There are times in your life when you have to evaluate where you are and your view of yourself and the world. This often happens to mothers in those early years of parenting. Our bodies change, we sacrifice time and our own needs, our priorities shift. It doesn’t just happen to us when we become mothers – illness, a personal or family crisis, simply feeling stuck in a rut can cause us to feel overwhelmed, dissatisfied, confused, rudderless, even lost. I’ve read a few self help books over the years, and they can be a great tool for helping you unpick how you’re feeling in these situations.
‘Strip Naked and Redress with Happiness: How to survive and thrive through personal challenge’ by Maria Hocking is a book you might want to pick up if you’re in this situation. This book is part memoir and part self help book as personal coach Maria shares her journey with you, her story of how she lost all her hair after the birth of her second child, and found clarity and confidence with her new nakedness. Hair loss is an incredibly emotive issue for women as it’s inextricably linked to social norms around femininity, but this book is all about releasing yourself from norms and finding the meaning and joy in your own life, with tools and techniques to help you make the most out of your life. Don’t think for a second this is a book about hair loss, that is just one vehicle for sharing some useful theories and techniques for being the best, happiest you.
I will be honest, I struggled with the first chapter. It’s deeply personal and I’m used to reading “self help” books that are broader, or more based on theory. This will appeal to many, however, and particularly if you feel in a funk, stressed or depressed over more tangible or specific issues. I’m used to reading self help books with some personal story thrown in, this is the other way around, and this will appeal to many. Once I’d adjusted to what to expect as the book went on, I enjoyed the personal experiences and stories – it all feels real. Genuine. Credible.
Where are there practical things to implement the book shines. For example, there’s a chapter called Mind the Gap. In any situation there is a gap between the event and your reaction to it. This appeals to my extremely rational side and something I’ve worked on extensively in counselling. The only person’s behaviour you can control is your own after all. Use that time to decide how you can react – positively, negatively, smiling, laughing, or in my case just rising above and choosing to move serenely onto the next moment.
Another key theme for me in the book is choosing to be grateful. Identifying the things in your life to be thankful for or that give you pleasure, even small things, is something I am endeavouring to do.
Having done some occupational psychology training, career coaching, plus numerous sales roles, I know how important physical presentation can be in affecting you mood and performance. There are plenty of tips to deploy to help you feel more confident in the book.I have adopted the superman stance on more than one occasion (including pre-caesarean) to prime me for a big event.
A lot of other things resonated with me in this book, but I suspect every reader will find something different. That’s the wonderful thing about self care, we are all unique beings who need something different. By embracing that we can truly be the best and most authentic version of ourselves
*I was provided with a copy of this book by the author for review purposes. My views are unaffected by this, honest and my own*