If You’ve Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole

17 Things To Do to Find Your Way Out

Darling, let me set a scene for you:  There you are, happily bopping along to the beat of your own drum.  Your life isn’t Hit the Deck by Zoe Mozertperfect, but you love it. Then –  BAM!  Some seemingly tiny event or encounter triggers you, and all of a sudden you’re tumbling down the rabbit hole.

Which rabbit hole? You know the one – it’s when you find yourself suddenly falling head-first into the abyss of another world, the “old” world you vacated ages ago. The one where you were always “should-ing” all over the place, focusing on the negatives and listening to the voice of your inner critic.

It happens to all of us, darling, so let me give you some help with getting back on track and loving your life.  And, baby, there are two stages to this:  the immediate and then the follow up.

The Immediate Things To Do

The moment you realize you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, try some (or all) of these ten things to slow your decent into the abyss and begin working your way back out.

Don’t Think.

Your mind will convince you that you need to “solve” the problem and logic your way out of the rabbit hole, but all that thinking (and over thinking) is what caused you to stumble into that hole in the first place.


Breathe in, breathe out.  In through the nose. Release the breath from your mouth.

Identify It. Feel It.

Take the time to identify how you feel, especially those shadow emotions.  I’m talking about anger, sadness, fear, resentment, shame. Identify them. Acknowledge them.  And then, baby, allow yourself to feel them.

Reach Out. Talk it Out.

Call your best friend.  Not the acquaintance that’s going to remind you how lucky you are, how perfect your life is, or will change the subject back around to her. This is when you call the friend that is willing to bear witness to the ugliest of emotions, the one who will listen to the ramblings and make sense of the words between the tears, the one who will answer the phone at four in the morning if that’s when you need to talk.

Call a Pro.

Call your therapist and ask to be put on the cancellation list.  Email your coach and ask for an emergency session. If you don’t have a coach, ask for a one-time session with a coach you connect with.  I know I’m not the only coach that does emergency “talk me off the ledge” type calls and/ or a single session.  They will help hold a sacred place for you as you work through the rough stuff.

Stop it. Put it Down.

The last time I fell down the rabbit hole, my coach repeated to me (over and over again) to Put the Weapons Down.  That whip I was flagellating myself with? Put it down. The voice of my inner critic that was telling me I should know better?  Stop.


Go to bed early.  Lay down in the middle of the afternoon. Sleep in if you can. Rest heals.

Do the Bare Minimum.

I’m talking the very bare minimum:  get everyone to work or school. Fix your favorite beverage (water, tea, milk).  Eat.  This isn’t a day to diet, force yourself to work or clean, or anything of the sort. Comfort foods are the thing:  peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs and toast…. You get the picture, right?

Be Who You Are.

Extrovert? Don’t be a hermit: get out amongst people. Go to Starbucks and people watch.  Go out to lunch by yourself and soak in the atmosphere. You don’t have to interact with people in order for your feed your need to be around others.

Introvert?  Don’t force yourself out into the world. Stay home (or in your office) Get a blanket and curl up on the couch. Make a collage.  Read a book.

Go Overboard.

No, don’t go overboard in the pursuit of your debilitating thoughts.   Go overboard with extreme gentleness and care around yourself. Take a long bath.  Go get your nails done. Reschedule appointments for the next few days if possible.

The Follow-Up Stuff

Darling, whether it’s the next day or the next week, when you’ve climbed back to the top of the rabbit hole look to these seven tips for falling back in love with your life.


Forgive yourself for tripping up. Forgive yourself for lashing out.  Forgive yourself for becoming a hermit and withdrawing from everything social.

Ease In

Remember going overboard in the care around yourself? Don’t push yourself to run full-tilt into life again.  Ease back into your regular schedule.


Did you snap at your partner? Flake out on a party you said you’d attend? Turn your phone off for days and ignore all your calls? Apologize, darling.  It’s as simple as “I had a really rough day and I may have taken it out on you. I’m sorry and I love you.”

Clear Some Clutter

Spend some time clearing your spaces. Completely clear your nightstand.  Clean off your kitchen counters. Remove every stray piece of paper from the living room.  Clear and clean spaces will help you think again.

Clean Up Your Diet

Do some seriously clean eating taking your meals down to whole ingredients.  Whole grains, lean meats and wild fish, lots of greens, fresh fruits… you get the picture, right? Nothing processed. Cut down on the caffeine.  Reduce your alcohol intake. Drink lots of water.

Get Some Help

Reach back out to your therapist or coach and schedule a session. It’s important to get loving support as you go into recovery mode.  Why? Because it can be incredibly easy to begin beating yourself up because you “should know better”.  Your coach or therapist can help you get a game plan, restructure some goals, and reframe your trip down the rabbit hole.

Ask Those Questions

You know, the hard ones.  What was the trigger that initiated this trip down the rabbit hole? What did I learn?  What do I want? Is it time to readjust my goals?  If you aren’t quite sure what questions to ask, consider an eCourse like my 30 Days to Clarity: Clearing Brain Clutter course.

Darling, you are human.  Sometimes, you just have a bad day.  And, let me tell you, honey, having a bad day doesn’t mean that you’re not on the right track for your life.   It’s often a sign that you are growing and evolving to a whole new level of being.  You see, when you plant the seeds of growth, the first thing to come up is the dirt.

Using these tools won’t wave a magic wand over every bad day and make them disappear, but what they will do is armor your soul  and get back in the swing of your life.  It won’t be long before you know to the depths of your soul that you’re head over heels in love with your life.

What about you, darling?  What have you learned from falling down the rabbit hole?  How did you pull yourself out?

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By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

8 Responses to “If You’ve Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole” Subscribe

  1. Joanna Z. Weston January 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Debra, this is so amazingly relevant to where I am right now! Between the mid-winter blues and dealing with a nasty cold, I’ve been slipping down the rabbit hole myself. Thanks for the reminder of how easily radical self care will help me climb back out again!

    • Debra February 4, 2013 at 9:42 am #

      Darling, Joanna. I’m hearing from so many folks that they are struggling this week, which make me feel there must e *something* in the air. The trick, truly is to be gentle with ourselves (just the opposite of logic, huh??)

      Hope you’re feeling more the thing as the days progress.

  2. Janene April 3, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Boy, did I need to see this. I went flying down the rabbit hole this past weekend without a warning. I have now crawled out and am trying to recover. Unfortunately I also need to help my 14 year old daughter because it sent her into her own hole.

    I was doing some extreme self-care and feeling really guilty. Now, I feel better about that. I’m off to clear some clutter 🙂

    • Debra April 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      You’re the 3rd person today that has said she needed this post! You’ll get there, sweetie. (and your daughter will too!)


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