Mags Ready to Refuel and Restore after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving and Thankstaking – 5 Back End Rituals to Refuel and Restore After and During the Together Time

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A long time ago, I remember a social worker friend saying that Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday for some people because it doesn’t have the distractions of presents, or egg hunts, or fireworks. Thanksgiving’s focus on just family can be tough, so I figured I’d share something I heard online not so long ago.

This therapist was explaining that when we spend time with people who we don’t feel safe being our “authentic selves” around, it can be extremely draining. She went on to suggest creating, what she called, “back end rituals.” Back end rituals are things we can plan to do to take care of ourselves and restore after the visit. She didn’t go into much detail about what those things could be, but it got me thinking about some ways I refill my cup after a family gathering.

Here are 5 of my favorite Back End Rituals:

    1. The Total Unplug/Reset: One of my favorite things to do after together time is to put my feet up and just rest. I leave my phone in another room and watch a show that I can absolutely fall asleep to if I happen to doze off.
    2. Quiet Indulgence: I love to save a dessert or some other food for later. Fully enjoying a meal when there are a lot of other stimuli in the room can be hard for me. I’d rather pass on something when everyone’s together and save it for later when the house is quiet and I can fully savor the food. 
    3. Phone a Friend: I have a few friends who are always available for an emotional download. I usually just leave them a voice text so they don’t even have to pick up the phone. But it makes me feel better to process whatever is on my mind and move on with the day.
    4. Movement: Going for a walk is one of those things that’s hard for me to motivate myself to do when I’m already feeling drained, but it always helps. Letting the outside in brings me so much peace, and it also doubles as a great way to get the heck away from everyone for a bit.
    5. Gratitude List: Look, I’m not pulling out a fancy pen and pretty journal here. It’s just, sometimes negative people or a snarky comment take up more space in my head than all the love and beauty of the day. Spending a few moments bringing to mind what I appreciate about my life helps me to put the focus where I ultimately want it to be: on the blessings.

It’s worth mentioning that I can feel drained after a gathering whether I can or can’t be my authentic self at that event. When people are around me, I am so focused on listening and taking in all their joy that I get completely wiped out. I appreciate the validation that those feelings of depletion are real, and that I’m best served when I give myself the opportunity for both Thanksgiving and Thankstaking. Hmmm, this holiday is beginning to feel like a perfect opportunity to declare another Fend for Yourself Day! Who’s with me? 

Next week, I’d like to talk about what I can do when everyone is bothering the C-R-A-P out of me! Be sure to tune in next week to find out more. And a quick moment of gratitude for all of my TeamConfession subscribers. It means so much to me that you’re enjoying the show—we’ve had over 3k downloads of the podcast! And it also means the world to me when you share the episodes with friends and encourage them to subscribe. A little shout out to Conor up in Massachusetts for spreading the word on social media by sharing my post on the Winchester, Mass page—thanks so much buddy! Happy Thanksgiving everyone and safe travels!

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  1. Congrats on 3K downloads!

    • Thanks so much! …Chipping away at it.
      And, thanks so much for taking the time to reach out, I really appreciate it!

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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