Woman in front of the water

Wellness Tips for Mercury Retrograde

Today is Friday the 13th and Mercury is retrograde. But before you panic, there’s something you should know: Mercury Retrograde can be a time for real good, if only you know how to use it.

Mercury Retrograde happens when the planet appears to be spinning “backwards” in space. And since astrologers like Susan Miller believe “Mercury rules all types of communication,” it’s natural to think that everything from group chats to work Zooms might totally melt down.

But horoscope experts say Mercury Retrograde is actually a good thing, especially when it comes to healing old wounds, breaking past patterns, and revisiting a passion (or a person) you once really loved. After all, if the vibes really are going “backwards,” learning from our past self should be easier than ever. (Meanwhile, scientists say nothing unusual happens during Mercury Retrograde at all, though the stars do look brighter during winter because there’s less sunlight.)

If you’re sure there are messy forces at work in the universe, it’s time to face them head on. Here’s how to make Mercury Retrograde work for your wellness routine (at least until January 18, when it’s done).

Forgive someone who sucks

That old saying that hating someone is like poisoning yourself? Science proves it. A Harvard study found that people who hold grudges feel physical pain—sometimes at the level of real sickness or injury. Try envisioning the person who hurt you, and saying, “It’s you who are truly hurt. I hope you heal like I’m healing.” Because seriously? You are.

Reverse your daily walking or running route

When you alter an easy routine, your brain builds strength and resilience. Take advantage of Mercury’s “backwards” theme and flip your usual walk or run. You’ll get a new perspective on familiar sites and yes, you can still listen to your favorite podcast en route. (Song Exploder, anyone?)

Revisit an old album

Studies show when older adults play their favorite songs from youth, dopamine and cognitive function surges in the brain. So bookmark some No Doubt and Janet Jackson on Spotify and tune out.

Return to an unfinished project

If the solar system wants to go “backwards,” you can, too. Look back on something you loved doing but couldn’t finish—a recipe you never perfected, a short story you never finished, a dance routine you never quite mastered. You can do the things you love, and right now? You absolutely should.