The Stress of Grief on Father’s Day


As Father’s Day approaches, we are reminded of a day when feelings of grief and loss are abundant for those whose father has died. Father’s Day messages and reminders are front and center in newspapers, on the radio, and on TV, and they bring grief to the surface. 

Amy Cotter is Bereavement Services Director at Our Lady of Peace. Recognizing that heartache is prevalent this month, we want to recall 10 of Amy’s tips for relieving the stress of grief:

  1. Increase physical activity – Outdoor activities are best because nature is comforting and supports healing.
  2. Participate in mind-body activities – Biology shows that practicing Tai Ji and Qigong reduces stress.
  3. Eat a healthy diet – Try to eat well, even if food doesn’t taste good to you.
  4. Increase water intake – Staying hydrated will help you feel grounded. 
  5. Get sleep – Do your best to get plenty of rest, at least eight hours of every night.
  6. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol – Your central nervous system is already heighted, and you’ll sleep better if you don’t drink alcohol. 
  7. Find balance – Balance your alone time with being with other people. Alone time will help you move forward but plan to see or communicate with a family member or friend on Father’s Day, via text, phone, or in person. 
  8. Forgive yourself – This is not a day to say, “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda” because it doesn’t bear good fruit, and you need focus on healthy fruit on this day.
  9. Support yourself as you would a grieving friend. Let your inner critic go. 
  10. Schedule self-care – Do something nice for yourself on Father’s Day in celebration of your father’s love.  

Grief affects the body, mind, and spirit. Like physical pain, emotional pain is real and exhausting, and it causes stress. Recognize the stress of grief on Father’s Day and take extra care of yourself. If you need grief support, Our Lady of Peace is here to help, providing one to one support (offered by phone, video or email), support groups, educational workshops, and annual memorial celebrations. All our bereavement services are free of charge, unless otherwise indicated, and are open to the public.