Ask A Death Doula #


Self Care For Doulas-and Everyone!

 Released: 04/27/2022

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Episode Show Notes

When you practice self-care, you are caring for everyone else. The better version of you – the healthier, the happier, the more vibrant you are – the better you will care in all areas of your life.

It’s so important. In this episode of Ask a Death Doula, I will share with you the vital importance of daily self care in all four bodies of energy. The time to implement self care is not when you feel stressed out, It is key to incorporate it ahead of time. Understanding what you need to nourish your beautiful being is easier than you think- and will make ALL the difference in the world in how you enjoy life every single day.

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. The Four Bodies of Energy [1:50] – You are composed of four bodies of energy within you. The Physical Body, The Mental Body (your analytical mind), The Emotional Body (feelings, traumas, etc.), and The Spiritual Body. These bodies of energy exist in equal parts. Working with those at the end of life has taught me everything about how to live and there is a spiritual body of energy that is an inner peace, inner knowing, higher consciousness that exists in each and every one of us – the problem is we don’t connect to it. We don’t practice strengthening it. But if you do recognize it and nurture it, your life will become much more joyful and in flow. It’s not a religion, but a spiritual connection to a higher frequency and energetic consciousness. It’s important to understand the four bodies of energies when talking about self-care because each one of those bodies of energy needs to be nourished individually and they have different needs. Being “in balance” is meeting the needs of all four bodies of energy.
  1. Balancing Stress Hormones [7:45] – We are living in a world where stress is dominates our lives. We are constantly bombarded by stress – through the television, social media, world events – it’s very intense. The energy, anger, and fear will affect us in many ways. Stress hormones kick out and cause inflammation in our bodies – they can be produced by your environment, your mental state, and by what you eat. Stress hormones were designed to protect us in an acute, immediate crisis, such as a car accident, to help us respond quickly and hopefully avoid danger or bodily harm in a situation. In our world today, we have a baseline of stress hormones circulating in our bodies constantly because we’re subjected to so much stress on so many levels. This can manifest itself in fatigue, aches and pains, and other symptoms that are detrimental to our well-being. But there’s good news – just being aware of this and having the ability to return yourself to homeostasis for even short periods of time is critical for your health. You can do this with simple habits: start your day with intention-setting and mindfulness through meditation and practicing gratitude. Walking in nature is another one of my favorite ways to ground myself. Deep breathing is also very effective. Use these to help mitigate all the stress you are under.
  1. Being Proactive [10:35] – The key to all of this is not to wait until you are experiencing negative symptoms to start your self-care practices. We have to try to prioritize these at all times. Life can get busy or in the way, but make sure to be aware of your stress levels before they climb to unmanageable levels.
  1. Daily Practice [11:24] – Focus on small things you can incorporate in your daily routine to keep homeostasis within your four bodies of energy so that you can have a buffer and hopefully never get to a place where stress overwhelms you and makes you feel sick. It will also allow your daily life to be so much more joyful. Think about making sure you hydrate yourself first thing in the morning and think of ways to make sure you’re getting greens and other nutritionally dense food sources into your diet. Making small changes and incorporating little things into your day will have really great benefits to your health and happiness over time. Developing good habits has a compounding ripple effect across all areas of your life. Start with something small that you can manage right now, and you will feel inspired to take that next step in the right direction. Having moments where you can sit in silence and connect to your spiritual self is incredibly important to do on a daily basis. Connect with yourself, with nature, with animals, with sending love to all people – these small things that feed your bodies of energy can and will make a huge difference in your life.
  1. The Four Body System [13:55] – There are two periods of the day that are wonderful times to expand your mind. The first is when you’re waking up in the morning. Before you jump out of bed, take a minute to slow down. Take this beautiful space from sleep to starting the day to practice self-care. We’re a little dreamy still and before you get going for the day, check in with yourself and take a few deep breaths. The other optimal time to do this is at night before bed when you’re winding down from the day. I recommend all Doulagivers practice “The Four Body System” – a practice that takes only 5 to 10 minutes each day. It is a way of connecting to your four bodies of energy and over time it will become second nature to you. Processing and releasing will put you into a place of flow – it will bring magic and miracles into your life. It is a beautiful place to be, and it is open to each and every one of us.


