For those who believe in it, astrology can be a useful tool for self-improvement and gaining a better understanding of yourself and those around you. The practice has been around for ages, but it's really grown in popularity in recent years. Especially during this very uncertain and turbulent year, many people have leaned on the practice to guide them, give them hope, and help them find some answers to what was happening.
For the unconverted, here me out: It's not a completely woo-woo subject. When used correctly, it can really be a powerful tool. "One aspect of astrology is highlighting a person's strengths and areas of growth," explains licensed psychotherapist Lia Mancao. "So from a psychotherapy perspective, a person seeking to understand themselves better and self-improve will be able to evaluate their areas of growth and hopefully take the steps necessary to grow and shift if what they read rings true for them. In terms of identifying strengths, people can also use this information as positive reinforcement, making them more likely to engage in those behaviors."
Mancao says astrology can offer people the space to reflect and evaluate themselves and their surroundings. The practice can also provide a nonjudgmental vehicle to help people create meaning in their lives. "Challenging times can come with feelings of helplessness or loss of control, so for many people, astrology can be used as a guide to gain a semblance of internal hope and a sense of control over their lives and future," she explains. "People use a number of things to ground themselves and understand their truths, and astrology can be one of those things, as it helps people engage in a deep learning about themselves and others. For many, astrology can also be a spiritual practice, and spiritual practices can be very healing."
Of course, like with any practice, there are some things that you should be mindful of so that it will be helpful to you. It's all about being discerning with the information you're given. "One thing that I've witnessed is people who have boxed themselves in with specific labels and have said, 'That's just how I am because of my sign, etc.' I would suggest being flexible with the information that we receive," Mancao says. "Regardless of where a person falls on the spectrum of their relationship with astrology, it's important to recognize that astrology can be used as a helpful guide rather than to be viewed as deterministic. Additionally, while astrology can give us insight into ourselves and can assist with our relationships, it may also be helpful for some to incorporate additional tools and modalities alongside your mental health journey for balance and various perspectives, like psychotherapy, coaching, Reiki, etc."
When you are mindful of all of the above, you can really use astrology as a form of self-care. Mancao teamed up with Snapchat to create some self-care tips based on astrology signs. The popular social media app launched an astrology feature last month that lets you set up an astrological profile to learn more about your particular sign and what it means for your personality, what you care about, and even your compatibility with your friends on Snapchat.
See her tips based on your sign below. And regardless of your particular sign, Mancao gave these general self-care tips:
1. Don't be afraid to take some time off: "It's very common for people to justify not taking time off right now (because they are working from home, most places are closed, mixed with guilt about still having a job while many are without, etc). Taking a break or necessary time off, especially during a global pandemic, is critical for your mental health," she says.
2. Know your holiday boundaries and don't be afraid to communicate them: "If you're not comfortable going somewhere or having people over, it is more than okay for you to share how you feel," she explains. "Setting and honoring your boundaries is a form of self-care." Part of this is also checking in on yourself and your basic needs, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or depleted.
3. Move your body: Mancao says movement helps with improving mood and reducing stress. Go for a walk, exercise, or just stretch. "Don't forget to prioritize your joy and connect with your inner child. Engage in activities that incorporate play and laughter!" she adds.
Since you're stimulated by thrill and curiosity, self-care for you may look like staying in and reading a good fiction book or watching a thought-provoking documentary. This might be your best and only option right now considering COVID-19 guidelines.
Your zest for life and human interaction can benefit from a self-care plan that includes (when safe and possible) traveling to a new place with just a loose itinerary (if that!) where you can mingle and make new friends/acquaintances. This could mean taking a road trip to a new city, camping at a nearby location, or even going to a restaurant with an exotic vibe. We can't do all of the above right now, but they are ideas to keep in mind for later.
Your calming presence and serene disposition allow for simple yet powerful self-care practices, like drinking green tea, lighting a nice-smelling candle, or going for a drive in silence.
