With the current cycle of Mercury Retrograde in full effect, we comb through ways to pull through in the best and most productive way possible.
So, no one told you life was going to be this way? The miscommunication in your personal and professional life is a joke, you feel emotionally broke. Your love life? Let’s not even go there, okay. Clearly, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, and do we even have to talk about this year? This might sound like a case of life imitating art from The Rembrandt’s I’ll Be There For You, when in fact, it is just another cycle of Mercury Retrograde lashing its vicious whip on our astrological mojo and well-being for the most part.
Having peddled the term from the smoky interiors of a soothsayer’s space to standard everyday conversation, Mercury Retrograde is a regular cosmic occurrence when the planet ruled by communication passes by Earth in its orbit, slows down and appears to stop and spin backward. While not really permissible by the laws of astrological physics, this illusion is that point of friction that bungles the lines of correspondence, travel, contracts, and technology. This period of slump also comes with an effect on your mental health and feelings, stirring up things that have either been long-held off or deep-seated. So, if you start to notice being lethargic or consumed by bouts of anxiety attacks, it probably is trailed by Mercury Retrograde.
Not all of the retrograde is bad, really. For some, it can cause you to be sharper, lucid, and more in control, but on the flip side, a lot of things can potentially go haywire, which is why constant vigilance must be taken effect. While it is generally tipped that one should steer clear of making commitments, signing contracts, and considering technological purchases, there should also be a focus and consideration for one’s emotions and mental health, especially when it is easily compounded by the pandemic that is just relentless in its path of destruction.
In fact, with the current Mercury Retrograde cycle that started on June 17 and is likely to round out by July 12 (or July 26, if you are to consider the shadow period of its full orbit), there has been a collective feeling of lethargy as of late, with anxiety levels rising through the roof. Now, there are many ways to go about this. You can go the technical route, seeking out professional help even before it gets out of hand, from within the limits of safety, of course. However, if your sluggish stupor gets in the way, you can always start doing little things or tried-and-tested activities at home, which will not only keep the overcast of glum at bay, but perhaps inch yourself to fighting the paralyzing demons exacerbating your anxiety slowly and surely.
READ A PIECE OF LITERATURE
Sure, you may be reading a lot online, but nothing quite comes close to the intimate experience of combing through literature with a physical book in hand. We’re pretty sure you’ve got a stack or two (or in my case, mountains) of books lying around, so it is wise to pick one up at this point. If your previous favorites don’t quite measure up right now, you might want to consider what is hailed as enthralling and enlightening memoirs from Filipino authors, Meredith Talusan (Fairest) and Matt Ortile (The Groom Will Keep His Name), both of which are heralded as illuminating and incandescent recounts of their lives to be informed and inspired by.
INSTEAD OF COOKING, WATCH A COOKING SHOW
At this point, everyone has sought refuged in their kitchens, whipping a storm of savory classics, delightful deconstructions, and even sparking a baking revolution. But if getting out of bed isn’t in the cards, you can distract your anxiety-ridden self with episodes of reality shows like Masterchef Australia, Crazy Delicious, and Chef’s Table. If a film is up your alley, we suggest No Reservations or Jon Favreau’s vibrant and vivid depiction in Chef.
LISTEN TO MUSIC OR A PODCAST
Music has the transcendetal ability to heal or at least make things a wee bit better, even if let’s say you prefer to wallow in sadness or feign happiness with upbeat ditties. Put on your headphones and crank up the volume with Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Dedicated Side B, and Honne’s No Song Without You. For an extended play of readings and discussions, might we suggest podcasts such as Modern Love or Oh, Hello: the P’dcast featuring the zany geriatric duo of Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland?