Physical Body – How am I feeling? What’s happening? Do I have any aches and pains anywhere? Is my body tired? Am I feeling dehydrated? Ask your body what it needs.

Mental Body – Am I stressed? Am I worried? Am I anxious? Really check in with yourself. You are the caretaker of you. Figure out how you can take time for yourself and organize your thoughts.

Emotional Body – How is my heart? I think all of our hearts are heavy at the moment watching and seeing what is going on in the world and knowing so many others are suffering. So, ask yourself how your heart is and what you need to heal emotionally – forgiveness is your greatest tool for this. Is there something you can be forgiven for or give forgiveness to someone else for?

Spiritual Body – Do I feel connected? Have I been committed to my practices? Strengthen your spiritual body by using gratitude, meditating for a few minutes, or connecting to the earth and mother nature.


Memorable Quotes:

  1. “Working with those at the end of life has taught me everything about how to live and there is a spiritual body of energy that is an inner peace, inner knowing, and higher consciousness that exists in each and every one of us – the problem is we don’t connect to it. We don’t practice strengthening it. But if you do recognize it and nurture it, your life will become much more joyful and in flow.” – Suzanne B. O’Brien RN


Resources: Get the FREE Death Doula Guide HERE

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xoxoxo Suzanne 

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Speaker 1 (00:03):

Hi everyone. And welcome to this episode of ask a death doula. My name is Suzanne O’Brien today. We have a great episode. It is called how to practice self care. Really. I wanted to title it how to practice self care for doulas because it’s so, so important. It’s actually mandatory that when you do this work as a doula giver, that you practice daily self-care I learn that the hard way. I am only sharing with you from experiences that I’ve had. And again, self-care is one that is not something that we partake in normally in the world. For some reason, we just don’t. But especially those of us who work in a space of serving and being empaths, we tend to put others first and self care is not selfish. It’s mandatory because, and I’ll show show, or you in a minute, how we are four bodies of energy and how you’ve got to take care of this physical body in all of its energies or else you’re going to burn out.

Speaker 1 (01:15):

You’re going to get sick, all of those type of things. So again, learned it the hard way myself as a hospice nurse. Um, and I’m sharing with you the tools that I have used and that I do use, but also that is a daily practice in something that with our doula givers, that we make sure that they are practicing that or they’re, you know, really held accountable to that, that if you’re going to do this work to be in balance, to be sustainable, you’ve got to make sure that you’re caring for yourself. So today, again, it’s how to practice self care. And let me first start out with a little overview of your holistic body. So you are four different bodies of energy within you. You’re a physical body, you’re a mental body. You’re analytical mind you, you are a emotional body. So your feelings, um, traumas, painful things, it’s, it all gets stored in there.

Speaker 1 (02:16):

And there’s just a whole bunch. We could talk about all this, but I I’m gonna do an overview for, for you. And you’re a spiritual body of energy and I’m not talking of religion. And I’m not saying to you that I need you to, you know, absolutely believe everything I’m saying. I will tell you that I fully believe everything that I’m saying, but I do wanna share with you about the spiritual body, because lots of us don’t know that there is one necessarily, and they’re all in equal parts. You, even though we think the physical body is kind of like the, the main and the most, cuz we see it, right, but there’s equal bodies of energy. What’s fascinating about working with those at the end of life, is that even when people had no attachment to a religion or to spirituality, the spiritual presence, the spiritual body of energy shows up at the end of life, no matter what.

Speaker 1 (03:11):

And for me the understanding from studying this and being with so many people at the end of life and, and it’s a science of the physics is that as the physical body is diminishing that part of us towards the end of life, the spiritual body is growing because that’s where the being is going to the next transition, the next world, whatever your belief system is. So it’s an energetic frequency. So whether, again, I’m not saying that you have to believe what I’m sharing, but I will tell you that working at the end of life has taught me everything about how to live. And there is a spiritual body of energy. That is an inner piece. That is an inner knowing that is a higher consciousness that each and every one of us has where we don’t connect to it. We don’t practice, we don’t strengthen it and it is a practice.

