The Holiday Rabbit Hole

The other night I was just feeling down thinking of sad things, missing my mom and dad. Being a senior now in my 60’s, death seems to present itself more often than I would like. An older family member recently passed in her 90’s, she lived a long life. She let us know she was ready to be with her husband and her son. It’s easy to go down the Holiday Rabbit Hole.

In my family, there is only one left from that generation, the next generation is in line, and I don’t really want to think about that. Now, let’s add the holidays, and the Auld Lang Syne. We decorate, dragging those old memories out of the garage every holiday season, watch old movies, listen to traditional songs, eat traditional food. It sure seems like everything reminds us of our loved ones, the good, the challenging and maybe things you wish you could erase from your memory.

Stay with me here: We are all human. Controlling and calming down our minds can be challenging. But you can do it! In this short article, I am going to help you avoid the Holiday Rabbit Hole.

Avoiding the Rabbit Hole

Think of the Rabbit Hole like weeds growing in the yard. Have you ever seen Ivy take over a tree? It is almost like there is no tree, only Ivy. The tree is trying to grow but the Ivy is wrapping around its trunk, moving up to its beautiful branches. Soon the tree will disappear under the Ivy if no one takes care of it.

The important part is not to disappear.  Think of the Ivy as your thoughts creeping in, as soon as you notice it, put a hand on your heart and before anything else calm the heart. I do this by taking in a big belly breath in through the nose to the count of 4. As you take this breath in FEEL it. Feel the rise of your belly, the flow of the cool air going into your nostrils, then the rise of  your chest, slowly release the breath out through the mouth to a count of 4 nice and slow.

You are in the present now. The thoughts slow down because through the breath you became present to your own body. You’re IN your body, not your head.  We breathe all day long, and we don’t even think about it.  When you become conscious of this wonderful system you become present with it.

Breathing is Calming

I will share a secret with you that I do. Sometimes I even say to myself, I am breathing in, I am breathing out just to keep my mind focused on the breath and not go down the rabbit hole again.

One more thing that I think is important, is do a little self-inquiry, think of it as talking to a child or anyone that you care for and love deeply. We can be so hard on ourselves, and self-talk can be damaging. What would you say to that person you love so much? This is how you need to treat yourself.  The questions are, is what I am thinking true? Am I residing in the past trying to fix or rethink things that are over and done with? Or am I in the future thinking of things that have not even happened yet? These are the Ivy weeds, do not let them flourish in your mind!

If you’re grieving a death that is recent, I encourage you to use your breathing to help with the sadness and perhaps anxiety.  We must grieve when our loved ones leave this world, the sadness can be intense, this is a simple way to love yourself through it. Do for yourself what you would do for those you love when they are sad.

I wish you peace on your journey.

Why Does it Hurt So Much?

Nina Impala

NINA IMPALA is a highly intuitive multifaceted individual. This she combines with professional education in the End-of-Life Field. Certified by The American Academy of Bereavement for Spiritual Facilitation for the Terminally Ill, Nina also holds a BA in Human Services, is a graduate of Mueller College of Holistic Studies, Author of Dearly Departed What I Learned About Living From the Dying, and a Reiki Master Teacher. Currently she is the Bereavement Coordinator and Counselor for Gentiva Hospice in San Diego, California. For well over 19 years Nina has worked passionately in the hospice field using her gifts visiting the dying and educating families. In addition to working with hospice patients and their families Nina has also assisted families through tragic deaths. Nina works passionately helping them to understand that as much as we would like to have all the answer to the big questions accepting that we don't can be a big hurdle. Nina feels,finding peace in these situations is the greatest gift you can give to another human being. Nina lives in the San Diego area and can be reached at

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