If you follow astrology, or if you've been on the Instagram explore page in the past week, you may know that we've officially entered another season of Mercury retrograde. It happens three or four times a year and lasts for approximately three weeks at a time, when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards in the sky. Of all astrological phenomenon, Mercury retrograde seems to affect the most people across the board. People start to experience communication issues, lack of attention to detail, problems at work and in relationships, simple mistakes, tech trouble, and the general feeling that everyone's energy is off.

It's not a good time to make big decisions or start something new, because the planet's movement affects our conscious awareness and critical thinking skills. All normal interaction and communication becomes muddled and unclear, with important information often missing or misunderstood. Below are a few significant things to avoid for the next few weeks while retrograde works itself out.

1. Road Travel

You may have noticed that drivers have somehow gotten worse in the past week or so. While there tend to be more car accidents in the summer months according to New Orleans accident lawyers, retrograde periods usually see a spike in car accidents as well. This is largely due to most people losing track of detail. It may mean other drivers not paying attention to blind spots, not being as present on the road, or forgetting to turn on a blinker. If you've been planning a road trip, it might be worth it to postpone for a few weeks. And it's not just affecting travel on the road -- be open to the possibility of flight delays and lost luggage at airports.

2. Signing Contracts

One of the usual consequences of Mercury retrograde is misinterpreting important information. People's heads are less clear than normal, which can lead to some significant mistakes if you're committing to something serious. Astrologists recommend delaying anything that could involve signing a contract or making long term commitments -- that could be accepting a new job, signing a lease with a new roommate, or making any kind of written agreement. If you must, experts recommend triple checking any contract before you sign it in order to catch anything you might have missed.

3. Relationships

Because people are not as apt at communicating during retrograde, conversations with the important people in your life can suffer. Be careful when talking to your partner, friends, bosses, coworkers, etc as miscommunications and misrepresentations of your feelings are common. This energy can cause people to argue, especially couples who already have communication issues. Heightened reactions can lead to break ups and regrettable decision making. Take extra care to think before you speak for the next few weeks.

4. Technology

Word to the wise, it's best to back up your computer and important devices before Mercury retrograde starts. Mercury directly affects technology, so it's likely that tech will fail when the planet goes retrograde. Try your best to avoid buying any new devices, cars, or electronic toys for the next few weeks, unless they have a great warranty.

5. Mental Health

Along with everything listed above, be extra careful with your mental health during Mercury retrograde. Amid all of the confusion and weird energy, it's easy to get caught up and reactive to the situations around us. Our intuition and internal compass can be convoluted, causing us to make bad judgement calls despite our best efforts. Retrograde has a way of dredging up things from the past and bringing them back to the front of our mind. Be extra kind to yourself and make time for self-care. Your post-retrograde self will thank you.

Move slowly through the next few weeks. Make time for yourself and the things that are important to you, and don't make any big decisions. Using Mercury retrograde as a time to rest and reflect rather than trying to create change will allow you the space to grow and be mindfully ready for what comes next!There's a lot of summer left, so plan accordingly.