How To Cope On Father’s Day When You’re Consumed By Grief

<span class="copyright">Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images</span>
Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images

Father’s Day is historically a sweet day to celebrate our dads, father figures and granddads but for some of us, the weight of a day that’s supposed to be celebratory is all-too-heavy.

This can be because we have never had a dad around, or that he’s passed or that the relationship is estranged. Whatever the reason, grief guide and author Maya Manseau says it all comes down to grief.

Manseau said: “Grief happens any time that life does not go as we expect and is completely unique to each person.

“Loss comes in so many forms: death, estrangement by your choice, estrangement by another person’s choice, and toxic relationships are just a few.”

How to cope with the complex emotions that arise on Father’s Day

Manseau said: “Our relationships with our dads, or our lack of relationship with our dads is magnified at all holidays, but Father’s day in particular holds our complicated relationships with our dads under a magnifying glass.”

It makes sense. No matter why you may find Father’s Day hard, seeing people on social media celebrating their brilliant dads can feel like a punch to the gut when you can’t join in the celebrations, even if you wanted to.

Of course, some may think that the answer is as simple as just staying off social media but ultimately, there’s more to it than just what we see when scrolling on our phones.

HuffPost UK asked Manseau if there is anything that people who struggle with the day can do for themselves. The grief expert explained: “First, feeling all of the emotions of grief IS doing something to help yourself.

“Instead of pushing those emotions into the dark corners of our soul, active grieving allows us to let go of those emotions.”

The grief charity Sue Ryder also recommends leaning into joy. They suggest focusing on happy memories, talking about him, and even writing a letter to him to help get through the day.

However, if this isn’t what would work for you, they said: “If the day is too much of a struggle and you don’t feel emotionally ready to acknowledge it, it is perfectly OK to distract yourself instead.

“Take the day off social media and do things that make you feel happy - perhaps that’s watching something on Netflix, going out for a walk or simply having a lazy day.”

Whatever the day means to you, be kind to yourself and reach out to loved ones if you need support.

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email

  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on