by Kate Vandeveld

Most of us understand that taking care of ourselves is important. So you’d think that we would all prioritize self-care above most other things, right?

In reality, prioritizing our own mental and emotional well being can be really difficult – especially when we’ve got a lot going on (as most everyone does).

Self-care takes thoughtful effort and time. To stay on top of it, we need to regularly evaluate our own well being, and continually determine which aspects of our lives and habits are positive, and which are bringing us down.

This summer, we’re doing just that. We’re taking stock of the things in our lives that negatively affect us, and we’re shutting them down (as much as we can). In celebration of the upcoming holiday, here are some of the things that our team is declaring our independence from:

This Summer, I Declare My Independence From… -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Being tethered to technology 24/7.

These days, it’s so hard to shake the feeling that we need to be constantly connected. Because we have access to social media and email virtually everywhere we go, we feel pressure to stay on top of everything, all the time. But being constantly connected to our technology makes it difficult for us to maintain true connections with those around us, and doesn’t even lead to greater productivity in the long run. We’re making a conscious decision to disconnect when we don’t need to be connected, and focus instead on the things that are happening around us.

Feeling the need to be “busy” all the time.

We live in a culture in which busyness is perceived as a sign of success – a “badge of honor,” even. But really, being overextended is bad for you and everyone around you. To put an end to this norm, we need to rethink the way we perceive success, and change the way we work accordingly. Rather than feeling a need to be “busy” all the time, we’re focusing on productivity and engagement, while living fully outside of work too.

This Summer, I Declare My Independence From… -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Saying “yes” to everything.

When you’re managing your own time and workload, sometimes it can feel like you should say “yes” to everything without hesitation. Yes to new projects, yes to every meeting, yes to every client request, regardless of scope. But this can, so easily, lead to burnout. Instead of saying “yes” right away, we’re taking the time to evaluate what each decision will mean for us in terms of value, capacity and timing, saying yes only when we really mean it.

Working with clients whose values don’t align with ours.

When it comes to taking on new clients, we’ve learned how important it is to be thoughtful about value alignment. As a team, our values of accountability, positivity, purpose, learning and empowerment fuel everything that we do. We’ve found that when we work with clients who share those values, we’re able to work and communicate more effectively, leading to better outcomes and more positive relationships.

This Summer, I Declare My Independence From… -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Old school networking.

For many of us, the word “networking” has negative connotations – business cards, awkward introductions, and lots of small talk. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, some of the most fruitful professional connections we’ve ever made have come from organic conversations in airports and restaurants, and introductions made by our friends. This type of networking reaps the same results, but is generally much, much more comfortable. If traditional networking makes you uncomfortable, let it go – it’s not for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be.

Prioritizing profit above all.

Trust us, we know that money matters. We are the first to admit that we’ve taken on projects that weren’t totally value-aligned, or were too much for our schedules for the sake of paying the bills. But when it comes to the big picture, we do our best to balance purpose alongside profit. This requires more careful planning and evaluation, but leads to projects that we’re truly passionate about.

This Summer, I Declare My Independence From… -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Working within traditional work hours.

We’ve been taught that we need to be working, at a bare minimum, from 9am until 5pm every weekday – no questions asked. Whether you’re feeling productive or not, those hours are supposedly imperative. But why should it be that way? Instead, we’re working hard when we’re feeling productive, and giving ourselves the flexibility to do other things when we’re not. As consultants, we have freedom to build our schedules so we are as effective as possible – we’re using it, and encourage others to do the same.


We think it’s important to add that we understand we’re not always in a position to declare our independence from all of the things that bring us down – and we would never want to insinuate that’s the case. But self-care is so important, and to the extent that we can make moves to be better to ourselves, let’s do it.

What are some of the things that you’d like to declare your independence from for the sake of self-care? Give us some inspiration by…