Her PROFspective: Mental Health, COVID-19 and Astrology

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 Have you felt like you’re in a rut these past few weeks? There could be an explanation.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of this thing called a “Mercury in retrograde.” But unless you heavily follow astrology, or anything along the lines of spirituality, you might not know much about it.

The term “Mercury retrograde” is used to describe the appearance of the planet Mercury moving backward from west to east. Typically, this occurrence happens for three weeks during the months of January to February, June to July and September to October. Different planets go through retrograde, but for the sake of this article, I’ll keep the focus on Mercury.

During this time, everyday activities are impacted. The Mercury retrograde commonly causes instability in communication, leading to misunderstandings. This is because Mercury rules communication, traveling and various projects. 

Some common things that people are told they should do include observation and self-reflection. All of the parts of your life that are impacted during this retrograde should be full of self-awareness and reflection, as to not let the retrograde have a negative effect. Likewise, we’re told to not sign contracts or to purchase technology.

Obviously, if you have to do any of these forbidden Mercury retrograde rules, you should.

Most recently, we had a Mercury retrograde from Sept. 27 to Oct. 18. This retrograde fell in the Libra season, which is Sept. 23 to Oct. 22, so this retrograde is fully known as the “Mercury retrograde in Libra.” On top of the general meaning of Mercury retrograde, this one emphasized reflecting on our most important relationships and interactions with people in a careful manner. 

So what does this mean with COVID-19? 

The effects of Mercury retrograde and COVID-19 are intense alone, but put together it’s twice as hard on one’s mental health. 

We’ve seen discrepancies in communication the past few weeks with whether or not it was safe and effective to mix COVID-19 booster vaccinations. Though this caused widespread confusion and frustration, it has since been decided that taking a different booster from the vaccine you had – for instance, a Pfizer vaccine and Moderna booster – is safe. This would be an example of how Mercury retrograde could have affected COVID-19.

That’s just on a national level. On a personal level, other people could be going through issues related to COVID-19, and the added Mercury retrograde certainly doesn’t help.

For me personally, this September to October retrograde has been difficult. I had a personal matter that lasted the entirety of the Mercury retrograde. On top of that, I had other small issues pop up here and there. I found myself more sensitive to my emotions, including bouts of anxiety. 

What do we do to take care of ourselves with a triple whammy of mental health issues, COVID-19 and the Mercury retrograde?

The emergence of mental health awareness and advocacy is incredible and inspiring, and could not have come at a better time. There are so many tips for how to take care of your mental health, but, ultimately, it comes down to what works for you. During the pandemic, I’ve tried all sorts of techniques. By far, my favorite has been therapy. I need to be able to talk things out and get an outside perspective on things to help me keep a level head.

One general tip I have about helping your mental health is to listen to yourself. What are you feeling? What is going on? What do you want or need? Take time to reflect on your current state and what you can do to improve. Self-reflection is a key part of taking care of yourself during a Mercury retrograde, but it’s equally as important to do so after.

I absolutely love the idea of self-care more than anyone, but when you take it a step further with self-assessment and self-reflection, you can really make progress in helping your mental health. Try your best to get your basic needs met. Break down seemingly daunting tasks into smaller steps. It can be challenging when you’re battling mental health-related issues, but when you do get these tasks done, you’ll start to feel better.

During my personal struggles, I relied heavily on the support of friends and family. I don’t know where I would be without their constant support and reassurance. No matter if you’re going through a Mercury retrograde, the pandemic or a mental health battle, leaning on your support system is so helpful.

Sure, astrology might sound silly to some people, and it has scientific validity, but it is a way for people to help make sense of the world around them. So next time you find yourself stuck with a dark cloud over your head, maybe Mercury is in retrograde.

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