It’s a long weekend here, and perhaps where you are, too. I don’t celebrate Easter but I appreciate the opportunity to pause.
I think there is great value, and even necessity, in having days where our communities are quiet. Where businesses are closed, traffic is light, and there’s no need to rush to be at school or work.
Of course, there will always be roles where the work can’t stop. Such as those who work in emergency services, hospitals, or long-term care homes.
But even then, everyone needs, and deserves, a break. It’s necessary.
I’ve been thinking a lot about downtime this past year. Now that we are under the influence of Mercury retrograde in Aries, it’s the perfect time to pay attention to any resentments that are building up around what you are committed to.
Aries is fiercely independent. It values its time, energy, and ideas, often asking for a lot of space to do its own thing. With this Mercury retrograde period, you might become acutely aware of anything that is blocking your sense of freedom, or draining your energy.
With the Six of Swords showing up as this week’s card, I’m reminding of the narrative that we often find with this image. It is a card of movement and transition, of feeling perhaps like you can’t quite get your bearings, but you will be able to soon.
It is a card connected with stress, anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. But it also shows that a new place, a new way of being or feeling, is on the horizon. Focus on what you need to do get there and trust that you will.
I think this card speaks to the current energies we can find ourselves in now.
Yes, it is spring, and Aries season is always a prime time for action.
But what if you are already overextended? What if you are already carrying too much?
If something is weighing you down, look at what might have to change. Look at where you can unburden yourself.
I know I have talked about this before, but I’ll repeat it for anyone who might want to hear it again, or who is new to my writing:
In fitness, there is always a lot of talk about rest and recovery. A lot of people are careful and cautious with their bodies. They work out for twenty minutes, or an hour, and say, “Okay, that’s enough.” They say, “I went to the gym yesterday, so I will take a break today.”
But when it comes to how we treat our minds, the approach becomes different for many people. Myself included.
I am so, totally guilty of trying to maximize every minute of my day. But last year, I started re-evaluating the necessity of it all.
Did I really need to be checking emails every time I had a few minutes to spare? Or coming up with new tasks for myself the minute I finished a major project, or closed off a busy week?
Did every waking moment have to be filled with something that, to me, equated productivity? Or that satisfied a to-do list?
We worry about over-training our bodies, about the wear and tear on our muscles and joints. But what about over-training our minds and spirits?
A chronic early-riser, I started being a little easier on myself last year when it came to my wake up routine. I started allowing myself to hit the snooze button a little more often, realizing that there has never been a moment when I regretted cuddling with my partner for a few extra minutes.
But there have been plenty of times I regretted pushing myself to the point of exhaustion.
Working from home, I also allowed myself to take mini breaks just to pet my cat, or brush her, or play with her.
Last fall, I started making time to go to the park and feed the squirrels. Which I’m looking forward to getting back to now that spring is here.
Again, another realization: I have never regretted time I’ve spent in nature.
But I have regretted the times I’ve gotten sucked into Instagram or Twitter late at night when I really should have been getting ready for bed, or unwinding from the day.
Or forced myself to be productive because I had the time to work on something, when really, I knew I should have been taking advantage of the downtime.
Or when I’ve given into other people’s expectations to be “on” and working all the time, because that’s how they choose to live. But it’s not my choice, and I am not going to feel guilty about it.
Or when I’ve made time in my schedule to work on a creative project, or to focus on something for myself, and I’ve let other people’s priorities creep into that space instead.
Because when I actually allow myself to stop and take a break, to turn away from the screen, to decide to just focus on a few tasks in a day instead of twenty…it feels like breathing.
Like my whole being is actually taking a deep, cool inhalation of the freshest air it has ever found.
Just as our bodies need a rest in order to heal, recover, and stay strong, so do our minds.
But sometimes, it’s hard to know what we even want, let alone need, when we’re too busy to find out.
Here’s a mantra for your week ahead, aligned with this Mercury retrograde in Aries:
“I thrive on my own terms.”
Until next time,