3 Things To Do During Mars Retrograde — And 3 Things To Avoid

No pain no gain, right?

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There has been a lot of rare and intense astrology in 2020 so far, but one of the most poignant transits of the year started on September 9, and that's Mars retrograde 2020. The planet of war, aggression, and sex (among other things) only backspins once every two years, and it's swooping in now to bring us nearly three months of frustration, impatience, and exhaustion — but also a chance to refine our goals and redefine our passions. If you abide by some basic do's and don'ts of Mars retrograde 2020, you can actually make the most of this otherwise difficult transit.

Because Mars has rulership over things like raw ambition, passion, rage, and other animalistic insticts, we're going to feel the intensity dwindle in those areas of our lives during this retrograde — all of that action-oriented energy will feel deflated all of a sudden. Mars rules the physical body and sex, too, so we can also expect to feel exhausted and decidedly not in the mood — all of which can be a frustrating combination.

But this swift shift in our ability to summon our inner firepower could also offer us an important opportunity to examine why we're chasing after the things we are. "Mars retrograde will be a very topsy turvy time, but do not fear the roller coaster ride," astrologer Arriana Fox of tells Bustle. "We are in a very intense period of history in our time now. Change is coming fast, and this transit ... will uncover many truths to help us make the right choices." Learning to process your rage, think before you act, and feel secure in your passions and motivations is what Mars retrograde is all about.

Retrogrades in astrology can be tough, but they're here to help us grow — so read on to get the scoop on everything you should and shouldn't do during Mars retrograde 2020 in order to make the most of it.

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DO: Find Constructive Ways To Express Anger

During Mars retrograde, it's easy to get caught in a cycle of frustration during which repressed anger and intensity bubbles up to the surface. "Mars is the planet of action, confrontation, severity and war," astrologer Shawnte Cato tells Bustle. "Grounding exercises [like deep breathing] will be perfect for helping you maintain your own sense of peace." Incorporating gentle exercise into your day or journaling out your feelings can help keep your bold side balanced, too.

DON'T: Push Your Physical Limits

As mentioned, Mars rules over our physical bodies, so avoid pushing yourself beyond what feels comfortable — as there's a higher chance of injuries, accidents, or general exhaustion. "You might notice physical restrictions with the energy of Mars retrograde," says Cato. "It’s important to move your body and stay hydrated." Listen to your body during this transit, avoid taking physical risks, and make sure you're upping your offense when it comes to safety, health, and immunity.

DO: Embrace The Energy Of Venus — Planet Of Love

Mars retrograde is a total passion-zapper, which means it can lower our libidos — and that can put a huge strain on romantic relationships. Instead of trying to outwit the planets, let your Mars-ruled instincts work themselves out and lean into your Venus-ruled aspects. Calculate your Venus sign to learn more about the ways you naturally embrace pleasure, find value in things, and bring excitement to love and romance — and then try to add more of that into your life to take the edge off Mars' current backspin.

DON'T: Act Impulsively & Take Risks

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Mars is all about taking action, so during its backspin, we'll feel like we can't move forward or make progress. This retrograde also takes place in Aries, the zodiac sign ruled by Mars, making us feel even more impatient. "Even though there will be a great deal of pressure to make quick, reaction-based choices, fight the urges to react quickly," says Fox. "Take time to think of the best path for you and not what suits others. The energies [of Mars retrograde] are here to motivate us for growth, even if change can be painful."

DO: Break Political Actions Into Small Steps

Mars retrograde is fully enveloping the November election, which isn't ideal, given that it tends to cause anger and a lack of motivation — but all hope isn't lost. While many of us may be feeling frustrated and helpless, it's important to remember that taking small, practical steps is more effective than stewing in a mire of your own rage. Make sure you're fully aware of how to vote in the 2020 election and share information with others to inspire them to make their voices heard at this critical time in history, too.

DON'T: Try To Launch New Projects Off The Ground

During Mars retrograde, we feel less ambitious than usual, and all the passion we felt for our goals before might suddenly feel like its evaporated into thin air. Use this time to reconnect with what your true goals are instead of trying to charge ahead during this uncertain cosmic moment. "There are similarities to Mercury retrograde in that this is not the time to start new projects," Fox says. "Foundations need to be built on a strong base, and the ground is too volatile during this retrograde with all that is going on energy-wise."