Practicing Self-care and Letting Go of the Guilt

Alexus Jones avatar

by Alexus Jones |

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All of my friends know about my love of wine.

The first summer after I turned 21 I was in Maine, and I spent many weekends traveling down to New Hampshire to tour vineyards. I especially love uncorking a strange wine, like PB&J or Choco-Straw from Zorvino, and sharing the experience with friends. For every bottle I open, I save the cork as both a reminder of exciting wines and a memory of the time I shared with friends.

I’m now 23, so it’s been about two years since that summer. I have accumulated a lot of wine corks. To attempt to organize them, I got a cute wine cork memory box, but that’s full, and in addition to that, I have a bag of corks that didn’t fit into the box.

As social distancing started, I imagined all of this free time I would have and concluded that I should do a DIY project with the corks. It would be a great way to keep all of them while making their current existence a bit more functional. I settled on a DIY wine cork mat and ordered all of the materials I needed.

It’s been about a month since all of those materials were delivered, and they have remained untouched on my windowsill since then. This weekend, other than a bit of cooking and cleaning, I had plenty of free time during which I could have started this mat. Instead, I built a blanket fort and played Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. (It’s a great game.)

Toward the beginning of self-isolation, I felt guilty for not being as productive as I could be with all of this free time. I could have worked on relearning Spanish (as the Duolingo owl likes to remind me) when instead I was scrolling through social media. Over time, I realized that this new normal is a bit exhausting.

I’m still working the same number of hours per week, if not more, and I’m cooking and cleaning more. But my emotional energy is lower. Being stressed is draining, and I recharge by seeing other people. I realized I needed to be more forgiving of myself for not being as productive as I usually am. 

I’ve written before about how I view taking time for oneself as an essential part of self-care, and I think it is more relevant now than ever before in my lifetime. Something I know I have to work on continuously is understanding when I need time for myself, and not feeling guilty about it. For me, the more days that I need it, the harder it is not to feel bad about it — which is many right now. 

Whenever this pandemic ends, I hope I’ve succeeded in not feeling guilty anymore. That skill would be useful as my mom starts to progress with Huntington’s, and further down the line, when I’m symptomatic.


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Erin Paterson avatar

Erin Paterson

I am the same way as you. I feel bad about taking down time for myself. I recently took a mindset training course and the coach was the same way. So I have learned to schedule it into my calendar each day. I hope you are doing well this week.


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