Stress and COVID-19

Wow! If there was ever a more stressful time than right now, I can’t remember it. And I was working in Queens in New York City during September 11th.

There have been a multitude of thoughts running through my mind since the COVID-19 situation started. I am worried about my family in New York, my wife and daughter here in Oahu, the ‘Ekahi Health staff and our clinics, and especially the people that we help every day. All of these thoughts can be summed up as stress.

Stress is an ancient response called the fight or flight response that was meant to help us get away from or destroy a stressor – usually something that was going to eat us. In modern Western life, stress usually comes from our spouse, children, or other family members, paying bills, deadlines at work. The stressors never go away. The COVID-19 situation is a massively huge stressor that we don’t know when will go away. Stress causes hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to increase. Those hormones increase breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, while suppressing things like our digestion and immune system.


Naoko Page, stress management specialist, and Ali Guard, nurse case manager, lead a virtual stress management session via Zoom.

At this most critical time to have our immune systems in the best shape ever, our stress is actually working against us. So – how can ‘Ekahi Health help at this moment? We help hundreds of people every week to change the way they respond to stress at our clinic in Kaka‘ako. To continue to help people though the COVID-19 situation we transformed our ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Management program and our ‘Ekahi Diabetes Management Program to virtual in just hours.

The move to virtual telehealth delivery of our programs will keep us helping hundreds of people to manage stress better, exercise safely, feel better connected, eat healthier meals, and reverse the effects of heart disease and diabetes. If we can manage stress, we can lower cortisol, and thus boost our immune systems all while lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose. Now may be the best time to contact us to get started. We can now help you in the comfort of your home, virtually through telehealth, no matter where you live.

All of us at ‘Ekahi Health wish to be a beacon of hope for our community, and to continue to help as many people across Hawaii as we can. We will get through this together.

For more information call us at 777-4000 or click ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine or ‘Ekahi Diabetes Management Program. Call 777-4001 or click Central Medical Clinic for more information on our primary care physicians, team-based care, pediatricians, gynecologists, and surgeons on the Kuakini campus.