How to Deal with Ghosts (Friends who Abandon You)

Fear in Wonderland // How to Deal with Ghosts

I would love to tell you that this post is about how to eradicate those pesky translucent chain-rattlers from your attic, but alas I’m here with a more serious topic. But maybe another time. Friends can brighten up your life, and they can also weigh you down. There is one certain kind of person that has the power to weigh you down beyond what you can carry, and it’s time to learn how to let them go – these people are ghosts.

“Ghosting” is a relatively new term from what I have seen, but friendship abandonment is an all too familiar (and longstanding) occurrence for many people. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to most of the people I know, and chances are if you’re reading this it has happened to you. For that, my friend, I am sorry, but my hope is that you may find some comfort in the suggestions that I have for you.

Don’t believe that voice in your head. You know the one, it’s telling you that there is something horribly wrong with you and that’s why your friend left. That voice is an asshole. That voice is lying to you. I know it is tempting to believe it, but there’s not a single reason you should. There is not anything wrong with you. You are doing a great job at being a human.

Know that there is a reason, and also know that you might never discover what that reason is. The thing about ghosts is that they don’t tell you their unfinished business. Make peace with that realization, or you may pull your hair out fretting over it. The reason could be anything. They could be focusing on their own mental health and pulling away from you because your friendship isn’t right for them anymore. They could be lazy and pulling away from you because they’re no longer willing to invest the time and energy into your friendship.

Decide if you want to make one last bit of contact or if you are okay with just letting things go. If you want to make things official, by all means send them an e-mail, a postcard, a text letting them know that your friendship is no longer sustainable and it was lovely while it lasted. But if you do this, please stick with it. They may respond, but if they haven’t been responding to you thus far there is a pretty good chance they won’t. Don’t try to contact them again after this – doing so is simply setting yourself up for disappointment. Try as you might, you cannot will that “Seen” notification into a reply.

Grieve. You don’t have to pretend you’re okay with losing your friend. Give yourself some time to be sad. Listen to Adele. Snuggle your pet. Write sad poetry. Do what you need to do to work through your sorrow.

Don’t hold onto your anger. This is an absolute must. You know the saying “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die?” It’s true. Resentment will not accomplish anything at all except possibly making you a bitter person. You don’t deserve that, so now is the time to learn to let go.

Give it time. Don’t expect to hit “Send” on that final e-mail and immediately feel better. You lost a friend, and you deserve time to get over that. Losing people is a process, and it is absolutely okay to not feel okay. Just know that you will feel better – maybe not right now, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

The number one step to feeling better and living happier is learning to take care of yourself. Not just paying your bills and feeding yourself, but really caring for every bit of you that needs attention. So many of us live in a society in which it is acceptable – even encouraged – to constantly self depreciate. We can’t accept compliments, we constantly underestimate our self-worth, and there is absolutely no way in hell that that we could ever love ourselves. That kind of behavior would cause… well no one is yet to be able to tell me exactly what kind of havoc it would wreak, but from what I can tell it would likely shred the fabric of the universe itself.

All sarcasm aside, I’m on the side of Luisa Omielan – it’s time to upgrade. There’s no good reason that we should tear ourselves down. We are amazing human beings who can do and accomplish so much, and insulting and hating yourself absolutely will not help reach such ends. When you’re tired let yourself rest, when you are hungry let yourself eat, and when you feel crappy be nice to yourself. Thinking like this might take some time, but that’s okay. You’re re-learning how to live and think about yourself and how you relate to the world around you. It’s perfectly acceptable if these changes don’t happen overnight.

Take baby steps into caring for yourself, because – as I’ve said before – self care is important. Below, I have outlined some ideas for self care that ease you into treating yourself with love and respect. Try them out. If you like them, incorporate them into a routine – do them once a week, or once a month, or whenever you have a moment to yourself to breath. If you hate them, look to your own interests to find what kinds of actions would put a smile on your face. You deserve it, you are an amazing person.

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

1. Read a book: Not just any book – this book. Anastasia Amour is a truly gifted wordsmith and has the uncanny ability to make anyone feel better about themselves. Or, if you do just want to read any old book, sign up for BookBub. They send out daily newsletters with a list of great deals on e-books, and they often include free ones. If you don’t have an e-reader, you can grab a free app for your phone or read directly on your computer.

2. Take a bath: This one is obvious, but go all out. Use a bath bomb (I’m rather fond of Lucky Tree Soap), drink something delicious, slap on a mask, and let your muscles melt.

3. Buy yourself a super soft blanket: One of my favorite purchases ever is what I have deemed my “magic blanket.” It doesn’t really have magic powers, but it is really freakin’ soft and warm. Sometimes you just need something comfy to snuggle with, and this is that thing. This is mine, but there is a world full of soft blankets out there that can live up to your standards.

