It's Hard Being Hard on Myself, Week Twenty in the No Longer New Abnormal

May 11, 2024 by Janet Zinn


In thinking about what to write this week I wondered if I should write about Mother’s Day.  But I decided that rather than writing more on the day that brings up so much for so many, I’ll limit my input by briefly folding it into the self-care tips, Then there have been amazing pictures online of the rare Aurelia Borealis.  Though I didn’t witness it myself, those who captured the colorful wonder have posted images that defy words.  What I’ve settled on is to say that when I reread my book a couple of months ago, In the Time of Coronavirus, for the last look before submitting it for publication, I became very uset.  I thought, “Who do I think I am?’ and “what could I have been thinking?” and, “This is bad. I’m so embarrassed!”  I have a long history of berating myself.  At that moment I questioned my writing, and my hubris for thinking I could put a book out into the world.  

I very down on myself.  But I had gotten so far and I decided to give the final go-ahead, knowing I’d have to with all my feelings.  It had been a dream of mine to be an author, and it was okay if this was my first, if flawed, book.  I had learned a lot and I still have a lot to learn, so this would be a dream come true, even if there were things that upset me.  

Once it was in pre-publication, the publishing date is June 4th, a few early reviews came in.  They were very positive.  The reviewers didn’t know me, nor did they have any incentive to write nice things about the book.  Once I read a couple, I realized how hard I had been on myself, and, in turn, the book.  Maybe I was simply wrong.  Or I had unreasonable expectations.  Not a rare trait.  Just ask my family.  I am grateful that others have been able to appreciate what I couldn’t.  Though I know it’s probable that there will be mixed reviews, depending on the reader, it’s nice to know it will find its audience, and that is just fine.  

Here are a few quotes from the reviews:  


From Kirkus:


 “Zinn writes in an unadorned style that feels both accessible and intimate. She discusses her subjects with gentle authority while making no claims to having all the answers.




“A pandemic remembrance that succeeds as both memoir and self-help guide.

From the Book Commentary:  

“In her poignant collection of reflections and self-care strategies, In the Time of Coronavirus, Janet Zinn examines the tumultuous landscape of the pandemic with grace and wisdom.”


“This book might be about coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, but its wisdom is timeless, a message to accompany and inspire readers through any difficult moment.” 

From The Feathered Quill:  

“With its intimacy centering on Zinn’s experiences and its universality deftly depicted to reach the hearts and minds of others, her book is sure to fulfill the purpose she envisioned.”


“ Janet Zinn’s self-help manual, In the Time of Coronavirus, offers an empathic, week-by-week view of the effects of coronavirus restrictions that will be read and appreciated by anyone seeking to solve a large variety of life’s problems.”


Though I was harsh with no clear perspective, I am open to the fact that my opinion in that dark place was purely subjective.  I’m hopeful that other readers will find In the Time of Coronavirus useful and supportive when life’s difficulties emerge.  In the end, my first book served its author when I was being too tough on myself.  

Self-Care Tips:

  • Do what you can to reparent yourself.  If your mother or caregiver was kind and accepting, you can replicate that care towards yourself.  If your primary caregiver or parent was not someone who matched your needs, then find a way to be compassionate towards yourself for what you didn’t receive but can now give to yourself.  
  • Another way to reparent yourself is to notice when you are being critical of yourself and ask “what can I do to be more accepting of what I’m going through?” And, “can I give myself something that might support me through this?”
  • Gift yourself a future copy of  In the Time of Coronavirus.   You can go to or go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, request it from your local library, or from an independent bookstore or book seller.