Speaker 1 (04:03):

But if you do know about it and you do nurture that part of you, I will tell you, your life will become much more joyful. And in flow, it’s not a religion I’m talking about. It’s a spiritual connection to a higher frequency and energetic consciousness. So this is just something that you can do right now today. Why it’s it important to understand that there’s four bodies of energy when you’re talking about self care is because each one of those bodies needs to be nourished individually and they have different needs. So they have different needs and they also will do different things for you. So when people talk about being in balance, right, being, being healthy and being in balance, it’s about this energy, it’s about the four bodies of energy, whether they are really clear on that or not. It’s about that awareness that all of them need different nutrients and different loving care.

Speaker 1 (05:00):

And then when we have that, we feel really grounded and in balance. So I wanna share with you that when I said earlier that I learned this the hard way when I was a hospice nurse, and again, you know, medical professionals are absolutely amazing what they’re doing out there, but it’s really a challenging, difficult world that we’re living in within that space because they have so many patients and they have so much documentation. And it’s just, I mean, self care was never talked about never a part of it ever. And I watched so many of my peers get sick and burnt out and all of that. So we hon we wanna honor all of the medical professionals out there, but when I was a hospice nurse and I had so many patients and I was running around and I would literally say this to myself, just like this, I’d say, well, they’re dying.

Speaker 1 (05:51):

You get to you later, cuz I would work over hours and I’d be, you know, riding around the middle of the night with the car. And I, you know, be worrying about people and on the phone because they can’t, we can’t go back and do this again. And I understood that, but I literally say, you know, I get warning signs, my body wasn’t feeling well or whatnot. And I was like, well, they’re dying. You get to you later. Okay. So we don’t want that. So what I wanna share with you is that because I feel out so strong in my, um, my mind and also cause the, the power of the mind is really, you know, so important obviously. And also my spiritual connection. I feel such a peace and connection to a much greater energy, which really brings me strength and, and just an enormous amount of purpose.

Speaker 1 (06:37):

I let the physical go. I pushed my physical. I ignored when my body was saying, Hey, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, isn’t working. And what you do is when you get a little nudge from the universe, from your body, whatever I call a universe, you know, these other kind of signs, little signal, little pain, little whatever’s happening. When you ignore it and push it away, it’ll give you a bigger sign and you ignore that. You it’ll give you a bigger sign. And if you ignore that, it’ll give you something that you can’t ignore, right. Something that puts you out. So I just wanna share with you again, the balance that we need in self care and how the important thing is not. When you get a sign it’s to incorporate self care every single day, again, you know, life gets busy, so you’re not gonna be able to maybe do it all the time.

Speaker 1 (07:33):

But if you have a routine for the most part of it, and you know, that that is important in a priority, then it really becomes second nature. So I want to share the four bodies of energy. The second thing is about stress. We are living in a world where stress is really dominant. All you have to do is turn on the TV. All you have to do is put on your computer and go on social media and the enter and the anger and all of it. The fear, whew. I mean, I just get, I get like, I get stress thinking about it. So that’s one part of stress. And then we’re dealing, you know, with global pandemic and watching our beautiful planet, having so many, any struggles and seeing injustices, it’s so intense, your stress hormones that kick out that’s inflammation can be caused by again, stress that you are in environment mental and also what you eat.

Speaker 1 (08:36):

So there’s a couple things to that, but our bodies were made to have stress hormones, kick out, to protect in an acute, in an immediate need. So, okay. So let’s give an example. Um, something’s going on, maybe you’re out and all of a sudden there’s like almost, um, some danger, like maybe even an accident and all of a sudden your body goes into stress mode so that you have this shoot of more energy and thinking clearly, and you can hopefully avoid something from happening. This, the body was made were stress, hormones would, you know, become available periodically right now in our world, we have a, a low humming, maybe not even so low or medium of stress hormones kicking out of our bodies all day long, all day long. And that’s causing fatigue. If you feel fatigue and aches and pains and just other things from happening because we are subjected so much stress on so many levels, but there’s good news.

