Blue Monday: What are your best self-care tips?

(Brenda Wong) #1

Hey Monzo Community!

Blue Monday is upon us, and whether it’s something you subscribe to or don’t, it’s perhaps a great opportunity for our community to discuss the ways in which we take care of ourselves.

What are your best tips? At the moment, I’m trying to:

a) Walk more
b) Drink more water
c) Banning screen usage an hour before bed (because lurking on Twitter isn’t great for your mental health, especially before you try to sleep)

I’m also very much looking forward to the launch of Aloe, a self-care reminder app. Because, in my humble opinion, self-care is the best care.

Also, if you’re reading this and you happen to be struggling today of all days, it does get better. A reminder to reach out to Mind (020 8519 2122) or Samaritans (116 123) if you need help.

(Note: Also interested in any of your thoughts about self-care in general! It doesn’t always have to be essential oils and warm baths, despite what Instagram says.)


Hi Brenda,

Great tips. Every day is a Blue Monday for me so I’d add:

  1. Be kind and gentle to yourself
  2. It’s okay to fail. It’s the trying that’s important
  3. Focus on what gives you joy, however small and fleeting e.g. the smell of fresh coffee, shadows in sunlight, rustle of trees…

(Brenda Wong) #3

Hey there - oh no! I’m sorry to hear that things are so blue for you right now. :pensive:

I love what you said about focusing on what gives you joy. The little things can mean so much - it’s important to remember that.

If I may recommend a book that helped me through my Blue period (not as cool as Picasso’s though) - Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive was wonderful. I hear great things about Maggy van Eijk’s Remember This When You’re Sad as well.

Take care of yourself! *Edit: tagging @Zemblanity for visibility

(Simon B) #4

Great thread Brenda!

I like to put on a playlist of music that makes me happy, have a nice cup of coffee and reflect practically on my short and long term goals :slightly_smiling_face:

(Brenda Wong) #5

Ah, thanks Simon! :slight_smile:

Ooh! Do you happen to have any tips on how you reflect? Do you set those goals at a certain time of year, perhaps, and for what time frame? (Sorry, I’m so curious!) *Edit: tagging @simonb for visibility

(Ian Lyon) #6

I’m right on board with drinking more water, @brenda! #DrinkMoreWater2018 :potable_water:

I do my best to keep things as minimal as I possibly can; as silly as it might seem, if something doesn’t particularly add any value for me I find the mental clutter can frustrate me. This applies to everything from the apps on my phone to the things in my house.

I’m also about to jump into trying the Headspace app. I’ve heard a lot of good things!

(Brenda Wong) #7

Ooh! Let me know how Headspace works out for you, I’m tempted myself! Speaking of mental clutter, something that’s really helped me is Noisli - a background noise desktop app. Think it’s also available on iOS if I’m not mistaken, but it’s a paid app so not shouting about that, haha.

It’s a great interface and you can customise sounds to suit you and your mood :slight_smile:️ it’s been great for helping me tune out when my mind gets a little too buzzy @IanLyon

(Simon B) #8

Not especially, other than trying to find some quiet time and space with no distractions. I set goals usually around the beginning of the year and adapt them over time.:slightly_smiling_face:

(Jacq ) #9

I like to bake and read!

Baking is good because it is really methodical so you can focus all your energy on getting everything just right. It also give you the opportunity for a bit of creativity, and having something to show for your time is always nice :blush: (also there’s a tasty treat at the end :yum:)

Reading is lovely because you can pretend to be somewhere else for a little while - it’s nice to have an escape sometimes

(Brenda Wong) #10

Any reading recommendations for 2018 @JacqB? I have a feeling you have some really great ones. :books:

(Jacq ) #11

Lots! Roald Dahl’s short stories for adults are wonderfully dark and funny!

If you’re looking for some sad and lovely short stories I’d say any Lorrie Moore :blush:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is fun and dark

Anything by Francoise Sagan :heart:

Big variety but not much modern so if you have any recommendations for something new let me know @brenda!


Pretty much time to myself to recharge. Whether thats just Netflix or colouring in. Or cat cuddles…

(Brenda Wong) #13

Could not agree more with cat cuddles! What are your cats like (I’m assuming you have cats from your comment) :cat: @BethS

(Brenda Wong) #14

So intrigued by the Roald Dahl stories! Hmm, my favourite read of last year was potentially Naomi Alderman’s The Power but it doesn’t make for light, easy reading @JacqB


There is 7 in our house :speak_no_evil: 5 are my parents, 4 Maine Coons and a Ragdoll and I have a Norwegian Forest Cat and a Ragdoll x Snow Bengal.

:cat2: :cat2: :cat2: :cat2: :cat2: :cat2: :cat2:

(Brenda Wong) #16

Oh my goodness! That sounds incredible. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes_cat: @BethS


I have started to leave my phone in my pocket rather than on the table in meetings, and if it is not actively needed for finding relevant information keep my laptop closed, to try and slowly work towards more meaningful work relationships.

This came from watching a Simon Sinek video:


Thank you. Matt Haig is on my reading list so will add Maggy Van Eijk too.
The Bob Ross Remixed Happy Little Clouds song by PBS Digital studios :evergreen_tree::sun_behind_small_cloud:
on Youtube is also comforting!

(Brian Hunter) #19

Gratitude and kindness.

Gratitude in taking time every so often to to be grateful about something in your life. I do it quite often with my mobile phone, and it really helps with any impulsion of wanting to upgrade to the latest one. Be grateful for friends that make time for you. Just take time to acknowledge the good things in your life, no matter how big or small. Just for a moment.

Kindness doesn’t have to be something tangible as well. If you are passing by a stranger in the street, just hope that person is happy and fulfilled and well and safe. Just in your head hope for the very best for them. Take 30 seconds once in a while throughout your day to think about someone you know, and do the same for them. Even people who kinda annoy you.

Those are the two best ‘self care’ things I find for my mental health. I like the idea that happiness is a skill, and you can practice at it.

Exercise too. It’s often a chore, but you can’t really argue with the science on it’s effects on mental health. Just be grateful you can do what you can do, whether it’s a walk to the bottom of the street or spin class.