Ethereal Corner: de-stressing in October

Health and well-being advice from a mystical columnist.


Illustration by Amber Osmondson

The Tree Stance enhances relaxation and allows you to feel connected to nature.

Gabi Favazza, Mystical Columnist

Hello soulful friends! Congratulations on making it halfway through the week. Have things felt a little bit off since the start of October? If so, I may have the answer as to why. This month from a few days into October to nearly Halloween, Mercury will be in Retrograde. In terms of science, Mercury in retrograde refers to 3 or 4 times a year where a planet slows its orbit to the point of creating the optical illusion that it is moving backwards (aka retrograde). This month Mercury will be in retrograde as it passes the constellations Libra and Scorpio. Astrology wise – Mercury (or any planet) being in retrograde is said to cause the character aspects of said planet to be reversed, so difficulties with mercury’s retrograde would revolve around communication. Mercury in retrograde is destined to last until Oct. 25, so allow yourself some slack in this stressful period. Learn from this period, reflect on the past and prepare to be pleasantly surprised with how equipt you are for the coming winter.

gabi headshot copy

3 Ways To Destress This Week (And through Mercury in Retrograde):

1) Embrace new directions – Trying something new is a good way to drag yourself out of a slump, and think of this month as one big astrological slump. While Mercury is messing with your head and jumping in your path, pick a new path, literally or figuratively. Making little changes is much easier than dealing with big changes, excite your daily routine by switching things up. While you might feel out of control this month (a huge stressor), deliberately choosing a new path can make you feel more in control again.

2) Remind yourself not to take things personally. This is something that I have been wrestling with a lot this month, stressed out friends or coworkers and our lovely friend Mercury cause high levels of tensions where there usually wouldn’t be. When your roommate snaps about your dirty dishes sitting around or when your coworker seems unusually cranky, remind yourself that it probably isn’t personal. Communication is always a good way to ease these tensions although Mercury in Retrograde tends to mess communication way up. Actively remind yourself to take things with a grain of salt and pay attention to your reactions to things – Giving your roommate attitude when they snap at you is not going to play out as well as a brief and genuine apology and taking care of those dishes (which will make you feel better too).

3) Finish what you started. A half cleaned closet, a half finished drawing sitting on your desk or that one thing you said you’d do later can be a huge silent stressor. Being busy is a given this time of year and sometimes projects get put off for more important things like studying or sleeping, but if you make a goal to finish something you started (or all the things you started) you will have one less “to do” floating around the back of your mind. If you’re having trouble getting started finishing that one thing – set a picture of it as your phone background so that you’re sure to see it sitting there until you complete it.


Peaceful Physicality – An Exchange of Breath with Vrikshasana:

While Mercury might be making your head spin and your intuition fly out the window – get grounded with tree pose.

1 – Pick a spot that’s relatively quiet and comfortable (bonus points if it is outside and double bonus points if you are near a tree)

2 – Stand with your feet parallel under your shoulders with your hands in prayer position at your sternum.

3 – Allow yourself to feel the ground and become familiar with the pressure of your body on the earth beneath you.

4 – When you feel ready, position your arms at your sides, bend your right knee and rest your right foot as high as is comfortable on your inner left thigh

5 – Find your balance (This may take some practice, try focusing on a still object in the distance to aid balance)

6 – Raise your arms upwards at the side, allow your hands to meet above your head and lower them once again to your sternum

7 – Hold this pose as long as possible (the more you do it, the more comfortable it will be) all while taking deep breaths and focusing the mind on breathing

8 – As you breathe, imagine your spine stretching on the inhale, and all muscles relaxing on the exhale.

9 – If you are outside, notice how you are exhaling the air necessary for trees to inhale, and they are doing the same for you – radiate gratitude.

9 – When you are ready, release your right leg until you are standing in parallel. Spend time with two feet on the ground until you are ready to repeat the process with the left leg.

10 – Thank yourself for taking a moment for self care and meditation; thank the trees for breathing with you.

Namaste, Happy Wednesday, Love and Light to all – Gabi