Speaker 1 (09:40):

So just the awareness of that and being able to bring yourself back to homeostasis, even for short periods of time is critical. So how can you do that? You can do that really simply by doing a few things. Um, I start my day with a quiet it intention and meditation and going into, you know, my heart and just trying to empty out and, and sharing in gratitude, sharing in things that I’m grateful for and setting in intention of the day, really taking my energy back before I start my day to be grounded. Nature is another wonderful way walking in nature. Um, you know, just observing just deep breathing, just certain things like that. Again, they don’t take long, but they allow that body to go back to a place of low stress and homeostasis, which you’ve gotta combat. You’ve gotta find a way to mitigate all of the stress that we’re under.

Speaker 1 (10:32):

So knowing about the stress hormones and then number three, again, the importance of this is not to start practicing these when the symptoms are there. So for me, um, you know, sometimes again, if my neck gets tight or if I feel like I almost feel like my nervous system, like a low humming of it, like an inflammation of it, I go, oh, okay, hold on. Now, before it gets to a danger period, I start to do things. So I try and practice this all the time. But again, sometimes life gets intense and you we’ve gotta show up. Right. But then you’ve gotta say, okay, where am I in this before it gets too far? What do I need? Because you are the best doctor for you. You are the one who knows what’s going on in your body and what do you need? And you’re the only one they can give it to yourself.

Speaker 1 (11:20):

So that is number three is to do it before it gets too late. So, and then four is a daily practice. So small little things that you can incorporate in your day to keep that homeostasis. And those four bodies of energy will allow you to have this huge buffer that hopefully you never get to a place that it’s so out that you get. Unfortunately, you know, if we get sick or get to a place of that, but your life on a daily basis will be so much more joyful. I’ll give you an example. So I was having aches and pain, you know, listen, not young anymore. Right. And that’s, that’s okay. That’s a good thing. Um, but when traveling and, you know, eating on the road and doing all those kind of things, it doesn’t like really allow for that healthy, um, balanced diet as much.

Speaker 1 (12:04):

And so I could tell, like there was a lot of inflammation, joint pain, and that kind of thing. So started to incorporate again, a seven, the first thing in the morning, having warm water with lemon and with cayenne pepper, that’s one option. And I know some people might say what, Ugh, it’s really not bad at all, but it’s anti-inflammatory, and it really helps to get the digestive enzymes going, or you can do something like a green smoothie, um, something that again brings your body nutrition and an alkaline base and de inflammation. And it’s making a huge difference. Guys. It’s making a huge difference. So these little things that you can incorporate again on a daily basis, that really up your game, because if you think about it, if you start your day and you’re doing something that’s creating a beautiful atmosphere of, of low inflammation, and then you don’t have aches and pains.

Speaker 1 (12:57):

Well, gosh, you’re like, okay, what do I wanna do now? Maybe I wanna go for a run or maybe I wanna go for a walk or it’s just, it’s a ripple effect of wonderfulness. So we want to make sure that we’re incorporating those little things. Um, and again, a daily practice of maybe again, sitting quietly connecting to your spiritual side of, of whatever your belief system is, or even just that higher conscious presence for yourself of nature, with animals, with connection, to sending love to all people. It’s just these small things in these bodies of energy can be huge, can make a huge difference. I do. So I’m gonna share with you right now, a technique that I have come up with that is very simple. That is very easy that I teach my doulas to do again, checking in with yourself to see what you need in all four bodies of energy is absolutely a life changer.

Speaker 1 (13:54):

So, so in the Mor there’s two types of, uh, periods of the day that are really wonderful to be able to, again, kind of have that expansion of your mind. What is when you’re waking up in the morning, before you jump out of bed, I really ask you to slow down. I want you to take this beautiful, yummy space. It’s a beautiful space from going that nighttime place. And then entering the day of before. You know, I know, you know what I’m talking about when we’re waking up and it’s kind of like, okay, it’s a little dreamy still, but then we get into a complete state of, okay, we’re on, you know, you have your coffee and you think of a million things and you’re, you’re in go mode before you get to go mode before you jump out and think of the 10 things or maybe 20 that you have to do today, stop.

