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Navigating Sadness: A Journey Towards Healing and Growth

Written by Molly Schreiber, Founder + CEO, Challenge to Change, Inc.

" I chose to not only survive, but thrive." ~ Molly Schreiber

Sadness is an inevitable part of life. It can be triggered by various events such as loss, disappointment, heartbreak, or even a general feeling of emptiness. While it is natural to feel sad at times, it is essential to learn how to navigate through this emotion in a healthy and constructive manner. In this blog, we will explore some effective strategies to help you navigate sadness, find healing, and ultimately grow from the experience.

We are so blessed to have a plethora of emotions. I like to say that emotions are data from our soul. They fuel our inward and outward lives in the form of energy. Their job is to attract our attention to what is going on inside ourselves in the moment we are in. Emotions prompt us to make decisions and give us the fuel to act.

There are no good or bad emotions, simply pleasant or unpleasant. What we do with our emotions is truly up to us. We can choose to replicate the emotions or take it as information and make healthy, loving choices for ourselves.

My own personal experience with sadness and navigating an extremely hard time was when I lost my first husband, Kyle. Kyle and I were college sweethearts who married and began a family at the young age of 24. When Kyle died as the result of a car accident, I was widowed at the age of 30 with three kids under the age of three, and my world was rocked. The weight of sadness came crashing down on me. I had never, in my 30 years of life, felt the crushing toll of sadness like this.

My experience with this deep sadness led me to two choices: I could pull the covers over my head and hide from the future, or come out kicking and screaming and kick some butt in life.

How to Navigate Sadness: 7 Steps to Healing

My friends, I chose the latter. I chose to not only survive, but thrive. Through this, I navigated big emotions of sadness, loss and grief. These three emotions served as teachers and guided me to these seven essential road signs to living a full and fulfilled life. Today, I would like to share them with you.

1. Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings

The first step in navigating sadness is to acknowledge and accept your emotions. It is crucial to give yourself permission to feel sad without judgment or guilt. Remember that sadness is a normal human response to challenging situations, and it is okay to experience it.

I remember the initial days after Kyle passed, feeling torn about my feelings of sadness. I recall the toggle between wanting to feel strong for my children and fall apart in tears over the loss of my best friend. It was through constant reminders from very good friends that it is okay to feel sad and fall apart. I am human and it is healthy to feel the sadness and process through it.

2. Allow Yourself to Grieve

Grief is a natural response to loss, and it is essential to allow yourself to grieve fully. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, or a dream, giving yourself time and space to mourn is crucial for healing. Allow yourself to cry, reminisce, and process your emotions. Seek support from friends, family, or even a therapist if needed.

During my grief, I called upon my village- the universe of support around me to watch my kids so I could take the time to grieve. I remember one day I took the whole day to cry. A dear friend took my kids for the day and I was able to have the day to completely fall apart. Today, I hold that day near and dear to my heart because of the permission it granted me.

3. Practice Self-Care

During times of sadness, it is vital to prioritize self-care. Engage in activities that bring you joy and comfort. This could include exercise, spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness or meditation, reading, listening to music, or pursuing hobbies. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being will help you navigate sadness more effectively.

Yoga. Going to yoga became my self-care. I knew that coming to my breath and practicing putting myself first on my mat was essential for my self care. When friends noticed I was not practicing self care, or yoga, they would remind me of the six little eyeballs watching me- my kids and how I was modeling how to react. I was gently reminded that I matter too.

4. Seek Support

Navigating sadness alone can be overwhelming. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a support group to share your feelings and experiences. Talking about your emotions can provide a sense of relief and help you gain perspective. Additionally, consider seeking professional help if your sadness persists or intensifies.

After losing Kyle, I met a trusted therapist friend who helped me form a young widows group to help navigate the ongoing sadness. Through our support group, we were able to share our losses, trade stories of success, and begin to heal again from our traumas. From this group, I learned so many valuable lessons.

5. Embrace Positive Coping Mechanisms

While it is essential to acknowledge and process your sadness, it is equally important to incorporate positive coping mechanisms into your life. Engage in activities that uplift your spirits, such as spending time with loved ones, practicing gratitude, journaling, or engaging in creative outlets. These activities can help shift your focus towards positivity and aid in your healing process.

After practicing yoga for some time, I found I also loved meditation. It was a gift I could give my very anxious and sad brain. It was a way I could steady my breath and being. Through my meditation practice I found that journaling and writing about Kyle became another form of healthy healing. To this day, journaling is a very powerful tool in my daily practice.

Learn to empower yourself with your emotions in my newest meditation challenge!

6. Set Realistic Goals

When navigating sadness, it can be helpful to set realistic goals for yourself. Start small and focus on achievable tasks that

contribute to your overall well-being. This could include establishing a routine, setting aside time for self-reflection, or pursuing personal growth opportunities. By setting goals, you can regain a sense of control and purpose in your life.

In the early days and weeks of navigating my sadness, everything felt overwhelming. There were so many decisions to be made. Do I sell my house? Do I move in with my parents? How will I continue to pay my bills? All of these items were crushing. Through the good advice of a friend, I broke down all I needed to do right away and what could wait. With this permission, I felt relief. Relief in small steps everyday toward my new normal. Setting small goals became a new normal for me. When I achieved a small goal, such as choosing a preschool for Maggie, I celebrated it and congratulated myself.

7. Embrace Change and Growth

Sadness often accompanies significant life changes, and is an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. Embrace the lessons learned from your experiences and use them as stepping stones towards a brighter future. Allow yourself to evolve and adapt, knowing that growth often arises from moments of sadness.

Through my journey through sadness in the loss of my husband, I found myself changing. Yoga and meditation became very important to me. I was able to pause and pull my head up from underwater and see the bigger picture. I was able to grieve and find love again. I now can look back on my journey through sadness and appreciate the growth from lessons I learned and change in my life.

Navigating sadness is a deeply personal journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and resilience. Everyone's hard is their own hard and incomparable to others. My loss was a tragic one with deep sadness. However, sadness has so many levels and all are our own personal journey’s. By acknowledging your emotions, seeking support, practicing self-care, and embracing positive coping mechanisms, you can navigate through sadness and emerge stronger and wiser.

Remember, healing takes time, and it is okay to seek help when needed. Embrace the process, and trust that brighter days lie ahead.

I see you and I honor you,


P.S. I'm so excited to announce my newest meditation challenge!

Throughout this 12-day challenge, you will become an emotional scientist and uncover the deeper wisdom of your emotions.

What you’ll get:

  • 12 videos

  • 7 EXCLUSIVE emotions meditations

  • Downloadable challenge journal

Each day, you will:

  • Watch a short video

  • Write down the emotion that you are feeling.

  • Write down the physical sensation you are feeling.

  • Choose a guided meditation from the included emotions meditations that most closely matches how you’re feeling.

  • Journal on the day’s prompt.

This challenge officially launches on December 1st, 2023 but you can join anytime!



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