Longtime friends Amy Honey and Daydree Horner found themselves leaning on each other while coping with the collective existential angst that many are feeling this year.

It’s since led to their co-launching a business.

“I was gaining weight while sitting here on the couch and mortified by the death of George Floyd and all the racial unrest,” Horner, of Santa Monica, Calif., said. “I couldn’t believe we couldn’t go out and do certain things, and all of my exercise was outside, most of it.”

The former dancer tried pre-recorded fitness routines, but something was missing.

“Of course there are virtual people and the mirror and Peloton bikes, but that just wasn’t really doing it for me,” she recounted. “My Truth Jeans, they’re the jeans that you've had for a very long time, and any time you gain weight or you lose weight, they tell you the truth. I couldn’t get into my Truth Jeans anymore.”

Meanwhile, Honey, a certified fitness trainer who lives in the Roaring Fork Valley, had moved her business model to an online one to adjust to COVID-19. But rather than pre-record her routines, she held her virtual classes live, in real time. It was a game changer for Horner.

“I’m staring at her, she’s checking in with that great Amy smile,” Horner said. “The whole class is there, and I thought, ‘OK. This is why this is different.’”

But while Honey was maintaining her business and physicality, she was still struggling.

“On my end, we have three little ones, and I was just kind of Stressed Out Mom dealing with school closing down,” she said. “And of course, also, George Floyd being murdered and unrest and what is going on in our country, and I’m raising these kids and for what world? Just navigating all the COVID stress and the national stress, politics.”

That’s when her friend of 20 years reminded her to breathe.

“Everything was so intense, and Daydree, who is an amazing coach, said to me, ‘Amy, as your coach — I’m going to put my coach hat on — and tell you that you really need to meditate, and just take 10 minutes a day,” Honey said. “You’re in touch with your body, but you’ve got to get still and take those deep breaths and meditate, and it’s going to help you.”

It did. It does.

And it created an “ah-ha” moment for the two women. Both coaches in complementary arenas — Honey in physical fitness and Horner in reiki, relationships and meditation — they realized their combined specializations could offer the kind of help seemingly customized for dealing with the stresses that come with living through a pandemic.

They launched DnA Wellness this month. Clients are onboarded through an initial eight-session program and can then subscribe for ongoing services. That’s the business model, but Honey and Horner emphasized that they strive for their clients to view those services more as relationships and connection — they want the experience to be far more personal than simply getting nutrition and fitness tips.

“That connection, that is what people are mainly missing,” Horner said. “And that’s why we added the cooking component. Think about cooking and eating; it creates community and connection. There’s nothing that says love like food.”

Honey is a vegetarian who loves to bake, and Horner enjoys cooking dishes of all varieties, so again, the two complement each other well in what they can offer clients regarding nutrition.

“I’ve found it allows us to really customize things, which is kind of our other big concept with this,” Honey said. “Someone might be a super beginning cook, and Daydree can help them sharpen some skills. Or someone may be a fantastic cook, and just [looking for] tips.”

The same is true for her fitness coaching, she continued.

“I can run the gamut, from [the] younger athlete who wants to do super intense workouts to an older client or someone who is recovering,” Honey said. “I love working with older adults, in person and online, because I feel like, a lot of time, in fitness, they get left out. Also, here in the Roaring Fork Valley, it’s a pretty intense place to be. A lot of people are just at a high athletic level, but there’s also a lot of people who just need some support right where they are who sometimes are older or are intimidated by gym classes because they move too fast or whatever.”

Horner said that it was almost counterintuitive how well her reiki and energy work translated to an online platform. Additionally, given the added pressure on couples whose work lives have maybe shifted to based out of the home, her relationship counseling seems more relevant than ever.

“It’s really about full-body wellness,” she said of the new business. “It’s not enough just to work out all the time; it’s not enough to just sit around and meditate; and it’s not enough to sit around cooking.”

Honey agreed.

“It’d be a good idea any time, but it’s a really good idea at this time,” she said.

Megan Tackett is a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at megan@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @MeganTackett10.