Why I’m Always Feeling Guilty

It’s a vicious circle. I know it’s important to care for yourself, I know it’s important to have some down time and I know it’s important to not always be thinking about work, about money and social statistics. So why do I feel so guilty when I’m not working?

I’ve thought about this a lot and I strongly believe it’s tied to being self-employed. You know that dream so many of us have? To work from home, to work our own hours, to decide our own holidays. You also get the beautiful feeling of constantly feel guilty when you aren’t working along with it. Go on holiday tomorrow, sure! Feel guilty because you’ve spent money on a holiday and also aren’t earning any money while on that trip -sure! (say goodbye to holiday pay). Oh and also because you are not finding any future work whilst away on this trip, you get to feel guilty about the future too – woop!

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I decided to take a few days off a few weeks ago whilst my sister Amelia was on holiday, I had been working double the workload to cover for Amelia and thought I deserved it – I mean I’m my own boss, so why shouldn’t I treat myself? This day started off by stressing about money as no paid jobs had come in this month and then because of this I spent the day blaming myself and feeling guilty – because If I’m not working and am taking time off, then how are the jobs going to come in? Is being self-employed worth this stress? Should I be trying a different career route? What if no jobs ever come in? What am I doing with my career?

It’s one big vicious circle. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m incredibly lucky and I love what I do, but the feeling of guilt is exhausting. And I’m yet to find a successful answer to this feeling. My usual solution has always been to just try as hard as I can, that’s all you can do right? But I feel like there’s got to be a healthier route. I’m beginning to try and move my focus off the worries of my career and instead when I start to worry I do something like read a book or go see a friend – because life is too short to always worry, worry about feeling guilty and feeling guilty for worrying. If you have any solutions to this problem I’d love to know. This is a bit of a weird post but It’s just a little insight into my mind at the moment I guess, it’s also something I wish I knew about being Self Employed, so I thought I’d share.


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Photos by Henry Mandeville

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6 thoughts on “Why I’m Always Feeling Guilty

  1. I cannot fully relate because I am not self-employed but I do only work part-time due to University and even that money is not enough so I have to borrow money from my parents and I feel terrible about it. I have spare time in the evenings and on Saturdays so should I be working then as well to try and reduce the amount I am borrowing from my parents?! But I know if I do that, I will have no spare and will ultimately burn out.


  2. I get this completely! I’m not self employed, however I work whilst I’m a student. Sometimes I work too much at my job and I feel guilty not working on my uni work, but then when I spend too much time on my uni work, I don’t have any money! Like you say, it’s a viscous circle! The way I try and get out of this slump is to spend time with family and friends, make lists, but also remember that you deserve a break 100%!


    1. I can only imagine how hard it must be to balance going through education as well as a job and attempting to have some down time too. I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to be too hard on your self! -G,x


  3. I struggle with this all the time. I’m a self-employed freelance writer, so I can relate with many of the struggles you have. I feel so guilty if I’m not constantly either doing work or looking for it, even though I know it’s unhealthy. You hear so much about how business owners ‘haven’t had a day off for years’, and it’s promoted as a good thing, so you feel guilty for not being able to do the same. It’s so hard when you haven’t had much paid work coming in, as is my case lately, though I’m trying to be easier on myself.


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