I was going to announce an official hiatus today, but realized I may stop in a few times throughout the fall. I am quite overwhelmed with studying for my master's exam while also having scheduled a few trips this fall that are much desired but certainly won't help the studying! I have been trying to limit all other activities that I can, putting off allergy testing and subsequent shots, downsizing volunteer editing projects, stopping pottery classes for the time being. Some of the texts I'm studying for the exam, particularly on style and stylistics in writing, teaching basic writing, and teaching ESL writing, are ancient (40 - 50 years old) and while interesting, I'm not sure they're even that relevant anymore to the field. I considered postponing next week's neighborhood association's craft group activity (which I lead) and waiting to jump back into our writer's group until winter, but the women in both of those groups are so fun and inspiring that I don't want to miss our gatherings. Yesterday I scheduled necessary and helpful tasks, even if they took time away from my studying: tea with a friend that I hadn't seen in two months (I found a new favorite at Barnes & Noble, Harney & Sons Green Tea with Coconut), an appointment at the post office for expedited passports should we go into Canada on an upcoming trip, and a visit to my doctor for sedatives for flights and concentration strategies for studying. I am so blessed to have found this doctor; she has made a huge difference in my life. I've never used exercise videos, but I'm actually enjoying walking at home (more like low impact aerobics) to burn off stress after studying.
I listened to Allison Krauss sing Graceland and Carolina several times last night, dear favorites; it was remarkably soothing. Perhaps significantly, both of these songs speak of travel, yearning, and grace. How did I not realize that until this moment? I am aching to be home in a few weeks for autumn in the Black Hills and time with my family (my sister is in England visiting her in-laws and I really miss our long weekend chats; there is no one else with whom I regularly have 60-90 minute phone calls!) I have to say that things like my master's exam really don't seem all that important when I think about home. (Hubby, unfortunately, will be staying here to work, and has been working lots of weekends, including today, as it's a very busy season.) All my worries and anxieties also seem lessened when I remember volunteering a few hours at a local day shelter the other week, handing out laundry bags and folding clothes for people without homes. It was humbling; I don't let anyone else touch my laundry and I couldn't imagine having to hand all the clothes I own over to a complete stranger to be washed. Perspective helps.
How do you handle stress? Any study tips? Please cross your fingers, keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I study and face my flight phobia! I am looking forward to catching up on your blogs when I can!