Treats and distractions

Tea flatly

Tea flatly

Of all the pieces of advice which have stuck in my head, this has been my favourite one – to get through you need treats and distractions. It came from a very kind lady who commented on one of my blog posts, I think not long after Roger was diagnosed with cancer. I have had so many lovely comments on my writing, I am grateful for each and every one but especially this one, as it provides a feasible way of how I might possibly cope.

I think one of the best things about keeping this blog is the strength I find from the response I have. Sometimes it just takes a couple of words from someone to get me through a bad moment. I have to say, treats and distractions have got me through bad times before, not quite as tough as these maybe, but tough all the same.

I remember one time when I was in my 20s and nursing a broken heart, I spent £40 on a wash bag and my friends thought I’d gone insane. Did I need a new wash bag? No. But did it make me feel better? Of course it did! I still use it now and it makes me think of that every time I look at it. In hindsight, the thing I thought was the worst thing ever turned out not to be bad at all, quite good in fact, but at the time I thought my world had ended.

So, treats and distractions is the mantra and this time of year – although painful – is the perfect time to find them.

Gingerbread men

I have had a tricky month, what with the general festive vibes and me not feeling really quite so into them. I wrote about this in the post My First Christmas as a Widow, which I had such a mammoth response to – and also the one where I cried at my son’s nativity.

I also had some really sad news last week, as a very special lady, a close family friend and someone who I used to call my second mummy passed away. We will be saying goodbye to her this week and I know it will be such a sad and difficult day, but I’m also hoping her family feel some of the strength which I took from Roger’s funeral service.

Grief makes you tired, but Christmas makes you really tired too, or at least the build-up does, and to add another thing in the mix, kids make you tired, being a single parent makes you tired and being a single working parent who is grieving and has a poorly child makes you well, pretty tired!

So treats and distractions it is. I have been busy lining a few things up for this week and over Christmas, when I’m going to try to take things easy, probably blog a little less, play a little more, hopefully sleep a bit more and have time to see my friends and family a whole lot more.

I still haven’t done all my Christmas shopping, I just have a few things left to buy but I find it so hard going shopping so much and not buying things for myself! So I may have picked up a few little treats along the way there. Hello new dress, bobble hat and blusher… Welcome to my kitchen mulled wine, mince pies and gingerbread.

I think it’s so important for everyone to learn how to be kind to themselves, to rest a bit and to make time for the things which recharge you. It’s not always easy remembering that, is it? I know people always say it to me, but I rarely listen! Maybe this is one of the times that I really should.

x Julia

Gingerbread men

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  • Reply
    December 19, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I love this post. I know it sounds silly that our situations are different, but the message of being kind to yourself too is something that I really need to take forward into the new year with me.
    Charlotte recently posted…Christmas with Mental and Physical Health Problems.My Profile

  • Reply
    Our Seaside Baby
    December 19, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Treats and distractions! What good advice, although this year I’ve probably gone a bit overboard with the former, oops. I’m very sorry to hear about your family friend, she sounds very special to you. Christmas as well as parenting alone is exhausting and with grief on top, I can’t even imagine. Your plans for taking it easy sound ideal and I hope you manage to get some well deserved rest. It’s true, we all need to be kind to ourselves. Big hugs, Polly xx
    Our Seaside Baby recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 19, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Another amazing post Julia, thank you so much. What a wonderful job you are doing, truly you are
    This is my second Christmas as a widow and It can be such a debilitating and draining time – which is why treats and distractions are so invaluable. You have reminded me too about being kind – I read an article once that said you need to treat yourself like the dear friend you always give caring advice to. So now I try and do that but your post reminded me !! I am raising a glass of mulled wine from my kitchen to yours to salute you for walking through every day with such courage and compassion. Thanks for making a difference . X

  • Reply
    December 19, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    You deserve all the treats and distractions you can get your hands on. So sorry for your recent loss. X

