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Your Mercury Retrograde Survival Guide

You may have heard of Mercury retrograde or seen memes about how you should hide in your house and not leave until it’s over. Mercury retrograde gets a bad rap, and it’s probably the most well-known and most-feared astrological transit that people don’t actually know that much about.

While it can be a challenging time, there’s no reason to panic — especially if you know how to handle it. Here’s what you need to know about Mercury retrograde and how to survive it with your sanity intact. 

What is Mercury retrograde?

Mercury retrograde is a period of about four weeks when the planet Mercury appears to move backward in the sky as Earth passes the slower-moving planet (similar to how a car next to you looks like it’s moving backwards when you pass it). Mercury rules communication, technology, and travel, so when it goes retrograde, you can expect those areas of your life to go a little haywire.

The retrograde period and the two weeks before and after (called the shadow period or retroshade) are a time to slow down, rethink, and be more intentional with how you communicate. The benefit of Mercury retrograde’s effect on communication is that it forces you to think before you speak. And it gives you an excuse to take a little break and some time to yourself. 

Gemini and Virgo are ruled by Mercury, so the planet’s backspin has an even greater effect on them, as well as people who have personal planets in these signs. 

When is Mercury Retrograde in 2022?

There are four Mercury retrogrades in 2022, and the first began on January 14th, so we’re just getting started. 

Here’s when each Mercury retrograde will happen in 2022:

– January 14th to February 3rd

– May 10th to June 3rd 

– September 9th to October 2nd

– December 29th to January 18th, 2023

The shadow period starts about two weeks before and ends two weeks after the retrograde, and you might start to feel the effects of Mercury retrograde during this time (some people even think the shadow period is worse than the retrograde itself). 

How to survive Mercury retrograde

Mercury retrograde isn’t actually as bad as it’s made out to be on social media, but it can still make you a little crazy if you don’t know what’s going on or how to deal with it. 

To get through it without losing your mind, think before you speak, read every email twice (maybe three times) before sending, make sure your iCloud is backing up, and don’t plan any major vacations. And don’t get back together with your ex. 

Put down the phone

Whatever you do, don’t text your ex. And don’t respond to them. Mercury retrograde brings back people and things from your past, and that can often mean exes. An ex-boyfriend or girlfriend could send a “You up?” text, or you might run into an ex you haven’t seen in years at a restaurant. Or you might run into old friends that you don’t hang out with anymore. Or they could even pop up on your Instagram feed for the first time in forever. You may find yourself thinking about an ex and feeling like reaching out to them — don’t. While you might think it’s an opportunity for “closure,” Mercury retrograde can bring back people from your past to make you realize why they’re not in your life anymore or how you’ve outgrown them.

Back up everything

Your email, your files, your photos — everything. Mercury retrograde can do a number on technology. If you’re making any major tech purchases, like a new TV or laptop, you might want to hold off until after the retrograde ends. And don’t try putting together or setting up any tech products by yourself because you might do more harm than good. Make sure you double- and triple-check that your texts and emails actually go through.

Beware miscommunications

Mercury is the planet of communication, so when it goes retrograde, you can expect miscommunications galore. If you find yourself putting your foot in your mouth more than usual, that’s why. You could have writer’s block or arguments with friends or significant others. If you’re signing any contracts, like a lease, try to do it before the retrograde or wait until after. If you’re not able to, make extra sure everything’s correct before signing. Before sending any emails, check your grammar and make sure you’re sending it to the right person. 

Avoid traveling

Mercury also rules travel, so try to avoid planning any big trips during Mercury retrograde or the shadow period, unless you want to end up with a three-hour flight delay or stranded without luggage. If you do have to travel, double-check tickets and schedules and leave way ahead of time.