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Taking Care of Yourself: Guidelines for Self-Care.

Regarding behavior, we can define self-care as all actions directed towards oneself. However, not all actions fulfill the task of self-care. Therefore, it is required to analyze through the function and not the concrete way this task is used.

For example:

If I exercise because I'm tired and need to relax, I engage in an activity that pleases me, I respect my signs of tiredness and I like how my body feels, it's a great example of self-care.

On the other hand, if I do it because I feel that there are parts of my body that I don't like, or to make my partner like me more and I push myself to exhaustion, exercise is no longer self-care but an obligation that borders on mistreatment.

In other words, the same action can be self-care or the opposite. To do this we must evaluate the consequences of my behaviors, if these actions generate a pleasant stimulus and the results are positive, the function is adequate. On the contrary, if the actions generate unpleasant or self-punishing stimuli, the results will probably be negative.

Here is another example.

If I spend three hours in the kitchen preparing the recipe I have seen on TV or to broaden my gastronomic horizons, it is self-care. If I do it because I'm afraid of disappointing the visitor or so that my partner won't complain that we always eat the same thing, it's complacency.

So how do you start taking care of yourself?

The important factor is to learn to identify one's own states, to know how to detect one's needs, and do something about them. Therefore, it is a sign of respect and empathy towards oneself. To do this we can follow this sequence of steps:

1. Discriminate: Signals that tell us when to do something. For example, the traffic lights that tell us when to cross the street.

2. Response: All the actions we perform in a given situation. Following the example, it would be to walk the other way.

3. Consequences: It is what happens after the action. For example, reaching my destination after crossing the street. However, consequences must be evaluated in their utility function.

In terms of self-care, we can illustrate the following example:

1. Discriminate: Feeling lonely or isolated.

2. Appropriate response: Meeting friends and colleagues to eat.

3. Positive consequence: Having a satisfying time in the company of pleasant people, in other words, I enjoy the results of my actions.

Thus, we can say that self-care is a need that emerges from contact with vulnerability. Likewise, all actions are directed towards oneself, but if my actions are guided by external mandates, it ceases to be self-care and becomes complacency or self-demand.

Finally, self-care is not concrete action. It is a way of doing things. Caring for oneself begins with self-care.

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