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Life is truly uncertain now. There are all manners of social stress around us. Now, in March 2020 we well know the political challenges, the global COVID-19 crisis, and economic uncertainty which add to personal challenges of family, work, caring for others, and general health considerations. It is a lot. 

We work too hard, we do too much and our calendars are full. Our lives, indeed, may be unmanageable for many different reasons. This is STRESS.  When you have trouble discerning reality from being driven by emotions, that is STRESS. When you must make decisions every single moment about going to the store, maintaining face-to-face community with others or retreating from the closeness we enjoy with others, we face isolation and STRESS. These things can overwhelm the healthiest of beings. And mostly, we’re not all firing on all cylinders we’re not always healthy in all layers of our being. The physical, energetic, psycho/emotional, wise, and spiritual bodies may be out of balance, which spells STRESS.

While we may acknowledge the STRESS condition, we may just push through it. But there is are costs. You may suffer from a weakened immune system, feeling out of sorts, being short tempered, and feeling alone. What can you do when these costs feel overwhelming? Even in this time of “social distancing” (which can challenge mental wellbeing for some of us), there are things you can do.


Yes, you can still find exercise. While you may have to take a few days or weeks off from yoga studios or gyms, you can walk around outside, dance in your kitchen or try YouTube videos of new exercise forms. Just get moving, since physical movement is one major relief for depression.


Try new stuff! Learn new things and exercise your cognitive brain with novel ideas. Read a new genre of fiction, listen to non-fiction audiobooks or try reading e-books. Learn a new craft or art form. Why not work on the hobby project you have set aside? Learn a new language? Whatever you do, feed your brain.


While we may not get together face to face as often, be with your friends. See if you can go beyond a quick text and try a video call (reread NEW STUFF above). Stay in contact with people who support you, love you and lift you up. Please, don’t rely on social media alone for your connections. That choice may prove detrimental in the long run. For those of us who rely on our 12 Step, Refuge, or other recovery programs for our sanity, we have In The Rooms and other online resources to keep us in the right mind.


Yoga, meditation and focus on the right-now-nature of everything you do can become one way to relieve stress. Avoid forecasting the future or ruminating about the past. Be NOW, and breathe. Remember you can only breathe in the present; you can’t recover lost breath from the past, nor pre-breathe for the future. If you do nothing else, focus on the NOW of the breath.

The gift of wellness comes from awareness. Be aware that stress is not useful. It doesn’t make us faster, stronger, more aware, or “better.” As much as possible, keep in mind those four tools of addressing and redirecting your precious mind, body and spirit away from toxic stress.


Kyczy Hawk; author and E-RYT 500 Kyczy has been teaching recovery focused yoga classes since 2008. She is also an author having published several books combining the philosophy of yoga with recovery principles. Her most recent books are “Yogic Tools For Recovery; A Guide To Working The Steps” and its companion workbook. She is also the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” , “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” , and “From Burnout to Balance” as well as five recovery oriented word puzzle books.You can also join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 8am PT (11 am ET) on In The Rooms at the Yoga Recovery meeting. She currently holds online Y12SR meetings combining a full 45 minutes of all paths recovery meeting and 45 minutes of all levels yoga.It meets Sundays 4pm PDT (register at .) Kyczy is very proud of her family; husband, kids, and grandkids, all who amaze her in unique and wonderful ways. Join her mailing list for other information and links to free classes at


  1. I thank you for this email really needed during a time such as this!
    Thank you!

  2. Thank you so very much. Your words and clear thinking are so valuable. Big big thank you

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