What Self-Care Pros Do Differently (and Why It Matters)

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Listen to this post here:Friends, this has been one of those weeks. I returned to the computer last Monday after a couple of weeks off only to find that my email had broken and messages sent to me and and by me had been disappearing into the ether for nearly a week. At the same time, my trusty Macbook started acting up, and I've found myself sitting in front of the spinning beach ball of doom for more hours than I want to think about over the past few days.And you know what? It's at least partly my fault. As Mr BWYA, who was patiently helping me with a couple of short-term fixes, pointed out "Your computer is your office, it's worth taking care of."Although it's not like I throw my laptop around, I am guilty of seeing the little "Updates ready to install" notification in the top right-hand corner and swiping it to one side so it will go away. Every day. For the last year. I'm still running software that hasn't been updated since 2009. I have tons of stuff sitting on my hard drive that I "might need some day" (read: probably won't remember I have it even if I do need it). All in all, my approach to my office has been decidedly amateurish.Which brings me to the topic of today's post.In his excellent book "Turning Pro", Steven Pressfield outlines the distinction between the amateur and the pro in the context of work. Amateurs wait until inspiration strikes, get lured away by distractions, and give in to resistance, while pros show up each day, focus on what's important, notice resistance and do the work anyway.This contrast doesn't just apply to work, it applies to other areas of our lives too.[Tweet "In everything we do, we have a choice: to do it as an amateur, or as a professional."]This isn't about the result of what it is we're doing, but about the process (as Steven points out, perfectionism is actually a sneaky form of resistance that gets in the way of showing up as a pro).What does showing up as a pro look like? Commitment, dedication, consistency, focus, being a creator rather than a victim, doing the best we can in that moment, even when the easier choice is to give in or give up.This applies just as much to self-care as it applies to anything else.Amateurs talk about doing self-care but they don't actually do it (or they think that self-care is for people who can't handle day-to-day life and need to "toughen up"). Even if they know on an intellectual level that it's the right thing to do, the amateur doesn't translate that knowledge into action until they reach breaking point. Amateurs get stuck in a cycle of breakdown and recovery, saying "I really need to start dedicating more time to self-care" and blaming external factors for why they're not doing that yet. Amateurs feel like they are victims of circumstance rather than creators of their own reality.Pros walk their talk; they know how important self-care is and they make sure they dedicate time to getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, and meeting their needs—even on the days they don't feel like it. Pros know the warning signs that crop up when they're feeling drained or stretched, and they do what they need to do to take care of their needs. Pros know that self-care is about setting boundaries with themselves and others, and they do this even when it feels uncomfortable.[Tweet "Pros feel like they are the creators of their own reality, rather than victims of circumstance."]Why this difference mattersA few years ago, I came face-to-face with the fact that I was an amateur when it came to self-care. I just did not take care of myself. As an amateur, I thought not having a single day off for three months in a row was something to be proud of. I forced myself to push on with listening to the signs that things weren't right. I rejected my needs—understandable, as I didn't know how to listen to them at the time—and tried to squeeze myself into boxes I thought I should fit into, rather than accepting and acknowledging the box I actually did fit.I had to learn this lesson over and over again. In many ways, I'm still learning it.And it's changed my life. I'm clearer on my priorities. I take better care of my physical and emotional well-being. I have clearer boundaries, and I'm fare more accepting of myself. This has enabled me to show up as the best version of myself, rather than a confused, toned-down shadow. It's helped my relationships, helped my business, and, most importantly, I enjoy life far more.So I encourage you to take a moment right now and ask yourself, gently and honestly: Am I approaching my self-care as a pro or as an amateur?If the answer is the latter, I invite you to join us for From Coping to Thriving: Six Weeks to Self-Care, Self-Compassion, and a healthier, happier you.This course will catapult you from amateur to pro status in the realm of taking care of yourself and your needs. By the end of our time together, you'll have a completely different perspective on self-care, and you'll know exactly what you need to do to show up as the best version of yourself in the world.As the pro knows, self-care isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.Registrations for From Coping to Thriving are now closed. Enter your email below to hear more about the next self-care course from Becoming Who You Are.Further reading: The secret ingredient that helps me thrive & self-care: an important reminderImage: Christian Widell