Let Go of the "Shoulds" in Your Life

Today’s guest post comes from My Wellbeing therapist Rachel Gersten, who practices therapy at Viva Wellness NYC in downtown Brooklyn. This month has Rachel reflecting on what it means to assert your independence in the face of unpleasant feelings and the shoulds that demand your attention -- read on to learn how you can practice asserting your independence, too.


A Mid-Summer Reflection

Summer’s here! Well, it’s been here for a while, but I still think it’s pretty exciting. We’ve seen the unofficial halfway point of summer, July Fourth, come and go.

I’ve heard from clients this year that Independence Day feels a little bit more loaded than it has in the past. The state of the world and the recent news cycles haven’t put them in the mood to celebrate, they say. Regardless of political affiliation, most of us can agree that the vibe in our country hasn’t exactly been great for our own mental health and wellbeing. I get that. I’m with you. I understand why the most American holiday there is can feel less carefree than usual.

Make Holidays Work For You

I’m all about the idea of making holidays work for you -- both with my clients and in my own life. We receive messages all the time about what our holidays “should” look like, but who makes those rules? For many, Christmas looks like opening gifts and eating a ton of food surrounded by relatives. But who says it can’t also be a day where, because everything closes down and goes silent, you take time to unwind by yourself and reflect on the year? Who says you can’t celebrate and love the parts of a holiday that you want, and leave the rest? I’m doing just that this summer.

What Does Independence Mean To You?

In that vein, on July Fourth, I focused on what Independence Day means to me. The idea of independence really resonated with me this year -- especially the independence to choose what I need to take care of myself.

Independence and wellness go hand in hand. We are flooded with everything we should be doing (sensing a theme here?) on a daily basis. We “should” all over ourselves on a daily basis. We should be spending more time at home. We should be spending more time with friends. We should stay out late. We should wake up early. We should do this. We should do that.

Independence From The "Shoulds"

If you listen to all the “shoulds,” your head might explode. But practicing wellness is practicing independence. Independence from the “shoulds,” so you can focus on what feels best for you. Of course it’s important to be there for friends, family, and co-workers, but it’s just as important to be there for yourself. Sometimes that means taking a step back from others and shifting your focus to yourself and your individual needs. Wellness is independence from what everyone else is doing that may not work for you.

You don’t have to follow the crowd if the crowd isn’t going in the direction that’s best for you. Decide what wellness, success, and happiness look like for you, and exercise your independence to follow that path, even if you’re traveling solo.

We have been given the amazing gift of independence. Don’t forget to use it, embrace it, and love it.


Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story with us. We are grateful to work with you and look forward to others growing from and with your genuine care.

Psst: keep an eye on this space for an upcoming Q&A with Rachel -- more to come about her journey toward becoming a therapist and business owner!

Connect with Rachel

If you'd like to explore working with Rachel, you can reach out to Rachel directly by phone (646 661-5652) or email (contact@vivawellnessnyc.com) or learn more by visiting her website.

If you’re interested in reading more from Rachel, she blogs for her practice Viva Wellness and curates an ever-inspiring Instagram account at @vivawellnessnyc.

Stay tuned to meet more therapists we work with at My Wellbeing in the weeks to come. Questions, comments, or feedback? We'd love to hear from you. Reach our team any time at connect@mywellbeing.us.