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Hopeful Hearts

What Is Hopeful Hearts?


Welcome to Hopeful Hearts, an online discussion group for mothers of children with Down syndrome. Each month's facilitated discussion will be dedicated to a specific topic. We welcome mothers of all ages, religions, an ethnicities. This discussion group is designed to create a safe space to learn, to process our struggles, hopes, and fears as well as to celebrate our successes! This group honors confidentiality and authenticity.  There is no wrong way to sho up and be yourself.

What To Expect


Meeting Facilitator: Each Hopeful Hearts meeting with be facilitated by UDSF's volunteer, Alicia. Alicia is originally from Chicago, Illinois and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work degrees. She is currently the clinical director of a residential center for addiction. She has been a therapist for two years and has experience with facilitating group discussions. Welcome Alicia to UDSF!

Rules for Each Meeting: (1) Who you see here, stays here, (2) Let us listen to others without judgment and with an open heart, (3) Do your best to be on time and not interrupt others when they share, and (4) You will never be forced to share anything you do not want to.

When Does Hopeful Hearts Take Place?


Hopeful Hearts discussion group will take place the last Friday of each month from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, unless there is a holiday.  They will always be online so that mothers from across the state can participate.  

Parents: Support Your Mental Health with These Four Fundamental Practices

Being a parent is full of both joyful and challenging moments. When your days seem to be full of the latter, your mental health can begin to suffer. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can start to flare up, and it may feel like a struggle to simply get through the day.

If you feel like this, you certainly are not alone. When parenting a child with special needs, it is even more important to have a self-care routine that supports your physical and mental health. It is only when you are feeling your best that you can provide the love, care, and support your child needs to thrive. The following are four basic self-care practices that parents can use on a regular basis to support their overall mental health.

Getting Plenty of Sleep

No matter the age(s) of your child(ren), getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep every night can be an incredibly difficult task. Between taking care of household duties after your child goes to bed and being woken up in the middle of the night, proper rest can be elusive. However, even if you can only get an extra hour or two of sleep every so often, the benefits are massive.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to mental health problems and that getting the recommended amount of rest can boost your mood and decrease your stress levels. To increase the number of hours you sleep each week, start identifying time wasters in your day. Whether it’s watching too much TV or spending too much time on social media, swap time-wasting activities, especially those you do at night, with an earlier bedtime.

Reducing Stress

Excess stress can wreak havoc on your mental health. If life is starting to feel overwhelming, now is a great time to explore ways to reduce stress while at home. Begin by making changes to the things that you can directly control. This can include purchasing a pressure cooker to spend less time cooking meals, learning yoga and meditation, or practicing self-massage.

Making Your Home a Relaxing Space

Your home environment can significantly influence your mood and overall mental health. When family members are arguing with each other and complaining — and when there is excess clutter — negative energy can quickly build up. As part of your self-care routine, resolve to turn your home into a fresh and vibrant space to help relieve tension. Make your home a calm and relaxed space for everyone by injecting positivity. Use an essential oil diffuser, take an afternoon to declutter and clean, and open your windows to let in fresh air.

Taking a Vacation

The self-care benefits of taking a vacation — or even a staycation in Salt Lake City — cannot be emphasized enough. Stepping away from your daily routine can reduce both stress and anxiety. To get the maximum benefits out of a vacation/staycation, consider staying in a vacation rental with a full kitchen so that you can also cook healthy meals. No matter what neighborhood you choose, you're bound to find a vacation rental that helps support your physical and mental health while you’re “away.”

This year make it a priority to build a self-care routine that helps you feel amazing. From reducing your personal stress levels and the stress levels in your home to getting enough sleep, some of the most basic self-care practices can do wonders for your mental health. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time, taking care of your overall mental health can make you the best parent you can be.

  • Calvin Curtis is UDSF's Platinum Plus Sponsor for our Mighty Steps for Down Syndrome Walk 2020. His generosity and support over the past few years have made a real difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and their families across Utah.

  • Gossner Cache Silver Sponsor MS 2019

  • At Catalyst Behavior Solutions we prepare our clients to reach their full potential and achieve future success through the use of evidence-based and data-driven treatment methods. We believe in the growth of people of all abilities.

© 2021 Utah Down Syndrome Foundation

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