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5 Ways to Spend Father's Day If You Don't Have a Dad

Father’s Day can be a joyous time for many of us to kick back with the main man in our lives.

Waking dad up with pancakes and coffee; taking him to a favorite sporting event; cracking open a few beers on a fishing trip—all activities we’ve been raised to identify as normal dad-bonding shenanigans.

But while these are typical, anticipated events for much of the population, they can be heartbreaking or triggering for those of us who have lost or never known a father.

No matter how fun this time of year should be, the hollow feeling in the pit of one’s stomach is real for those of us who don’t have a dad around to celebrate with. If your father has passed away, or can’t be near you due to the pandemic, or perhaps has never been in your life, being kind to yourself on Father’s Day should be a top priority (as should seeking help from a professional, if you feel you need extra support), and Kinder Beauty wants to usher you towards a more comforting experience.

1. Invest in a diary or journal.

Writing about serious emotions might sound rough, but studies suggest that taking good old-fashioned pen to paper can help people be more present in their minds and bodies as a path to healing. If you’ve lost your father, writing in a grief journal can help ease the pain. If you’ve never had a dad in your life, grieving is still an important part of that experience. There are no rules to journaling, and there are no time limits on grief, so writing about this emotional place in your life might help you through a day that celebrates what feels more like a loss. Logging your sense of abandonment may actually lead to an eventual sense of fulfillment as you chart your good days and emerge stronger.

2. Seek more connection.

Talking to a loved one or friend is so important during times of grief. If physical distancing makes that impossible where you are and you’ve had enough of Zoom, looking into your dad’s family history, or learning more about a dad you haven’t known, might be helpful or interesting as a way to understand him better. As the past year has unfolded ruthlessly, reports have indicated that researching family trees on sites like Ancestry has soared. While deep-diving into our roots might feel too unpredictable for some, it might also provide a gateway to healing for others.

3. Find a combined, reminiscent scent.

It’s no secret that our sense of smell conjures instant memories. If remembering your father more immediately is integral to getting through Father’s Day, why not create a scent that recalls his cologne or aftershave? We recently shared how making your own perfume is a kinder, more personalized way to treat yourself to fragrance, and a holiday like this one is the perfect reason to indulge in a treat. Maybe a spicy scent reminds you of Dad, but you prefer citrus. Now you can blend your own combo with a fresh edge. If there’s never been a father figure in your life, splashing a fresh scent around that you’ve created yourself might be an invigorating way to burst into spring.

4. Light a special candle.

To extend those fragrant memories, honoring your dad with a candle is a sweet way to mark his presence in your life. Burning a gentle flame to illuminate how and why he was so important to you might provide a reprieve from sadness, and there’s never a bad time to light up your room with fragrance. If you’re separated from your dad, or if he’s never been around, picking a luxurious scent to fill your space can and should be a gift to yourself. One idea for a delightful soy candle is to seek the comfort of Wireback Candle Co.

5. When in doubt, get out of the house.

If your mood is just not settling well, regardless of what you try on a difficult Father’s Day, nature abounds somewhere nearby, and getting out there is a reminder that life goes on. Even if you don’t live near a botanical garden, scientists are adamant that walking outside in the fresh air can move mountains when it comes to boosting mental health. Maybe you want to walk along a route you used to share with your father, of maybe you just want to get out of your own head and check out the trees and tulips for a while.

If you’re an adult child in mourning, or a person in search of more connection to family, there can be brighter ways to approach this deeply personal aspect of Father’s Day. Whether it’s anchoring a wave of emotions by writing them down, shining a commemorative light, or just getting back out into the real world for a good hike, it feels crucial that you treat yourself with compassion. There is no designated guide to circumnavigating loss, so—above all—be kind to yourself as you gently work your way through.


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Natalya Anderson is a writer, award-winning poet and former ballet dancer from Toronto.

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