AD • I received a copy of this book from the publishers. My review is voluntary and opinions are entirely my own.
Happy Friday, friends! I hope that you’re looking forward to a lovely weekend. Today I wanted to talk about a new non-fiction release that I think will appeal to quite a few of you. (I know I was VERY intrigued when it arrived in the post.)
As you might know, I’m on something of a mental health journey. I’ve struggled with my mental health my entire life and parenthood plus COVID really pushed me to the point where I knew that I needed to do more to support myself. Medication has been helpful but it’s not a solution on its own. So I’ve dug deep into my triggers and worked on coping mechanisms and boundaries and so on. But in all of that, I’ve discovered that my BIGGEST problem areas are executive function and emotional regulation. (And for all of you whose alarm bells are going off upon reading that, yes I know and I’m awaiting assessment.) Amazingly, this book tackles both of those things in depth so I was really grateful for the opportunity to read it. And without any further ado, let’s dive into my review!
Switchcraft: Harnessing the Power of Mental Agility to Transform Your Life by Elaine Fox
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of Publication: 12th May 2022
Format: Paperback (352 pages)
Source: Review copy from publishers
Available Formats: Hardcover • eBook • Audiobook
What is the key ingredient to a happy, successful life?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with life. Elaine Fox, one of the world’s leading psychologists and performance coaches, has witnessed this time and again. In her work coaching top athletes, military leaders and business professionals, she has seen that it’s the people who know how and when to switch between different approaches – people who have an agile mind – who achieve the best performance.
Drawing on 25 years of scientific research, Fox shares with us her step-by-step guide to what she calls ‘switchcraft’: the set of skills we need to navigate a complex and uncertain world. Whether it’s coping with a difficult boss, overcoming a fear, dealing with hyperactive children, resolving a dispute with a friend or making a difficult choice about where to live or what to do, switchcraft helps us thrive in any situation.
Like your own personal life coach, Switchcraft shows you how to break out of a rigid mindset to restore your fulfilment, curiosity and zest for life.
One of the things that stood out to me about Switchcraft is that it takes a ‘no one-size-fits-all’ approach. The suggestions made here can all be tailored into a strategy that works best for you. It’s not preachy. There’s none of the shaming that can be found in some self-help books. It’s fully adaptable and accessible to your own individual circumstances and needs which is absolutely brilliant.
There’s a wide range of anecdotes here and not your regular ‘my client struggled with this so I recommended this solution’ type of anecdotes. The case studies cover people from all walks of life because mental health affects everyone. It was really eye-opening in that respect and the anecdotes were largely very interesting to read.
As I’ve already mentioned, I found that the advice given by the author was incredibly useful. The sections on executive function and emotional regulation explained things in a way that finally clicked to me and I’ll be trying out some of the strategies immediately.
Another thing that I really liked about Switchcraft was the interactive quality. Fox recommends using a journal early on and it’s clear why. There are score-based quizzes throughout as well as thoughtful activities to help guide you through the concepts. I especially enjoyed working out my ideal time allocation. Time-blindness is another one of my problem areas so it was great to see on paper that I CAN commit so many hours each day to all the things that matter to me. (Speaking of, the section on personal values and beliefs also meant a lot to me as I’m trying to live my life in a more intentional way.)
I did struggle at times with the text being very anecdotal or neuroscience evidence-based so I often found myself skim-reading. Luckily, the author provides a chapter summary at the end of each chapter which was very helpful. This made it a lot more accessible to read.
Overall, this was a fantastic self-help book that I whole-heartedly recommend to anyone who wants to improve their life. But especially to anyone who, like me, struggles with their mental health. It’s helpful and interesting and well worth a read.
Will you be reading Switchcraft? Let me know in the comments below.