Welcome to another post from the monthly neurodivergent tips series! In this series, I offer quick tips for each astrological season, geared at neurodivergent folks and written from my own perspective as an AuDHD astrologer and neuroemergence guide. These are some recommended focuses to work with the energy of the season, not a to-do list or something to feel guilty about if you don’t get to it. All our neurotypes are different, so take what feels right for you and release what doesn’t!
When I say “season” here, I’m talking primarily about the time the sun spends in a sign, shining a spotlight on the sign’s energy. At the same time or close to it, Mercury and Venus will pass through the sign, and a New Moon also occurs in that sign, so its energy is amplified. But you can expect these seasons to also be flavored by the positions of other planets in the sky and in your chart, so they don’t feel the same to everyone or happen in the same way every year.
Virgo is the sign of mutable earth, ruled by Mercury. Virgo energy is all about making tangible improvements, especially in service of others. While Virgos are sometimes stereotyped as nit-picky perfectionists, they’re really just driven to make real-world systems, processes, and spaces as efficient and effective as possible so that everyone can access resources and get what they need.
This is the side of Mercury that digs into tangible details and organization. What seemingly tiny element in a system can be tweaked to have a massive impact over time? What’s the schedule and the budget? Who’s in charge of what?
When I think about Virgo in the context of neurodivergence, it’s easy to jump to how autistic brains do bottom-up processing, because it is definitely very Virgo. The way our brains have trouble habituating to familiar information means that we’re often considering all the details and everything that could be optimized in an environment. We might have trouble getting started on a task because we have 15 clarifying questions, and a Virgoan desire not to get started in the wrong direction—if it’s not actually helping someone, then of course we want to get all the details right so it will!
Virgo energy isn’t about any one diagnosis, of course. Regardless of your neurotype, you’ve likely encountered Virgo energy when learning how your own brain works. Most neurodivergent people need to find ways to optimize our relationship to our environments and our own bodies at a highly detailed level, which is very Virgo. We might need to do a lot of experimentation with our self-care routines, the apps we use to keep ourselves on track, physical organization systems, and tools for emotional regulation and sensory soothing.
Some of us also enjoy applying our experiences in tweaking our own environments and routines to helping others. Whether at work or in a social circle, you might be the one who’s got an eye on the logistics others miss, coordinating everyone’s access needs for an event or figuring out what the chore chart looks like in your home. While some find these mundane details boring and easy to ignore, some of us thrive in finding ways to optimize them so that everyone’s happy, healthy, and cared for.
We’re the ones setting up the Google Form to get information on everyone’s dietary needs before the community meal, putting together the puzzle of how everyone can get fed within our budget and spoons levels, and making sure it actually happens by assigning folks grocery trips and cooking duties. It may seem thankless and nitpicky, but in fact this is the work that results in a bunch of happy, comfortable, well-fed people!
And if your neurotype is a little more scattered and chaotic, that doesn’t mean that Virgo energy isn’t for you—I’ve found that even the most freeflowing, seat-of-your pants folks have ways in which they access mutable earth energy. Your space may look disorganized to most people, but your stuff is kept in the spots where you know how to find it, and can grab it when you need it. That’s very Virgo! It’s not about how things look (that might be more Libra), but about function and whether your space, schedule, etc. facilitate what you need.
Optimization might also mean different things at different times. Mutable energy always adapts to the needs of the moment. If your energy is inconsistent, then your supports need to follow those shifts. You may also think of yourself as someone who loves a good system, but find that your system is constantly needing tweaks, and wonder when you’re ever going to arrive at a final place of efficiency and effectiveness. I’ve found that letting go of the idea that a system will ever be final frees up my expectations a lot—in reality, my brain does best with a system that feels new and exciting, and that’s why I’m always changing it!
This Virgo season, you might want to consider the following practices:
- Is there a part of your day-to-day systems that has noticeable friction, or something in your life where you could use some kind of a system? Think about the most basic version of a change you might be able to implement and try it out!
- Do a little review of your self-care practices. Where is your physical body needing a little more support in the day-to-day? This might look like putting a nourishing food that’s easy to grab somewhere you’ll see it in the morning, finally buying a weighted blanket or noise-cancelling headphones, or donating clothing that just isn’t that comfortable and tends to get on your nerves.
