Using the scorecard daily helps participants think about winning and losing efforts to engage in good health behaviors. Eat an apple and register a win; drink a sweetened beverage and record a loss.

Assigning a hypothetical score to each behavior will help participants understand that health is a game of ‘wins’ and ‘losses’ that we all experience. It can change day-by-day and even minute-by-minute. Isolating healthy behaviors from unhealthy ones allows participants to set up short-term goals on where they need to focus to round out a day that has more wins than losses.

MY SCORECARD helps make small, incremental changes across the three dimensions of health — and across the entire day.

The road to success in the MENTOR program starts with a simple and effective way to monitor behaviors throughout the day using the 11 wellness domains (shown in the MY SCORECARD image to the right).

We live such complex lives that if we don’t monitor our health more carefully and regularly, life situations can creep up on us. Before we know it, we are more stressed, sleep less, eat unhealthy foods and get no exercise. The many things thrown at us each day can often distract our interest, awareness, or ability to stay healthy or become healthy.

The goal of the MENTOR program is to help participants live life fully and with active lifestyles. What makes the program unique is how it is customizable or adaptable based on what participants need to be successful. Our expert program coordinators help resolve any barriers that participants are experiencing in self-managing their health. And so, MENTOR (and MY SCORECARD) entails several things:

  • It’s a useful way for participants to identify and respond to certain areas of health that they may not have considered. 
  • It teaches participants to address their health across a 24-hour day. 
  • It provides participants with the understanding that they can change how they feel by changing what they do. 
  • It’s an acknowledgment that setbacks will happen – expect them – but it’s important to move on and not give up. Each day is its own individual scorecard. 

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all set of solutions. MY SCORECARD gives participants a variety of helpful, holistic options for improving overall health and wellness.

To learn more about the MENTOR program or join today, visit our MENTOR page here.

New Year Intention Setting. Mindfulness Practice with Tara Beech

The new year offers time to pause and reflect on the previous year before starting fresh. In this blog from Tara Beech, NCHPAD Mindfulness Instructor, we focus on intention setting to create a clear and focused outlook on the new year, a key element of the NCHPAD MENTOR program.

“Our intentions create our reality.”  Dr. Wayne Dyer

The new year often represents a time to reset and begin again. It can become a time of making big promises with New Year’s resolutions. However, any of us who have made resolutions in the past knows how hard it is to start new habits and keep up the momentum to sustain them. Anyone who has signed up for a gym membership in January and tried to get out of that contract later in the year knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Take a moment to pause and reflect.

First, consider – What are the things that made you happy the year before? What did you get excited about? What things happened that you felt good about?

Is there a theme tying these things together? Is there a word or phrase that represents the feeling or action?

Next, consider – What are some of the things that are challenging to you? Are you over-committed? Have you been dealing with health challenges? Do you have a strain in your relationships?

Is there an intention, such as self-care or compassion, that you can set to support you through these challenges?

For myself, I would like to be less critical of myself and others and the phrase, “Be judicious with your words” comes to mind. I have two questions to ask myself before I speak or go into deep thought that will help me remember this.

Is it kind?

Does it need to be said?

Do my thoughts reflect self-compassion and kindness?

Here is a sample of other words that might

inspire you to set an intention for yourself:

Words of Reflection

pause, reset,

gratitude, resilience,

optimism, awe,

and awareness.

Words of Change

rest, renew,

nourish, recharge,

simplify, energize,

and grow

Words of Connection

forgive, relate,

reconnect, balance,

cherish, comfort,

and listen

Choosing something that resonates for you. You might ask how you can align a word or phrase with something that will contribute to your sense of ease.

Use the word or phrase as a resource to shift your mindset when you feel caught up or stuck in narratives and stories that pull you away from your values, intentions, and hopes.

You might honor your intention and chosen word or phrase by pausing to light a candle or placing a hand on your heart.

May you encounter much joy, peace,

and love in the new year!

Warmly,

Tara Beech

Mindfulness Meditation Instructor

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 nchpad@uab.edu.