CONSIDER MEDITATIVE FITNESS
We know, it can be increasingly difficult to get into the typical rhythm of fitness at home, but we just have to do it. After all, it is a good source of endorphins post sweat session. While you may want to skip the full-on routine because doing it at home doesn’t just cut it, you can opt to do a meditative type of work out, like yoga, which there is a lot of sources to find online to fit your liking. But if you want something completely doable and entertaining, you can check out the Instagram page of Britney Spears for her yoga and dance workout hybrid. You might just get hooked.
COLOR YOUR WORLD WITH PAINTING
“I was told about this so many times before, but if there is one thing that this pandemic has confirmed, it is the fact that the human brain is such a powerful tool. It can make or break you. It is just a matter of how you’re going to use it, matched with your abilities and talents to turn something bad to something beautiful,” begins Edryan Lorenzo, marketing maverick, educator, and as of late, artist through the medium of painting. “Though life may still be uncertain, I personally believe that in order to somehow see the beauty of life, you just have to make use of what you have—it could be an ability, a talent to create something, or even a passion that drives you to go further. You just have to have an arena where you can be yourself that’ll stimulate and excite you as a person. These activities will not only help you find happiness in its simplest form but it will also make you appreciate life even better.” With creative frustration and time on his hands, he began getting his hands dirty, dipping into an art form he has been dabbling with sporadically from the get-go. “It has always been my passion to do art, either through graphite sketches or acrylic paintings, but this quarantine is a different story. The lockdown may have given me the luxury of time to pursue my craft, but it has also consumed my mental state due to uncertainties and challenges. At first, it was a tough battle to face, I couldn’t even lift a paintbrush to do strokes and push through with what I wanted to create. It has been a constant struggle with myself to create something useful and beautiful. There were days where I find my self unproductive and sulking, but with proper guidance I was able to deal with it,” he details. “Painting has given me an avenue where I can express my feelings through splashes of colors. It has served as a sanctuary where I can do anything without limitations. It has freed my mind from overthinking and entertaining negative thoughts. Painting has helped me to curtail all the uncertainties that I was feeling in the past and focused myself on possibilities and not on my fears.”
The results are energetic and pulsating with personality from the canvas. Raw and riveting in color, drips, and strokes, the uncertainty has fueled his passion and art form into something else in the lockdown. And you don’t even have to be an expert of proficient at it, because at this point, it is a pure expression of whatever is brimming from within. A sensible way to manage your anxiety, this artistic activity not only destresses but it also compels you to master a skill you wouldn’t otherwise have taken or gone back to if it weren’t for the circumstance we are in. “My painting involves a lot of processes from mixing colors, tilting canvases, torching, and resin coating. These processes has helped me calibrate my energy to something beautiful, passionate, worth pursuing, and productive. That specific moment when you pour the colors and mix them in order to make a creation that’s equally pleasing and exciting is something that I always look forward to,” he says. “The beauty in doing pour art is that it is unexpected. You don’t usually get to figure what you’ve always wanted to achieve. Just because you got bright hoops in the first pour doesn’t mean you’ll retain those figures when it dries up, and that’s what I love about it. It gives me the opportunity to love and appreciate the drying process while waiting for the final creation to come. In the end, you just gotta trust and love the process. In a way, painting has served me two mechanisms. It has become my defense to reduce my anxiety, and at the same time, it has also helped me cope to minimize the bad effects of overthinking.”
While there is no guarantee that the anxiety will completely go away, you are at least now more equipped to confront it and eventually win over it. The best part is, you stared it down and get to be productive in the process. Look at the Edryan Lorenzo, for example. For something that was started to curb a hovering feeling of gloom and doom, he has not purposed it to both a creative outlet, as well as a function of commerce, because some of his works are up for sale and commission on Instagram. If he can do it, you know what, so can you. You simply just have to move past the weighing feeling of anxiety and just pick up that brush. You never know what could come out of it, but at least you did something for yourself. And no victory could ever come close to that.
Oh, and that pesky Mercury Retrograde? It’ll run its course and bide its time until the next cycle. Until then, you will be better prepared to ride that orbit out.