By: Lujuana Milton, Owner and Clinician
On weeks like the one that I am currently having, it seems like there is no end to the struggles and I have to ask myself:
Is it a full moon?
How many more days until the weekend?
Is mercury in retrograde?
Rarely, I find that it’s actually a full moon and the weekend is days away. Usually, during my Google search I find that mercury is indeed in retrograde. For those of you unaware of the mystical nature of mercury retrograde, it occurs during a three-and-a-half-week period in which Mercury appears to be moving backward. Following this period, the planet will reverse itself and move “forward” again. It is important to note that Mercury does not ever actually start to move backward, it just looks like it does based on its position relative to the Earth’s axis.
In certain circles, mercury is believed to hold power over things like communication and mental function. So it’s no surprise that Mercury retrograde tends to result in planned events going a little wonky. All this amounts to is that when the crap hits the fan, it really hits the fan. I find that when this happens, I need to protect my space as part of my self-care routine. Nowadays, self-care is one of those buzzwords that everyone is talking or writing about. Quick tips and lengthy articles that I often become too bored to finish reading attempt to teach us how to protect our emotional, mental, and physical space. But, why do we need these reminders to take care of ourselves. Why? Because in this day and age, it’s so easy to neglect oneself and in some cases it’s often expected. Self-care is a necessary part when things are going well AND especially when things are going horribly wrong.
We need to practice better self-care in order to protect our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. In order to do this, we need to remember to set better boundaries. I tell anyone that will listen to my sometimes coherent ramblings, to set emotional and physical boundaries with yourself and others. What are boundaries, you ask? Boundaries are rules and principles you live by that identify what you will or won’t allow. Boundaries allow for the protection and maintenance of our personal space, privacy, body and emotions. It would not be fair to have a discussion about self-care without including the use of coping skills. Coping skills are daily strategies that we use to help us deal with and work though our distressing thoughts and/or emotions. Now let me be clear; coping skills can be both positive and negative. So, of course, I am talking about using positive, pro-social coping skills that include consistent exercise, regular sleep, healthy diet/nutrition, talking with others, involving yourself in social activities, engaging in hobbies, and other activities that help to manage distressing thoughts and/or emotions.
In theory, setting better boundaries and using coping skills is easy, but it’s a lot harder to do so in practice. A bit of self-disclosure here, I’m a therapist who teaches these concepts for a living and it’s hard for me to do this consistently. There are days when I feel like I’ve handled life’s struggles like a champion and then there are days when I hunker down on my couch and binge watch a show I would never usually watch while ignoring my piling work with a sleeve of Oreos. So I guess what I’m saying is to try each day, especially during mercury retrograde, to set better boundaries and use those darn coping skills your therapist constantly talks to you about. But, give yourself a break because we are human beings that can’t always be perfect and respond appropriately in all situations. We just have to try for as many situations as we can.