- Consider your sensory needs. Sometimes they’re not obvious—if you’re finding that you’re upset or anxious or angry or agitated for seemingly no reason, it may be that there’s actually an underlying unmet sensory need, rather than it being an emotional issue. When you’re feeling off, you might experiment with some sensory shifts and see if they make a difference. Try removing sensation by going into a dark room (or at least turning off any bright lights), looking away from screens, eliminating sound as much as possible, or attending to any uncomfortable clothing you’re wearing. Or try adding pleasant sensations with a stim toy, stroking a texture you like, or putting on some music that gives you brain tingles (binaural beats are one popular option). When you find something that works, think about how to incorporate it into your day or have access to it when you need a break. You can also practice cues with people you’re around a lot, such as “hey, I need an audio break” to indicate that you’re not trying to be rude, but you need them to stop talking to avoid a meltdown!
- Do you have an organization project at work or at home you’ve been meaning to get around to? Virgo season is a great time for cleaning up your bookmarks, reformatting that messy spreadsheet, going through your pantry for expired items and arranging things in a way that makes sense, etc.
- Think about your close relationships. Are there any friction points that might be solved with a little bit of attention to detail? For example, this might look like setting up a shared calendar or to-do list, writing a “Care and Feeding Manual” to help your people understand important things about you, or putting together a plan for a shared project. Explicit, shared expectations can be really great for lots of neurotypes! This also might just look like a conversation, with an agreement to be honest and gentle with each other in talking through what’s been causing friction and how you might solve it together. What are the needs that aren’t getting met, and where is there space for change?
- If your energy tends to be inconsistent, consider creating a Red/Yellow/Green list. Anything can go on it: activities, people, foods, self-care practices, etc. In the Red section, include things that you really need to do (and how often) to keep your body, space, and life maintained in a way that doesn’t make things worse, that are possible even with low energy. This might include reminders of who you can call on for support, or time-saving options like some go-to quick meals that tend to work for you. I also like to put in my Red list boundaries like “do not engage with this person.” In the Yellow, list things that you ideally want to do regularly, but can drop when needed. Green is a space for high energy, and might include one-off projects or less frequent tasks like cleaning or organizing that help you feel good when they happen at least sometimes. If you’re feeling Red, don’t go anywhere near the Green list! This can help you to build some trust in your understanding of your own energy and gentleness with yourself.
- For my folks who are allergic to organization and systems: first, give yourself a big ole hug, cause Virgo season is for you, too! Check in with yourself, take a deep breath, and ask: where am I personally feeling a need for more support? This isn’t about things you think you should do: your partner nagging you about your messy room, the sense that “having a schedule” is a thing people do, etc. Just think about your own day-to-day, and where you might be feeling frustrated, lost, exhausted, or chaotic in a bad way. What is the exact thing that needs to be addressed? Then think creatively about a way to solve it that would actually work for you—even if that method feels silly or not how others do it. Maybe it’s a giant, ridiculous, colorful sign by the door that says DON’T FORGET YOUR PHONE! Maybe it’s a conversation with your partner about the stress their expectations are causing. Maybe it’s getting help from a cleaning service, a meal delivery plan, or a trade with a roommate on the chores you hate that you feel like you “should” just be able to do. You’ve got this!
- Attend to dopamine cycles. ADHDers especially often have an unhealthy relationship with dopamine and tend to operate in a crash cycle where we hyperfocus for hours, then burn out for days. Something I’ve learned from research on flow states and found really useful is that we really don’t want to spend more than 90 minutes in a state of active focus, but also after that 90 minutes, it’s really helpful to spend 20 minutes doing some kind of active recovery practice. Examples include petting an animal, going out into nature, chatting (especially laughing!) with a friend, singing, dancing, breathwork, and other things that get us engaged with our bodies but not actively thinking / focusing. (Shout out to Ixchel Lunar for introducing me to this concept!) I’ve found that practicing this sort of cycle with something like a pomodoro timer really helps my body to trust that there will in fact be focus opportunities later, and this isn’t the one chance to focus this week so we must continue until we crash at all costs. It’s also amazing how I can be really grumpy about doing a task, and then after 20 minutes of putting on music I like and dancing, the task feels easy!