Speaker 1 (14:44):

And before you jump out of bed, take this time to check in with yourself, do a few deep breaths. And then what I say to my doulas is go into the four body system. And this can take five to 10 minutes physical body. How am I feeling what’s happening? Do I have any aches and pains anywhere? Is my body really tired? Is my body feeling dehydrated, whatever that may be check in with your body, ask your body what it needs. Oh, I need, and this happens to me recently. You need more vegetables. You need more nutrients. What you are eating. My love is not nutritious. It is not food. It is not feeding myselves. We’re not able to do our processes. We need more clean food and then give it to yourself. Water. I’m gonna gonna say across the board is always a yes. More water, more water, more water.

Speaker 1 (15:36):

So ask yourself physically, but do you need a nice hot bubble bath? Do you need, um, sleep? Do you need a hug? Yeah. These are the things we wanna check in with. So check in with your physical body, check in with your mental mind. Are you stressed? Probably the answer is yes. Do you feel like you have a million things to do? Are you worried? Are you anxious? What’s happening there really check in you are the caretaker of you. So when I do that, if, if it’s stressful and if there’s too much, how C how can I take time for me, but also then how I organize? So what I’ve I’ve done is, and this works for me personally. And I think it helps a lot of people is to pick the top three things that I need to do that day. If I’m really overloaded.

Speaker 1 (16:24):

And my list is so long, what are the top three things, just pick three and then get those done. And it really tends to get things in control, but I also take a time out for myself. If things are too, I say, let’s slow this down. What? Let’s slow this down and get back to again, that homeostasis emotionally, how is your heart? I mean, I think all of our hearts are very, very heavy watching the world, watching people, hearing about suffering, how is your heart and what do you you need? And I will share with you that forgiveness is the absolute best transformational tool for the emotional body of energy, where we hold on to regret, we hold on to guilt. We hold on anger. We hold on to shame all of it, all roads lead to forgiveness in the physical body. And let me just share with you that when we have an experience, it gets stuck, right?

Speaker 1 (17:21):

So a lot of times we, if we haven’t processed it, which a lot of times we don’t at the time because maybe we don’t have the tools we’re going through it. We’re in crisis mode, we’re young or whatever it may be. And that energy gets stored. That unforgiveness, that experience, it gets kind of put in this locked box, but it’s in there. And so when you check in with your heart, is there something I ask you this, is there something that you can be forgiven for? Or is there someone you want to give forgiveness to maybe just work with that and see what you can do to release some of that. And even forgiving the world, even forgiving people in leadership, powerful positions who are not doing the right thing or causing pain for others, we have to find forgiveness. We have to find in a way to create a better again, pathway so that we can be part of the change.

Speaker 1 (18:14):

So check in with your emotional body and then check in with your spiritual body. Do you feel connected? Are you not on your practice? Have you not been doing that? And again, strengthened that gratitude is a beautiful way. A few minutes of meditation connecting with the earth, connecting with mother nature, beautiful way. And again, these are just things that can take five to 10 minutes because you’re checking in with your four bodies of energy in the morning. And again, you can do this at night, um, and it will become second nature as a practice. You might have a heavy day check in at the end of the day, Hey, how is my heart doing? How am I doing? And then again, being able to process and read least if you get into that practice, I will tell you that you will start to be in a, a place of flow that will start to bring magic and miracles into your life.

Speaker 1 (19:01):

Because when you are flowing in a higher vibration of that energy, that is again gonna attract more of that to you. And it is, is a beautiful place and it is open to each and every one of us. So self care is so critical. And the other thing that I want to share is that self care is not selfish. I used to think that as well, can’t get to me. These people are dying. Of course, yes, that is true. But I needed to Inc and I needed to ask for help back then, but that’s a whole nother podcast. You know, I was trying to do everything myself. That’s okay. Self care. When you care for yourself, when you’re doing self care, you are caring for everyone else. Why? Because the better version of you, the healthier, the happier, the more vibrant, the better you care in all of your areas of life.

Speaker 1 (19:56):

So, so very important. And these things can be very, very quick. So again, today’s podcast was how to practice self care. And I gave you the method and technique of checking in with your four bodies of energy in the morning and at night. And you will see an incredible transformation. If you found this podcast helpful, please share this with your friends, with other people. Again, we are here to support and make this change for a better world for each and every person. And we’re doing it together. Thank you so much for being here. My name is Suzanne. I will see you in the next podcast. Thanks everyone.


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