Look, 2016 was tough, 2017 was arguably tougher, and we don't even know yet what 2018 holds. But my dudes: we're still here. We've made it this far. And while 2018 may not be any less difficult, we can up our coping mechanism game. We can find new ways around those obstacles. Here's how to cope when you feel anxious, according to your sign. Make this year the year of personal growth, in the face of endless freaking adversity. Survive and thrive, babies.
Now, to be clear: if you suffer from chronic anxiety, don't rely on astrology. Talk to someone, ideally someone professionally trained to listen, treat, and dole out advice on coping mechanisms. Therapy works wonders and I stand by the belief that most people would benefit from even a few sessions.
But while astrology is hardly a science, it does encourage us to examine our actions and our reactions more closely. It pushes us to ask questions of ourselves and of others. And that kind of introspection and curiosity and drive to figure out other people can prove to be enlightening. No, the time and date and location of your birth aren't going to magically make you love the spotlight (hai Leos) or be idealistic humanitarians (Aquarians, what's up?). But you may notice certain elements of yourself in descriptions of your sign. And since when is making connections with other people a bad thing?
Aries (March 20-April 20)
Aries are the first sign within the zodiac calendar, and their position is indicative of a key characteristic: this fire sign, bright and full of energy, is happiest when moving forward and working toward a goal. The possibility of being first propels them; they excel in competitive situations.
But when they sense that they're not achieving to their full potential, whether it be because of an incompetent boss or their own physical, mental or emotional limitations, an Aries can become impatient, frustrated and anxious. Aries, when you feel this wave of helpless irritation begin to wash over you, take a step back. Breathe. And go engage in a brief activity with a clear, singular goal, like indoor rock climbing or even a crossword puzzle. It can help re-instill some self-confidence, while giving you a break from obsessing over a situation.
Taurus (April 20-May 21)
As a consummate earth sign, Taurus is deliberate and methodical in everything they do. Impulsivity is definitely not the name of the game for these bulls.
Stability is integral to their mental well-being, and when that's shaken, a Taurus can be thrown into a tailspin. When that happens, when your footing slips, work on grounding yourself — literally. A weighted blanket is a great option, or anything that's going to be tactile, tangible and, ideally, just a li'l bit indulgent, can bring a sense of comfort.
Gemini (May 21–June 21)
Gemini are intensely intelligent and intensely verbal, and they can catch you off-guard with their seemingly split-second mood flips. Still, they often excel socially and academically, driven by a deep curiosity desire to know everything, always.
But for a Gemini, sometimes the most stressful place to be is in your own head. Gemini, there's a lot going on in there and it's not always particularly kind to you. Meditating — yes, real meditating, where you sit still, physically ground yourself and empty your mind — can be a great coping mechanism for quieting those voices, centering yourself and combating any sort of disassociating that may happen when anxiety hits.
Cancer (June 21–July 23)
The sign of Cancer is a crab — they carry their homes on their backs, and so do Cancers. A sense of safety is of the utmost importance to Cancers and because of their sometimes masked sensitivity, they cling, realllyyyyy tightly, to their small circle of friends and family.
But when those personal relationships are shaken, it can be a slippery slope for Cancers to feeling like they've got absolutely no one to rely on. Cancers, call your mom. Call your dad, your sister, your high school teacher you still sometimes chat with. Call your person, whomever that may be. Don't text. Listen to their voice. You've got people in your life who care. I promise.
Leo (July 23–Aug. 23)
Leos are large and in charge, just like their sign's symbol, the lion (you know, the king of the jungle?). Leos are creative and passionate and born leaders.
But when things don't go their way, particularly within their interpersonal relationships, and Leos begin to feel a lack of control, a helplessness, they can easily become overcome with anxiety. Leo, first of all, "everybody" doesn't hate you. Second, write it out. Be with yourself and your thoughts, away from the performance of every day life. Try a little creative writing. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to bring you peace of mind.
