If you’re still feeling queasy from a topsy-turvy 2016, know that the end of the ride is in sight—it’s written in the stars.
That’s what the Chinese zodiac says, anyway. According to this astrological tradition, each year in a 12-year cycle is said to take on the qualities of a specific animal. On Saturday, January 28—the Lunar New Year—we’ll be leaving behind the mischievous Year of the Monkey and entering the more regimented Year of the Rooster. (Phew!)
“We’re coming out of a nerve-fraying period that isn’t entirely surprising, from a Chinese zodiac point of view—the Monkey year is a particularly erratic, chaotic roller coaster,” says Noah Rubinstein, doctor of Chinese medicine and clinic director of The YinOva Center in New York City. “Now, we’re coming into a more intentional and predictable period. This year is about getting down to business.”
“The Rooster is a metal element, but this is a fire year. What happens when you put fire on top of metal? It creates sparks.”
Kind of a relief, right? But that’s not to say 2017 is going to be less emotionally charged than 2016 was. “The Rooster is a metal element, but this is a fire year,” explains Rubinstein. (Last year was a fire year as well.) “What happens when you put fire on top of metal? It creates sparks.”
The last Fire Rooster year was back in 1957, which marked the birth of many outspoken, socially conscious celebrities like Russell Simmons, Spike Lee, and Gloria Estefan—all of who embody this new cycle’s vibe. “2017 is going to be a period of standing in our light to articulate who we are and what we believe in, and there’s going to be a lot of energy behind it,” says Rubinstein. In other words, don’t unfasten your seat belt just yet.
Keep reading for five ways you can capitalize on the Year of the Rooster’s energy.
1. Fine-tune your daily routine
In the animal kingdom, the rooster rises before the sun to act as everyone’s alarm clock. You may find you’ve got an extra helping of get-up-and-go this year, too.
“Punctuality and predictability are part of the Rooster year,” says Rubinstein. Now would be a great time to become a morning person and streamline your routine in the name of productivity. (Need some inspiration? Here’s how some of the busiest celebs start their days.)
2. Polish up your personal brand
How do you want the world to see you? That’s going to be a central theme for many during this proud, confident Fire Rooster era.
“This is a good time to get really clear about how you’re formulating your outbound image,” says Rubinstein. Overhaul your professional website, buy some new work clothes, try a fresh hairstyle—anything that will help you combat impostor syndrome and put your most impressive face forward. But authenticity is key, warns Rubinstein. “Be you and send a strong message. Just make sure honesty, kindness, and generosity play into it.”
3. Find strength in community
“Roosters are very social creatures,” says Rubinstein. “So we’re going to see a lot of identity-driven social connections and political affiliations, and a boost in family importance.”
In other words, clear space on your calendar for women’s circles, political rallies, or networking events—but try not to get so consumed in the group’s point of view that you close your mind to other opinions. “Identifying with others like you is awesome, as long as it doesn’t become partisan,” says Rubinstein. “We’re all circling our own respective wagons and we’re not really listening to each other.”
4. Speak your mind, but check your ego
If you find your social media posts are getting a little more political, you have the Rooster energy to thank. “Roosters are proud; they’re very articulate about who they are and they really let you know what they stand for,” says Rubinstein.
This is a good thing, but try not to get swept away on a wave of self-righteousness. “It can lead to becoming aggressive and defensive,” Rubinstein says. “Be careful to not let the show-off side become an overbearing ego trip.”
5. Practice non-judgment
By the same token, don’t be too quick to click un-follow if a friend starts spouting off opinions that don’t mesh with your own.
“Because of the way the stars are lining up, people are going to start wearing their thoughts—and their hearts—on their sleeves,” Rubinstein emphasizes. “Patience is really important. If you start to naturally become more outspoken, you don’t want people to judge you, so don’t judge other people.” Time to upgrade your meditation pillow.
We have a feeling 2017 is going to be…intense. You’re going to need your go-to stress relievers: Here’s how to keep your cool. according to your horoscope, and everything you need to know about the calming super-herb ashwagandha.