The last couple of days I've had several moments of paralysis, where my to-do list feels like it has so many top priority things on it that I've just not been sure what to do next. Sure, I'm a big believer in do the next thing, but it's been hard to figure out what that next thing is. Ironically, my to-do list seems a bit shorter than normal, but everything on it is important.
Part of the difficulty has been in taking on this new class, though the benefits of the second class so far seem to be outweighing the negatives. Though it's the same class I've been teaching, this group seems so much sweeter than my other class. Perhaps it's a function of their being new and shiny, but--so far, at least--no one's been reading the paper in class or been nearly as chatty as my other class. And I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to transition them to a course schedule that more closely matches the other class I'm teaching. As soon as IT can figure out how to get me access to their grades, I'll then need to figure out how to integrate their previous grades with the ones I'll give them. Midterm grades are due Tuesday; while it would be nice if I could submit them on time, if I can't, I can't.
I'm getting better of letting go of such things. I've been working on expanding my Wise Blood paper I gave at SAMLA into an article-length piece, with the intention of submitting it to Southern Cultures for their music issue. However, its deadline was March 5, and last week I realized I wasn't going to make it in on time. I had a finished, article-length version of my Edith Wharton paper that just needed its citation style changed for a women's studies journal which is having a special issue on fashion coming up; as that was quicker to finish, I focused on that, and was able to submit it on time. Last week in writing group, I brought an abstract for a southern panel at MLA that's focusing on southern sexuality; that's a big priority, too. Between my professor's comments and my awesome writing partner's comments, I was quite happy with how it turned out. I continue to really appreciate my writing group/partner--having a reachable goal each Friday has been working really well to keep me on task.
Anyway, despite these accomplishments, I have kept hitting the wall of not knowing what to do next, which gives rise to unpleasant feelings of anxiety. This anxiety has the snowball effect that I then keep doing work, and haven't been nearly as active as I'd like to be. I have been doing other activities--my mandolin has been played, and over the course of several work breaks, I've made a bonnet for the Jane Austen Festival this weekend. Still, I think the anxiety and fatigue have been interacting in a way to make me reluctant to do anything active.
I broke that cycle today, and did the online pilates/yoga class I like a lot this afternoon when I got home from a good day at school (the positive feedback loop thing). I noticed, though, at the end of the video, how much I missed savasana, that wonderful pose at the end of yoga classes where you lie in corpse pose, usually while the teacher talks you through a relaxation exercise. Happily, it occurred that nothing was keeping me from doing that myself, so I laid down on my mat and spent probably ten minutes walking myself through conscious relaxation and paid attention to my breathing.
I felt so good afterwards. Though I've always felt suspicious of the yoga talk that savasana is needed to let your activity "sink in" or something, it occurred to me that such a pause is a good thing, and perhaps that's what I've been needing in my not knowing what to do next. I get so into crossing an item off my list that I immediately move on to what's next. I'm now going to try not going on immediately to the next thing--rather than do the next thing, I may try, do something, pause, take a break, do something else.