5 Things To Do During Mercury Retrogrades — And 3 Things To Avoid

They don't have to be the cosmic bummer you think they do.

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About three times a year, we collectively experience a chaotic few weeks, which are known as Mercury retrograde periods — you've probably heard of them, or at least experienced some of their headache-inducing effects. Mercury is the planet that rules communication, and when it retrogrades (which means it temporarily appears to move backward in the sky), it can cause miscommunications, technology issues, anxiety, and travel problems, among other dramas — so, you know, all the really fun things. Every Mercury retrograde manifests a little bit differently depending on what zodiac sign it falls into, making some periods a little less intense than others — but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions. There are things you should and shouldn't do during Mercury retrograde to ensure you remain as cosmically "safe" and drama-free as possible.

Mercury retrograde periods are actually a really important time for everyone, but this transit has a reputation for being obnoxious, given that it causes all sorts of slow-downs, slip ups, and schedule snags. Because things like communication, timing, and clear thinking are on the fritz during Mercury's backspin, we're much more likely to run into hurt feelings, botched plans, missed deadlines, or general confusion — which can be really tough on our careers and relationships alike.

But this isn't inherently a bad time, if you're willing to slow down and work with the backward-moving energy. Mercury retrograde is considered a great time to look back on the past and think about what's working for us and what isn't — and it's an ideal time for reflecting on where we're at with our personal goals and readjusting our trajectory as needed. By slowing down and using Mercury retrograde as time to pause and reassess our lives, we can come out the other side even more clear-headed and focused than before.

That said, any major retrograde can definitely make you act and experience things a little differently than you normally would, so it's good to be prepared. Here are a few things you should avoid doing during Mercury retrograde — along with some things you definitely should do.


Take A Closer Look At Your Finances

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Spending some time thinking about your finances and reviewing how you've been spending money in the recent past can be a good thing during Mercury retrograde. Reserve some time over the next Mercury retrograde period to look at your money situation, take note of any bad financial habits that have developed, and see what can be improved upon. You can even enlist extra help if you feel like you need it. Learning from past mistakes during the retrograde will better equip you to make sound decisions about the future once it clears.


But Don't Make Any Big Decisions, About Money Or Otherwise

That said, Mercury retrograde isn't really the best time to be making any big financial decisions, investments, or purchases — especially if you're buying electronics, tech, or travel tickets. Because logical matters get turned upside down during these periods, it's likely that we'll overlook some important details or find that we regret our decision post-retrograde.

Because Mercury rules communication and thinking, any major money moves, investments, or even career changes can easily get messed up during the retrograde period — therefore, it's not the best idea to be making life-changing decisions.


Let Go Of Old Grudges

Mercury retrograde isn't just a time of extra craziness and anxiety, but it's also a time of reflection, and that can definitely be a positive thing in the context of our relationships. If there are old wounds, unspoken resentments, or beneath-the-surface dramas lurking within your relationships, they're likely to get triggered now — but this gives you an opportunity to resolve them. Try to find closure from past heartaches and thoughtfully talk through issues in existing partnerships. It's best to use these periods to try to let go of old grudges you've been holding onto. You may find yourself feeling a lot lighter.


Get In Touch With People From The Past

Not only should you be letting go of old arguments and anger, but you should also be open to letting in people from your past who you haven't seen in a while. During a retrograde, a planet appears to move backward — and this can cause our minds to wander back in time, too, making it likely to cross paths with estranged friends or receive a random text from an ex.

It's easy to ignore a "let's hang out sometime!" text from an old friend, but Mercury retrograde periods are a good time to honor these connections and restore old bonds. Make plans, get together, and have a good time. You might rekindle that friendship or relationship in the best way possible.


Don't Sign Any Contracts Or Start New Projects

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Again, Mercury retrograde is not the best time to make a big, life-altering decision — especially one you really can't take back, like signing a binding legal contract or quitting a job. This means avoiding any major legal moves or final decisions whenever possible, including signing leases, new job contracts, or loans.

If something important comes up during a Mercury retrograde period, try to push it off until the retrograde period ends, if possible. If it's something that can't wait, be sure you're extra diligent about reading the fine print and making sure you fully understand and feel comfortable with the terms of whatever you're getting into.


Give Yourself More Time To Get Anywhere & Do Anything

Mercury retrogrades are known for messing with travel, transportation, and timing, so you may find yourself getting lost when you least expect it, hitting traffic jams wherever you go, or accidentally mixing up the time or location of a set plan. The lesson? Expect the unexpected when it comes to getting around and making plans, and leave some wiggle room around all of your dates if you can.

Whether you're going somewhere by car, plane, train, or are just setting up some Zoom meetings, have a plan for what to do if timing gets messed up — and give yourself a lot of extra time to make it right, if you need to.


Don't Speak Without Thinking Things Through Completely

If Mercury is retrograde and you find yourself ready to say the first thing that comes to mind, pause and take a breather before running your mouth or hitting "send" on that text. With all of the miscommunications that run rampant during these astrological periods, it's easy to say something you don't mean, send an incriminating text to the wrong person, or to take someone's words out of context and end up in a fight.

While all of this drama can make your head spin, simply vow to think carefully before you talk or type out your thoughts and feelings, and try not to start any big arguments. Now isn't the best time to talk through the serious stuff, if you can help it, so be sensitive about your word choices and try not to take anything too personally!


Listen To Your Gut

When Mercury is retrograde, our thinking gets clouded and we don't have quite as much control over the logistical issues in our lives, which is frustrating. However, this is a really intuitive time for everyone, which means that you really want to listen to what your gut is telling you. By pressing pause on all the mental matters that Mercury is mixing up and listening to your heart and soul instead, you can make this a time of deep introspection and internal reflection.

If you know what to do, Mercury retrograde periods don't have to be the cosmic bummer that their reputation would have you believe. Slow down, take a breath, and follow the basic Mercury retrograde precautions to ensure that these tri-annual backspins run smoothly and don't get in the way of your chill.

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