Photo Credit: The Good Funeral Guide via Unsplash


4 Strategies for Healthy Healing After the Loss of a Loved One


By Justin Black

Losing a loved one is a painful experience and grief is a slow, nonlinear process. It can take a long time for loved ones to start feeling like their lives are anywhere near normal. It is easy to isolate yourself during the grieving process, but doing so can actually do more harm than good. Instead, it’s important to take small steps towards healing. Getting off the couch and out of the house can be difficult, but if you focus on the four things listed below, you will find yourself starting to heal and find purpose once again.


1.  Start a Nonprofit in You Loved One’s Honor

If you want to turn your grief into something positive, consider starting a nonprofit in honor of the person you lost. Setting yourself up as a nonprofit corporation will make it easier to apply for grants and public funding. Create bylaws detailing how your nonprofit will be governed and when board meetings will be held. Also, decide on your voting procedures and the rules concerning conflicts of interest.

You can then organize fundraisers and 5k races, give out scholarships or have ongoing programs to bring awareness to and support your cause. Naming your nonprofit after your loved one is a wonderful way to honor them and keep their legacy alive, and raising funds to help others in need can even ease some of your grief.


2.  Adopt a Pet – Or Volunteer at the Shelter

Mourning the loss of a loved one can make you feel lonely and isolated. As you go through the grieving process, caring for a pet may give you comfort and a purpose to keep going even when your grief seems insurmountable.

If your living situation doesn’t permit you to bring a furry companion home, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter. Most rescue organizations are in need of visitors willing to take the dogs in their care out for walks and to help the animals become more social, as well as to teach them basic commands. By spending time at a shelter, you’ll also get to interact with other volunteers, help organize community events, and be around kind people so you can feel more connected to others.


3.  Seek Spiritual or Psychological Counsel

If your loved one relied on a hospice chaplain, a priest, a pastor, or a rabbi to tend to their spiritual needs, this person can help you navigate the grieving process as well. They can assist you in planning their funerals according to their wishes and give you a glimpse of your loved one’s relationship with faith as well as his or her belief in the hereafter. Even if you didn’t share the same beliefs, you may be comforted in knowing that your loved one had a counselor they trusted by their side during their final days on earth.

Finding a good therapist is also a great way to process your emotions and make sense of your life in the wake of this loss. It is important to honor all of your emotions as you go through this process. But when you feel you are ready, let yourself be happy and experience joy again. Your loved one would want that for you. Consider following clinical psychologist and author Dr. Mara Karpel for guidance regarding how to find passion and joy at any stage of your life.


4.  Pursue a New Degree and a New Career

The sudden loss of a friend or relative may make you realize that life is too short for you not to take chances and pursue your dreams. So if you feel stuck in a career that is no longer fulfilling, if you’ve been wanting to climb the corporate ladder or start something new but always put it on the back burner, the time to take action is now.

Enroll in online classes and get the degree you need to get a promotion or learn a completely new set of skills to make a career change. Take a look at this option to pursue a degree in business. With this experience, you could even start your own business and launch your own brand.

If you don’t want to start your own business, then take time to design a professional-looking résumé using an online tool that will allow you to highlight your experience and save it in a format that will make it easily shareable with recruiters.


Encourage Healing and Growth Every Day

Losing a loved one is hard, and the pain never truly leaves you. But there are things you can do to heal and move forward with your life. For instance, you can honor your loved one by starting a nonprofit or giving back to the institution that cared for them. Or you can go back to school to pursue a dream you’ve always put off. No matter what you choose to do, avoid isolation and loneliness so that you don’t fall into depression. If you start taking small steps to reach your goals, you will soon find new meaning and purpose in your life.


Are you looking for motivation to find joy after a dark time? Then visit Dr. Mara Karpel, author of The Passionate Life, online or listen to her podcast.

Find out more about Justin and Bereaving. net at and contact Justin at