BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
If you know anything about mercury retrograde, you know that it brings changes & all sorts of delays to your personal, professional, & creative life. Most people hate mercury retrograde simply because everything seems to go wrong. If you make major purchases, there may be manufacturing problems or delays with shipment; expect miscommunications to arise between friends & family; do you seem to notice that people or concerns from your past are resurfacing? If so, you are correct in your observations.
Mercury retrograde brings change not to disturb your life, but to replenish it. It is recommended to delay signing legal contracts, or making any personal decisions, until retrograde is over. Since retrograde is meant to refresh your body & mind, you will have a clearer idea of what you want after this period is over. Of course, you can't stop your life from happening, which means if you go on job interviews, just make sure to ask more questions, read between the fine lines, & just make sure you know the situation at hand.
Think of yourself as a closet—every spring you clean it & throw away all the unnecessary parts. This is the most beautiful aspect of mercury retrograde, as it allows you to reevaluate your current situation. Are you happy with your job, your partner, your friends, your productivity? If not, it asks you to finally make the changes crucial to your happiness.
Instead of succumbing to miscommunication & unbalance, remember to refocus your attention to the bigger picture: are you happy? If not, how can you be? Are these miscommunications irreversible? If not, how can you fix them? Below are some simple steps to keeping sane, & using the retrograde to your advantage:
1. Evaluate your personal relationships.
Do you have toxic friendships or partnerships? Does someone in your life make you insecure, jealous, or unhappy? If so, think about why. Sometimes, it is necessary to let people go if they are no longer a happy presence in your life. If you have a friend who is constantly bringing you down & there is nothing you can do to change this, accept it & move on. I’m a sentimental person, so I will do anything in my power to sustain relationships by talking about my feelings, but if communication fails, break ties. People should bring pleasure, not pain.
2. Reconnect with old friends & flames.
Retrograde is the best time to reconnect with those you lost touch or had a falling out with. Evaluate why you let a connection go, if enough time has passed for your wounds to heal. People come & go—it's natural for relationships to go through phases. Grab coffee with an old work buddy, contact your ex to gain the closure you both need.
As with reconnecting & reevaluating your relationships, it is the perfect moment to forgive those around you, including yourself. The past is the past. It is unhealthy to constantly cling to hurt feelings & bitterness—embrace your experiences, be empathetic. Holding grudges will only isolate you.
4. Take care of your health.
Start taking vitamins, go for that walk after dinner. If you are anything like me, you are so harried half the time that you forget to drink enough water. Don’t do that. If you have to, start a journal where you record what you eat & how you exercise throughout the day. How do you relax? I did this for a few weeks recently & it truly helped me to see where my diet needed fixing, how I could work in quick exercise routines. It is not perfect, but it’s a great step in being honest with your lifestyle. It’s up to you whether you continuously record yourself—I personally stopped since I found it unnecessary, as these habits have start to become routine.
5. Start a new project.
While I keep stressing that retrograde is a wonderful time to make peace with your past habits, emotions, & relationships, it is crucial to remember your future. What do you want to accomplish? This is the time to make those changes, & actually do it! Start a novel, join a class, register for an online dating site. Whatever goal you have in mind, write down five to ten ways you can start making it happen.
Dates for mercury retrograde in 2016:
January 5 - January 25, 2016 (in Aquarius, ends in earth Capricorn)
April 28 - May 22, 2016 (in earth sign Taurus)
August 30 - September 22, 2016 (in earth sign Virgo)
December 19 2016 - January 8, 2017 (in earth Capricorn to late degree fire Sagittarius)
Editor's Note: A version of this appeared on our old site.