The holidays are quickly closing in on us, and while I’m the first one to admit I bask in the joy of gingerbread houses, twinkle lights, gift-giving (and receiving), and time with family, it goes without saying that the holidays can also be an especially stressful time. In true 2016 shit-show fashion, this year the holidays also happen to fall during dreaded Mercury retrograde.
For those of you who don’t know what Mercury retrograde is (where have you been??), about three times a year for a few weeks at a time, Mercury actually appears to be moving backwards in the skies. During this time, facets of life ruled by Mercury (travel, communication, truth, and technology) tend to go straight to hell. Expect technical difficulties, travel delays, petty arguments, confusion, and a difficult time communicating clearly (even if you’re usually an expert communicator).
Now, normally I would advise simply not leaving your house and speaking to no one at all for the duration of retrograde. This is impractical advice for any time of year, but it becomes especially impractical around the holidays. Communicating with family and friends, traveling, and generally being out-and-about are pretty much inescapable during the holiday season.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you make it out the other side of this Mercury retrograde holiday dumpster fire alive (or mostly alive, at least).
Think Before Reacting.
During retrograde, tensions tend to run HIGH. Silly arguments abound, and everyone is apt to say insensitive things they’ll likely regret later. Instead of flying off the handle immediately (that’s what retrograde WANTS you to do), take time to think before responding. Now is an important time to pick your battles. Choose wisely.
Give Yourself Time.
Have holiday travel plans? Plan for the worst. If you’re driving or flying, make sure you give yourself plenty of wiggle room for unexpected traffic or flight delays. Try not to get too frustrated if your itinerary doesn’t go quite according to plan. Flexibility is key during retrograde.
Retrograde is a great time for eliminating excess from your life, and with the New Year coming up, it’s a perfect time to clean out your closet, your email inbox, or your Facebook friends list. Take stock of what you really need and what you might be better off without. De-cluttering is also a surefire way to lessen the stress that comes along with retrograde.
Finish What You’ve Started.
While retrograde is a less than ideal time for starting new projects, it’s an excellent time to wrap up what you’ve already begun. This is the perfect time for putting the cherry on top of projects in progress and for tying up loose ends in any area of life. One of the silver linings of Mercury retrograde is that it opens us up to seeing things from fresh perspectives. Revisit old projects you’ve abandoned, and you might just find that the perfect idea for executing them suddenly occurs to you!
Take Care of Yourself.
This is equally important during Mercury retrograde and the holidays in general. With all the hustle and bustle happening, make sure you carve out time for yourself. Take a bath, write in your journal (retrograde is an excellent time for self reflection), listen to your favorite album, do some yoga, or spend eight hours mindlessly taking Buzzfeed quizzes. Whatever helps you unwind. Now is the time to store your energy so you’re ready to leap ahead with new projects when Mercury goes direct on January 8th.
If You’re of the Witchy Persuasion…Turn to Your Metaphysical Arsenal.
While some people preach that you shouldn’t do any type of magic during Mercury retrograde, I disagree. Being clear in your intentions becomes especially important during this time, however. Now is the time where you may find yourself casting a vague spell to bring in love, only to have the universe deliver by sending a stalker your way. Mercury is a hell of a trickster in retrograde, so be extra careful what you wish for.
During this time, I like to use Lavender oil on my throat to ensure that I am able to communicate kindly and clearly, and diluted Peppermint oil on my temples to give me mental clarity and focus. Turn to stones, herbs, and oils that usually assist you in communication, kindness, clarity, and protection. Some personal favorites of mine include Peppermint and Lavender oil (as mentioned above), Lemongrass Oil, Rose Quartz, Clear Quartz, Amazonite, and Fluorite. Apply oils to your skin, burn them as incense, anoint candles with them, or put them in a diffuser in your home. Carry small crystals with you during your day, or make a small altar using herbs and crystals somewhere prominent in your home.
Mercury retrograde is a formidable astrological aspect, but it’s 100 percent survivable if you keep your head, stay flexible, and expect the unexpected. Take advantage of this time of self-reflection, and use it to head into the new year with new goals and insights. When January 8th rolls around, it’s time to hit the ground running.
Photo courtesy of Juskteez Vu/Unsplash
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