You don’t have to be an astrology nerd to be aware of Mercury retrograde. Believers know it as an aggravating cosmic time when miscommunications and misunderstandings seem to happen with unusual—even alarming—frequency. We can be hit by unforeseen setbacks and delays—particularly when it comes to travel, since Mercury impacts how we navigate things.
The last retrograde of 2022 commences on 29 December, in the midst of the winter holidays. And to make matters worse, the pre-retrograde zone, known as “retroshade”, begins on December 12. The pre-retrograde phase causes more stress than the retrograde itself because when Mercury begins to slow down, it plays mischievous games with us earthlings. You might lose your wallet, find yourself turned away from an overbooked flight, encounter unforeseen traffic on the motorway, or simply find you’ve spilt red wine all over yourself—without a change of clothes to hand.
The retrograde itself can heighten worries and stress, especially when travelling with family, which is challenging enough without the hassle of Mercury being in retrograde. While it ends on January 18, the post-retrograde period will last until February 23, meaning that drama may continue until after Valentine’s Day. Plan any romantic getaways with care.
Read my tips on how to travel with ease during Mercury retrograde, below.
It’s easy to give into the external pressure of the moment when flights are cancelled and delayed. You can’t control air traffic or fly the plane yourself, so it’s important to accept situations as they are. Avoid getting aggravated over a late departure or arrival. If you feel yourself tensing up, take a deep breath in and out, then walk around the airport while listening to relaxing music.
Try to occupy yourself with activities and games on your iPad, computer, or phone. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or connect with the person you’re travelling with by engaging them in meaningful conversation. Allow yourself the freedom to decide to take a later flight and explore the city you’re delayed in. Be open to whatever life brings you.
Stretch out your body
In most airports, you’ll be able to find a room to spend any layover time moving through downward dog. Take your opportunity to decompress and let go of bodily tension—by internalising irritation, you’re letting your body suffer. Release negative thoughts and energy with every pose.
Carry-on luggage is a must
If you’re really unlucky, your luggage could end up on another flight, in the wrong country, or lingering around the airport after you yourself have left. Therefore, having carry-on luggage with all the necessities (change of clothes, toothbrush, and hairbrush), is key. If you put luggage into the hold, ensure there is a tag with your name, flight, and/or personal identification number on your bags so that they can be found easily if lost.
Triple check everything
Make sure that your passport and photo IDs aren’t expired. Check your itinerary the night and morning before your trip to ensure you’re on schedule and that everything is organised.
Arrange a cab 30 minutes before you would usually. There could be minor traffic that stands in the way of connecting to your flight or train. If you’re driving, it’s essential to take your time and not rush. The less you stress, the easier the ride will be.
Set an alarm to keep yourself on track—even when wandering through the airport. Don’t rush yourself or leave just a short window of time to board the plane. Being calm is an important remedy for the nervousness and tensions brought on by the retrograde.
Embrace the retrograde
Since retrogrades are so closely linked with travel issues, it shouldn’t be a surprise when they happen. Rather than responding emotionally, try to maintain a cool head and sense of humour about it all.
This article first appeared on vogue.co.uk