Stop apologising for 'the delay.' We're perpetuating this idea that people must respond within 24 hours. What a strain on our mental health, and what an unfair expectation to set upon everyone. If you must acknowledge the perceived delay, reframe as gratitude or regret: "Thank you for bearing with me as I worked on my response." Or, "I regret it's taken me over a week to respond."
Sage advice from Tatiana.