Even if you aren't into astrology, you've probably heard the big news: Mercury retrograde suuuuuucks. Our society, jobs, and routines are dominated by communication and processes, and Mercury retrograde tends to send everything haywire. The last time my boyfriend and I got into a big fight was during Mercury retrograde because we were both expressing anger in very WEIRD ways that neither of us could process, which made the situation much worse. To avoid a similar showdown, I am taking precautions.
Language, communication, and understanding tends to go awry during this retrograde period. It's probably best to avoid making major decisions or moves until May 22nd when the retrograde ends, but for me that is nearly impossible! Here are some things I do to make sure important messages don't get missed, that I don't hurt loved ones' feelings, and that I don't make decisions based on bad information.
1. Turn "read" receipts on for important emails, buy tracking info for packages, avoid shopping online, avoid deleting sent emails and email archives, and follow up by phone
Retrograde is notoriously bad for written communication and package delivery. If you need to send important emails for work, turn on a read receipt for the important ones so that you know it was received. Follow up by phone in a few days if you don't hear back. Don't delete ANYTHING until after retrograde is over, so that you have a record of communication to show your boss if a partner gets upset that they "never received that email." If you shop online, try to arrange for in store pickup so that your package doesn't have a chance to get lost. If you ship anything expensive or important, shell out the extra $$$ for insurance and tracking, even if you normally wouldn't!
2. If you HAVE to sign a lease, take a new job, or start a new school, research like a stalker-skeptic
Mercury retrograde often shields underlying change, both negative or positive, until the retrograde is over. The great apartment, job, boyfriend, school, etc. that you signed on for might turn out to have a serious hidden flaw: roach infestation anyone? Imminent layoffs? Terrible drinking problem? The best course of action is to wait it out, but sometimes that isn't possible. In that case, I do what my mother has taught me to do: research, research, research to CIA detective levels. Has the apartment building changed owners several times in the last several years? Red flag. Does the employer get horrible reviews on Glassdoor that mention unexpected layoffs more than once? Red flag. Does the boyfriend always complain about being broke and yet ALWAYS seem to have a drink in hand? Red flag. Pay attention to the small details that maybe you would normally brush off and do some serious evaluation: is the risk worth it? Because Mercury retrograde is upping the ante.
3. Reorganize, revisit, revitalize, and restore!
Mercury retrograde is actually a GOOD time to revisit previous connections, rekindle old ideas, and reconnect with friends and previous employers. Something that you may have missed before might be brought to light in this period, and all of your physical clutter will seem suddenly unbearable. I plan on doing a major clean out of all my closets and drawers and be very particular about what I keep and how it is arranged. I'm also making it my mission to catch up with old connections who have fallen a little cold, like my previous supervisor who I sincerely adore as a person and friend. Just because it isn't advised to start anything new during this retrograde doesn't mean you have to sit inside anticipating doom to rain down on you--it can actually be fun to revel in nostalgia and old times for a few weeks.
4. Air any grievances or annoyances NOW.
If you've been bottling something up that needs to be lifted from your chest, now is your last chance to do it for several weeks! If it's a serious conversation that needs several days or weeks to unfold, it might be a good idea to wait until after retrograde. But if you've been seriously annoyed that your coworker keeps using your mug, or your partner keeps washing your delicates with their jeans, you should let them know you are bothered now. If you wait and it comes out during Mercury retrograde, it will almost definitely be blown way out of proportion due to increased likelihood of miscommunication and misinterpretation.
Mercury retrograde is tough, but it's not a horrible beast-monster to hide from. Personally, I enjoy the fact that I can give myself permission to take a break from building new things for a few weeks to reflect on past progress and reconnect with my friends. It also makes me appreciate the very strong lines of communication that I have with my friends and family, and I want to honor those channels by backing off during a time when the Universe is telling me to keep quiet for awhile.
Good luck out there, and happy hunkering!