Maybe your computer crashed, your flight got cancelled, you failed a test or got in a huge fight with your BFF. Whatever it was, if the end of May and beginning of June felt a little “off” for you, you can blame it on Mercury retrograde — a three-week period when the planet catches up to Earth’s orbit and appears to move backward. This crazy optical illusion, which happens three times a year, can unfortunately wreak major havoc on our lives (ugh!). “When Mercury is in retrograde, communication is muddled and people are confused,” says Kelli Fox, astrology expert and founder of The Astrologer. “We should not sign contracts or start something new during this time.”
Ready for the good news? Mercury is now out of retrograde (just in time for summer), so we can thank our lucky stars this period of misadventure is over. “Since Mercury is moving forward again, we should have those important discussions we have been putting off, organize travel plans, clear out the inbox, join social groups, catch up on our reading or even take a road trip,” adds Fox. “Many of us will notice how much we can actually get done now. The hiccups and road blocks we encountered during retrograde will feel like they have melted away.” But be forewarned: Retrograde will strike again on September 17, so use your time wisely. Be productive, be present and most of all, be thankful Mercury won’t be messing up your summer plans. Here are 9 worthwhile things you can do to take advantage of this good astrological juju.
1. Clear out the clutter. All year long, we slowly accumulate more and more things — to the point where it feels like we’re almost drowning in a sea of random stuff. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but still! The period after retrograde is the perfect time to get your life in order, so make this summer all about new beginnings by cleaning up some of the useless clutter that’s weighing you down. It could be your desk (with its endless pile of papers), your garage (with never-used tools and knickknacks), your closet (with those pants that no longer fit) or your inbox (with hundreds of useless spam emails). Whatever it is, use your free weekends to figure out what to keep, toss, recycle, sell, donate or delete. Get ready to say goodbye to disarray and hello to an organized life.
2. Donate your time. Or in other words, volunteer! Not only does volunteering give you an amazing sense of purpose and valuable life experiences, but it also helps to establish strong relationships, it’s great for your resume and it’s even better for your karma (watch out, Mercury retrograde, we’re preparing for you!). Before you choose a volunteer opportunity, figure out how much time you can commit. Then, do a little research to find a cause that’s near and dear to you. The more passionate you are about a cause, the more meaningful your volunteer opportunity will be. Pro tip: To find some great volunteer opportunities that are in your area, visit VolunteerMatch.com. This site makes it oh-so easy to search for volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Just choose a cause and location and you’ll be on your way to a making a difference. (Photo via Mike Coppola/Getty)
3. Land your dream job. School is hard, but the real world can be even harder — especially for entry-level job seekers. And it doesn’t help that Mercury retrograde occurred right before summer (AKA the busiest time for job applications and interviews and the worst time to make a huge decision or accept a new position). But now that the astrological chaos is over, you should strike while the job iron is hot. If you’re still in school or are a recent graduate, search for an internship at a company you want to work for. Not only will this give you real-world experiences, but it will get your foot in the door, pave the way for your dream career and help you network. It could also result in a full-time job offer once summer comes to an end. If your resume is already stacked with internships and you’re ready to land a full-time gig, then it’s time to start marketing yourself. Update your LinkedIn page to start connecting with hiring managers and create a portfolio website or blog to establish your brand online. Reconnect with past contacts (because sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know!) and use social media to show the things you care about personally and professionally. Overall, landing an amazing job comes down to selling yourself, and now is the time.
4. Create a bucket list. It might have felt like your mind was in a daze during Mercury retrograde, but now that you can think more clearly, use this stress-free period to hone in on all your hopes and dreams. A bucket list can become a guide for living your best life. You can make your list summer-specific, like jamming out at a music festival or redecorating your patio, or create one to accomplish over the next five years. If you’ve ever dreamed about going back to school, put it on your bucket list. If you’ve ever imagined yourself on an African safari, put it on your bucket list. No idea is too big or too small here. And remember, your list will grow and shrink over time as you cross things off and pursue new goals. Pro tip: Share your list with friends and family members to keep yourself accountable. (Photo via Simone Joyner/Getty)
5. Organize your finances. Nothing screams adult quite like dealing with finances. But if there’s one thing every money expert agrees on, it’s that it is never too early to start budgeting and thinking about retirement, especially now that retrograde is over. And it’s never too late to deal with looming bills and debt — however daunting it may seem. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to managing your finances, pick up a self-help book (we love Rich Bitch by financial journalist and #girlboss Nicole Lapin, which gives a 12-step plan on how to finally get your financial life together) and make an appointment to meet with a financial advisor at your bank. We also recommend downloading a free money-managing app like Mint, which tracks what you spend, helps you set up savings goals (and stick to them!) and warns you if you’re over budget.
6. Join a fitness studio or gym. The post-period of retrograde leaves you with a rejuvenated and recharged mind and body, making it a fabulous time to jump start your exercise regimen. Plus, it’s summer, so the weather is warm, the days are long and there are an abundance of outdoor activities (#noexcuses). Often times, gyms and studios offer free fitness classes for new members, so you’ll be able to try out the facility before shelling out any money. If you’re a little tight on cash but still want to get fit, check out what free, local exercise events your community is offering (rooftop yoga, anyone?) or start your own running club with a few friends. Now get out there and have a good sweat session while enjoying that beautiful, sunny weather. (Photo via Joe Raedle/Getty)
7. Travel somewhere new. If you chose the safe route and stayed home during retrograde, you definitely deserve a vacay. If you did travel and your plans went awry (we curse you, Mercury!), then it’s time for a make-up trip. Instead of splurging on a new summer wardrobe, invest your moolah on a meaningful vacation that will create memories to last a lifetime. Traveling allows you to gain amazing experiences, develop your independence, meet new people and embrace different customs. Seeing the world also helps you better understand yourself and those around you and has incredible health benefits, like decreasing depression and promoting brain health. If we haven’t convinced you yet to pack your suitcase and soak up the beauty of somewhere new, just think about how refreshed and motivated you’ll feel once your return. So what are you waiting for? Gather a group of friends — or go solo — and take off to somewhere spectacular, like a national forest or a culturally rich city overseas. Trust us: You’ll never regret choosing to expand your travel horizons. (Photo via Buda Mendes/Getty)
8. Tackle those unread books. “That book is on my list, but I just can’t find the time to read it!” Hmm… sound familiar? We thought so! It can be difficult to balance it all — work, school, friends, family, chores, etc. — and still find time to unwind with a good book throughout the year. But there’s just something about the peaceful notion that Mercury won’t be making our lives miserable anytime soon and the laid-back vibe of summer that makes reading during these sizzling-hot months so much more relaxing. Whether you’re at the beach, in the park or on the couch with the air blasting (we’re not judging), give your unread books a little love and get lost in a few page-turning, can’t-put-it-down novels that you won’t be able to stop talking about for weeks to come.
9. Take a class at a makerspace. If your creativity was stifled during retrograde and you were majorly unproductive (weren’t we all?), now is the time to get back on track. Good luck is in our favor for the time being, so what better time to try new things? From leather working to silkscreen printing to ceramics, makerspaces offer all kinds of cool, collaborative and creative classes. Not only will this lead you to a new hobby, but it will also help you network and make new friends. Search for a makerspace around your community (classes could be held at a library, community center or local college campus) and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and get your hands dirty. Pro tip: See if TechShop is offered in your area. This creative learning center provides access to over $1 million dollar’s worth of professional equipment and software. The TechShop facilities also offer a wood shop, metal working shop, textiles department, welding stations and more.
What do you plan on doing now that Mercury is out of retrograde? Let us know in the comments!