Virgo (Aug. 23–Sep. 23)
If any sign is going excel at, like, bullet journaling, it's Virgos. They may seem cool, calm and collected on the surface, but their minds are constantly working, working, working. These kind, organized listeners are top notch strategists.
But while Virgos don't necessarily hold others in their lives to high standards, they can force themselves to adhere to impossible ones. Virgos, you work hard. Put down the yoke for a minute. Instead of making a list of all the things you need to do, make a list of all the things you've already accomplished.
Libra (Sep. 23–Oct. 23)
Libras love beauty, love socializing and love love. We're (yes, I'm a Libra, duh) accustomed to creating
But you know what? Not every Libra is going to end up in a stable, passionate, healthy, romantic relationship. Like, statistically speaking, we're just not. And no, that's not fair. And that thought can shake our very concept of happiness, as well as our conception of the future, to its core. Libras, when we begin to obsess over a lonely life, sometimes the best thing we can do is be alone. To prove to ourselves that we are enough. Take a walk. Look at the beauty that can be found in the littlest of details.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Scorpios are the sign of the scorpion — dangerous, sure, and seemingly fearless, but only when provoked. They exude an air of mystery, which often makes them a bit magnetic. People wanna know, gotta know, their deal.
But Scorpios need their alone time. Scorpios, you listening? You need alone time and it's okay to need that. Too much time in public and on display can trigger anxiety. Go home. Close the door. Put your phone on airplane mode. Turn your laptop's wifi off. Do a load of laundry, make your bed, organize your book collection. Find a sense of meditation in putting your space in ordder.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 22)
The archer, the sign of Sagittarius, shoots his arrow and goes to retrieve it, wherever it goes. Then he shoots it again. That's the embodiment of the Sagittarian spirit: a love of adventure, of new things, of open roads and the freedom of possibility.
When that freedom is curtailed by a rigid schedule, by boundaries, the energetic Sagittarius can feel stuck and anxious. Sagittarius, you thrive on spontaneity. So go do something spontaneous, even if it's just going for a run in an unknown direction or getting in your car and driving. Remind yourself that life doesn't have to be big, giant, life-altering adventures all the time. You can live a million tiny, unpredictable moments every day. Even with a nine-to-five job.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20)
Capricorns are ceaselessly devoted to achieving their goals and will muscle through nearly any obstacle. They're hardworking, they're committed and their tough.
But the cause of a Capricorn's anxiety is oftentimes, just, uh yourselves. You hold yourself to extremely tight deadlines and high standards and you can become bogged down in the details. You make one misstep and you immediately begin imagining the repercussions ten hypothetical steps down the road. Capricorn, put the pencil down. Be lenient with yourself, even just a little. Cook dinner, just for yourself. Follow the directions if you want, or don't. Breathe. You work so hard, but you're living in the present. The right now.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Aquarians are the idealists, the humanitarians, of the zodiac. They thrive on creating innovative solutions for helping others. The phrase "because it's always been this way" is their arch-nemesis.
Because Aquarians are so generous with their time and energy, they can become rundown without even noticing. And in that rundown state, a paralyzing anxiety about the reality of time, and the reality of who and how they can help, can set it. Aquarians, the world would be a better place if every one thought more like you. But in order to help others, you need to help yourself first. And you shouldn't feel guilty for taking an afternoon, a night, even a whole weekend, just for you. Run a bath. Fill it with stress-relieving Epsom salts or a (cruelty-free) bath bomb.
Pisces (Feb. 18-March 20)
Oh, Pisces. So sensitive, so creative, so empathetic. They are the daydreamers, who keep much of their vibrant inner lives to themselves.
Pisces, you need a lot of alone time. Never let people make you feel guilty or anxious for that. You don't need to perform your creativity for anyone. Giving yourself ample time to work on artistic passion projects is a key tool in keeping anxiety at bay.