Given your connection with nature, self-care for you may also look like booking a camping/outdoor trip by yourself or with your closest friends (whenever it's safe to do so).
You're also known to thrive off of your friendships, and human connection can offer a great sense of comfort for you.
Given your flexible and multitasking nature and love of learning, self-care for you might look like taking a fun and interactive class, like cooking, dancing, or pottery making, to feel grounded.
Since you're also a natural communicator, a healthy way for you to decompress might be channeling your thoughts and feelings through journaling or blogging.
Since it’s part of your nature to nest and thrive in homelife, organizing a movie night or game night at your place, where you can have all of your closest friends under one roof, is what you find most rewarding and relaxing. Since it's not possible to do this IRL right now, how about doing it over Zoom?
Because of your loving and generous nature, self-care for you might look like good quality time with the people you love—something low-key and that keeps you emotionally connected, like a casual backyard brunch or an intimate dinner. Add this to your to-do list for when social distancing guidelines are lifted.
A home self-care routine, like a beauty regimen, baking, or home yoga, may also be something that fills your heart and keeps you feeling zen.
Your brave and creative nature might benefit from a self-care plan that hones in on your creativity. This can look like drawing, painting, coloring, ceramics, etc., virtually anything where you can bring something to life visually.
Since your sign has a tendency to demonstrate generousness to others, a self-care plan for you could include giving that same energy back to yourself through small pampering activities, like a fun skincare routine that includes clay/sheet masks, bubble baths, bath bombs, etc.
Given your love for order and making plans, give yourself permission to do nothing or channel this energy in creating a list of things that you can look forward to, like booking a hotel stay at a nearby beach and road-tripping with friends when it's safe to do so or simply creating time to organize and declutter your space.
For you, relaxation can be rereading your favorite books, watching feel-good television shows, and having creative websites readily available for inspiration for your next project.
"Since you have an appreciation for the beautiful things in life, self-care for you may include something as simple as treating yourself to good chai or coffee, lining your tub with candles, or something more complex like traveling and meeting new people (when restrictions lift!).
Your fair-mindedness and disinterest in disharmony may thrive with self-care activities that ground you, like journaling and meditation.
Given that you have a tendency to guard your privacy, solo self-care activities may be more soothing for you. This includes having a spa day, listening to a podcast, or going for a walk.
Your passionate, determined, and sensitive nature can benefit from self-care activities like reflecting, journaling, and creating a vision board.
Because of your immense passion for specific causes and your drive to learn new things, self-care might look like reading an interesting book or learning a new skill that interests you.
With your innate sense of humor, you may find release in watching a live comedy show and laughing with friends. While you might not be able to get to a live show with friends right now, think about watching a comedy special online while Zooming with friends.
Given your hardworking ethic and goal-setting nature, a self-care plan for you involves major decompressing so that you can fill your tank back up when it's time to create and accomplish new goals.
Decompressing may look like taking time off work and engaging in activities that bring you joy—like going to a nice restaurant, spending time with friends, or cozying up to a cabin fire in the woods, all things to look forward to doing when we're able to.
Your focus and dedication deserve a reward, and this could look like gifting yourself the gift of time off and play.
Due to your independent and individualistic nature, self-care involving solo activities, like online shopping, reading, binge-watching a feel-good show, and making plans for travel may be helpful for you.
You may also find joy and relaxation in doing a puzzle or playing games with close friends because of your highly creative and intelligent nature. Again, you'll have to enjoy this with those in your household for now.
Due to your creative and poetic nature and your continuous zest for self-expression, self-care for you might look like taking a long walk with no set route, giving yourself permission to be with your thoughts and feelings without judgment or distraction.
Having long conversations with people who can reciprocate emotionally can be very satisfying for you, and that human connection is a good self-care practice to make you feel at peace.
Given that you tend to dislike the mundane details of life, breaking out of your routine with vacations or staycations may be soothing for you. More travel to look forward to when restrictions lift!