Coping with Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day from all of us at SureHope Counseling & Training Center!

While a day of celebration and thankfulness for many, the day can denote a different meaning. To those who have lost fathers, those with strained father relationships, fathers with strained child relationships, those who never had a father, fathers who have lost children, those who long to be fathers, single fathers – Father’s day signifies loss, grief, loneliness, disappointment. The Coronavirus adds another layer of inner and outer turmoil for our minds and bodies to cope with, leaving our emotional resources depleted. This may cause heightened emotions and less capability to cope in the ways we are accustomed to. As this time is not “normal” it may mean finding new means of coping. Consider these three simple strategies.

Meditate on Scripture:

No matter the state of your relationship as a father or with your father, we are created by and loved by our Heavenly Father, who never leaves nor forsakes us. Meditating on His Word offers comfort and peace. Below are some verses that may be a helpful place to start.

  • “[The Father] guarded him as the apple of his eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:10)
  • “A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.”  (Psalm 68:5-6)
  • “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)
  • “O Lord you are our Father. We are the clay; you are the potter; we are the work of your hands.” (Isaiah 64:8)
  • “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4)
  • “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
  • “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
  • “Your Father in heaven is not willing that any one of these little ones should be lost.”  (Matthew 18:14)
  • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor [or Comforter] to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth.” (John 14:16)
  • “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him… But the father said to his servants, `Quick!  Bring the best robe and put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:20b, 22-24)
  • “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, `Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
  • “I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18 & 2 Samuel 7:14)
  • “Through [Christ] we… have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18)
  • “[God is] the Father from whom all fatherhood derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:15)
  • “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

Awareness of feelings

Slow down enough to meditate and gain awareness of your actual feelings. As previously mentioned, the pandemic has caused so many changes to our everyday life, and therefore, our emotional reactions have changed as well as the pace of our lives. Commit a few minutes each day for mindfulness. This can be done through breathing techniques, stretching, journaling, etc.  If you struggle to know or name emotions, you can start with this feelings chart, to help get started. Also becoming aware of how you experience emotion in the body can be helpful. Nummenmaa, Glerean, Hari, and Hietanen (2014) have a study where they developed a body map for emotions, to help identify where we experience emotion physically. Naming emotions allows for acceptance of them, and then opportunity to manage them in the best way possible.

Reach out to your social support

We are not meant to go through difficult situations alone. While you may be facing a myriad of emotions during this time, you are not alone and do not have to face it alone. It can be difficult and scary revealing what we are feeling and experiencing but doing so allows others to show up for us. They can provide connection, validation, perspective, and a safe place to release emotions. If you do not know where to start, utilize the feelings chart and body map above for guidance in what to communicate.

If you continue to have difficulty managing the emotions of this season, we at SureHope Counseling and Training Center have many experienced and qualified therapists that would be of great service in helping you. Visit our “Therapists” page to find someone who is a good fit for you.

Other posts to provide support:

References

Nummenmaa, L, Glerean, E, Hari, R, and Hietanen, J.K. (2014) Bodily maps of emotions. PNAS, 111 (2) 646-651. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1321664111

-Callie Gross