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

4. Perfect your skincare routine: This one was life-changing for me. I really started taking care of my skin about six months ago because I’m in my mid-twenties and figured it was about time that my skin came into contact with a retinoid. Two things happened that I did not expect: my skin looks freaking amazing, and skincare became one of my favorite rituals. Seriously, I love skincare. Working out my skincare routine has been one of the best moves for self care that I could have made.

5. Eat veggies for breakfast: Eating healthy makes you feel good both physically and mentally, so jump start your day with a boost to your body and your ego. Even the pickiest eaters out there like at least one kind of vegetable. If you’re adventurous, try some new ones! My go-to is brussel sprouts. I keep a bag from Trader Joe’s in the freezer so that I can toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roast them in the oven anytime I need some greens for breakfast.

6. Find a hobby or two, or five: It is NEVER too late to learn something new. It kills me when people say that they’re too old to learn this or that (including myself). Hobbies are really stimulating and great for the brain, no matter where you are in life. Learning new skills can be challenging, but it can also be life-changing. Pick up cross stitching, learn a new language (try sign language!), take a dance class, or learn to cook. I promise you will enjoy learning what interests you.

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

7. Listen to a podcast: I love music, but sometimes I get burnt out on it and need to listen to something that stimulates my brain in a different way. Plus, I’m big on multitasking, and podcasts are perfect to spice up any mindless activity. Listen to one while you’re doing the dishes, taking a bath, or out for a walk. Need some recommendations? Here are some of my favorites:

Radiolab2 Dope QueensLimetownSerialThis American Life
Ask Me AnotherWelcome to Nightvale

Ready to start being nice to you? Good, because it’s about time. You are a wonderful person, and you deserve to be treated as such – by everyone, including yourself.

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

How to Plan a Great Year

How to Plan a Great Year

I’ve wasted a lot of time wanting to do things instead of actually doing them.  At the end of 2015 I was unhappy and unfulfilled, and desperate to make some changes in my life.  For the most part, the things that I wanted to do or accomplish were completely within reach, it was just a matter of putting in the time or effort and actually doing them.  With little time left before the start of the year, I made a to-do list entitled “Things I want to do (or start) in 2016.”  This simple act revolutionized my year.

How to Plan a Great Year

This list is superior to the traditional New Year’s Resolution because rather than making a large claim about how you intend to live your life from here out, you are giving yourself the tools to be able to change your life at a realistic pace in enjoyable ways.  Your to-do list items can be small and simple actions, or life-changing goals.  It is up to you what kinds of things you would like to accomplish, and how much effort you are willing to put into your actions.

How to Plan a Great Year

My advice to you, dear reader, is to make yourself a list of things you want to do this year – a simple, not-at-all-intimidating, completely feasible list of things that you have been meaning to get around to, but just haven’t.  Go get yourself a blank notebook, fill it with your goals, and keep it within sight.  Here are some tips to help you in doing so.
  • Think of it as a short-term bucket list
    • Create a list of things you would like to do before the end of 2017.  Think back on what kinds of goals or plans you have wanted to make in the past.  What have you been wanting to do, but haven’t yet?  What have you been complaining about that could improve with change?  What kinds of things make you happy?
  • Don’t make your tasks too big
    • The beauty of this list is that the items are doable, so the list is not an intimidating heap of seemingly insurmountable tasks.  Make smaller tasks that will eventually culminate into a larger goal.  For example, if you would someday like to travel across Europe but have never been out of the US, add list items like “get my passport,” “start learning Spanish/French/Italian/etc,” and “follow some travel blogs.”
  • Keep an agenda, and itemize which items you want to accomplish by month
    • Maybe you will have an influx of cash in April when your tax return comes in, but you will be short after your birthday in June because “treat yo self.”  Or perhaps the weather will be crap in February but perfect in May.  Considering things like this can help you plan purchases, trips, or events.  Get detailed with your monthly planning as well – if “read more books” is on your yearly to do list, start each month with an idea of what books you would like to tackle.
  • Check in with yourself
    • How often you do this is up to you.  Depending on how busy I was, I wrote a check-in list every month or two so that I could take stock of how my year was stacking up.  Not only will this encourage you to get things done, analyzing your accomplishments can boost your confidence (because yes, you are kicking ass).
  • Need some inspiration or examples of things to put on your list?
    • Volunteer for a charity
    • Go on a trip
    • Start learning a new skill
    • See a particular band
    • Make some plans for self care
    • Create something
    • Read more books/Watch more movies/Listen to more podcasts
    • Decorate a room in your living space
    • Go all out for a particular holiday
    • Cook certain recipes
    • Make a fitness goal
    • Find a fitness source
    • Get a tattoo
    • Change your appearance
    • Start a garden
    • Attend a particular event

How to Plan a Great Year