  • Reply
    December 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    This makes so much sense. My response to any personal setback has always been to do one of two things – seek out good food or retail therapy, often both. No matter what our situation, we all need those little treats in life. I hope you and the kids have plenty of treats and distractions this Christmas.
    Tim recently posted…Podcast #20: Diary of the DadMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    December 20, 2015 at 12:50 am

    So sorry you have suffered another loss so soon and so close to Christmas. Taking care of yourself is hugely important and I’m glad to hear you are finding little ways to do this. You take all the time you need and know that even if you blog a little less, we will all still be thinking of you and awaiting your next beautiful piece of writing. Bless you and much love this Christmas season xx
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…my little list of happyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock
    December 20, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Particularly loving that last picture – think I’ve found Flo and Sam’s creations?!
    Here’s hoping that Father Christmas brings you a really lovely treat 🙂 and just take it as it comes… and when you need us, your friends are here xXx
    Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock recently posted…Blogger Advent: Door #20My Profile

  • Reply
    Leigh - Headspace Perspective
    December 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Treats and distractions are very good, Julia. Good advice, and something I’ve been doing myself since Hugo died. I’ve bought make-up, pretty stationery, dresses…they don’t make things better but they make me feel a bit brighter and that’s worth a lot in the circumstances. You deserve to have and do whatever treats and distractions take your fancy. I’m so sorry to hear about your second mummy too. Lots of love for Christmas xxx
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…Don’t Stop, Continue: Bereaved Parents’ Voices MatterMy Profile

  • Reply
    Rosemary Gibbins
    December 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Dear Julia, I am so pleased that my idea of ‘treats and distractions’ has helped you. And I can count it as a treat for me as helping others can give such a lift to the spirits! Keep up your wonderful writing as you are helping so many other people with your sensitive and brave words.
    Best wishes
    Rosemary xx

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers/Mini Ventures
    December 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Treats and distractions are a great focus and I love the honesty of this post. I really hope the funeral next week is ok and lean on those close to you to find any extra strength thats needed to get through it. You are incredible and deserve the treats. Thanks for linking up to #sundaystars.
    Mini Travellers/Mini Ventures recently posted…Sunday StarsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beth @ Twinderelmo
    December 20, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Brilliant motto – you need that as a sign in your kitchen!!! That and a whole load of wine. Love as always Mrs xxx
    Beth @ Twinderelmo recently posted…Blogging BuddiesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome)
    December 20, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Such a sweet post Julia, I absolutely agree and treats and distractions are the way forward. I think as time goes on you’ll find it easier to make the time to take care of yourself, you really will need to. I hope to be a distraction for you soon, once Christmas is out the way I’m going to sort out a day we can meet up, maybe manage that trip to Calderstones?! xxx
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome) recently posted…A Little Bit Lately #21 Christmas EditionMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 21, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Somehow such a lovely positive post, despite news of your close friend passing and your weariness from the season and circumstances, which I’m sorry to hear about. I wholeheartedly agree that treats and distractions can take the edge of the less pleasant aspects of life, they help us appreciate the small things when the big things are just too overwhelming.
    Robyn recently posted…BEST BITS OF THE WEEKEND – 19 & 20 DECEMBERMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 22, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Yes, you really should. Whether it’s a blusher or shoes or biscuits – be kind to yourself lovely. You must be so tired and I’m in constant awe of you doing all you do. You deserve all the treats xxx

  • Reply
    sarah christie
    December 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Julia I so hope treats and distractions are helping you get through. I am so sorry about your friend, such sad news. And make sure you treat yourself lots, you so deserve it x
    sarah christie recently posted…The Not So Secret Santa and Blogging FriendsMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    This is a really lovely post, and just the thing I needed to read right now. I’m having a bit of a tough time in life right now. Nothing serious, but maybe, a treat and cutting myself (a little bit) of slack is just what I need to do 🙂 x
    becky recently posted…My Toddler Learns. February.My Profile

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