Mercury Retrograde 101: what it means, its effects and how to ride it out

With the next transition imminent (mark your calendar for May 10 to June 3), we’re exploring what the planetary movement actually means, and the best ways to get through it unscathed and with a positive spin.

Whether you’re into astrology or not, chances are you’ve heard of Mercury Retrograde – it’s when the planet Mercury appears to travel backwards through the sky, and is often associated with periods of confusion, delay and frustration. It occurs three times a year, and while it can be a challenging cosmic cycle, it’s also a great opportunity for growth and reflection.

When it goes into retrograde, our communication, travel plans and technology can feel ‘off’ or scrambled. That’s why you might hear astrologers advising us to take extra precautions.

And while this all sounds a little scary, if you take the right precautions, this transition can actually be a rewarding and fruitful time — it all comes down to the way you approach it.

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Your retrograde survival plan

If you’re nervous about Mercury Retrograde, or find things often go awry during the transition, it can help to reframe this time as a reset period to review certain choices. Of course, it is important to tread carefully in a few areas. Top pieces of advice include:

    • Triple check all emails and written correspondence.

    • If you can, hold off on making any big purchases, including cars, computers and new mobile phones.

    • Ensure all travel documents are accurate and passports are in date, should you find yourself making a trip. Also, leave extra time to get to the airport!

    • Back up important files and photos.

    • Confirm diary dates and meeting details such as location and time.

    • Review all fine print (and get a second opinion) if you need to sign any contracts.

With all the above in order, you can make space for growth and conscious reflection. Read on for some simple practices to help you not only survive, but thrive, during Mercury Retrograde.

Limit screen time

Avoid technological slip-ups with some much-needed time away from screens. Take a social media detox, or limit time mindlessly watching Netflix. Instead, get out in nature — try walking barefoot on the beach or in a forest and practice feeling grounded.

Practice mindfulness

One of the easiest ways to avoid making hasty decisions is to practice mindfulness with rituals like meditation or breathwork on endota Retreat. It will help ease anxiety and feeling overwhelmed while also allowing you to make any necessary decisions with a calm, clear headspace.

Indulge in self-care

The effects of Mercury Retrograde can be intense, so go easy on yourself, and carve out time for a little self-care. Hot baths, long walks and comforting skincare rituals are all great ways to stay calm and collected.

Focus on loved ones

Mercury Retrograde often brings up people from our past, so take the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend or relatives. It’s also an ideal time to check in with family and loved ones, focusing on any communication difficulties that might be there. If you’ve been bickering with a romantic partner, it might also be a good time to sit down and get to the bottom of what’s been bothering you.

In general, Mercury Retrograde can be viewed as an opportunity to slow down and focus on what’s important. How you perceive this cosmic cycle will have everything to do with how it affects you, so try and see the opportunity that presents during this time — the end results might just surprise you.

Want more advice on switching up your mindset? Read our explainer on the healing powers of gratitude here.