Available for Interviews: Dr. Andrea Nazarenko
Dr. Andrea Nazarenko is a research psychologist with the Obesity Research Team and Social Development Research Group at the University of South Carolina. She also works as a community psychologist, providing consultation services to multiple governmental and educational organizations.
What Dr. Nazarenko can say in an interview on
How to Get the Energy We All Need:
Our energy is a product of our lifestyle. We get out what we put in. You can think about it like an energy ATM machine: you can’t take out more than what you put in.
Here are a few dimensions that can help support energy:
1) Diet: Our food is our fuel. Just like a car needs high-quality fuel to run, we need high-quality foods to stay energized. Eating whole foods (unprocessed, no added sugar, no artificial colors or flavors, etc.), whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, proteins, and healthy oils such as olive oil can support your energy levels.
Often, when people feel fatigued, they reach for sugary substances to feel energized. This actually works against long-term energy, however. Sugar leads to a spike in energy which crashes shortly after. It does not produce sustained energy throughout the day, and certainly not overtime.
Unfortunately, we eat more sugar now as a society than ever before. It is hiding in many products, even those marketed as “healthy.” Over the last few centuries, the average American has been estimated to eat about 1-2lbs of sugar per year to around 150lbs. That’s a humongous difference that our bodies are not accustomed to handle! In fact, our genetics haven’t changed fast enough overtime to handle this major lifestyle change. This means that the way we handle this sugary stress is by producing extra cortisol and insulin, which puts stress on the pancreas and adrenals and leads to fatigue.
2) Water: Drink more water! People often choose sugary or caffeine-based energy drinks and similar liquids to quench thirst. These drinks have the same effect as high sugar foods and can have pretty major health consequences (some of the ingredients are not even tested and are underregulated by the FDA).
Water on the other hand is essential for our health. If you feel fatigued, you may be dehydrated. Instead of grabbing more sugar, rehydrate with water. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.
3) Sleep: Sleep matters a lot for health. It is the time when our body recharges and heals. It is a necessary component of health. Yet, people often get into a negative cycle: Poor sleep –> exhaustion during the day –> high sugar foods and caffeine for an immediate fix –> diet reduces sleep –> repeat cycle. Breaking poor sleep cycles takes intentional effort. It is not something that can be fixed over (one) night!
Sleep hygiene starts in the daytime. How are you spending your day? How are you exerting energy? What is your bedtime routine like? Activities such as eating sugar before bed, staying up on your phone at night, having light in the room, or watching screens before bed can mess up sleep. Practices such as guided relaxation, meditation, prayer, or exercise during the day can support sleep.
4) Exercise: It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise can help fight fatigue. Our bodies are designed to move. Exercise gives your cells more energy and circulates oxygen, which helps your whole body function better. Exercising can also have an effect on your brain—e.g., increased endorphins and higher brain dopamine levels from exercise may help elevate mood, which in turn increases energy. A sedentary lifestyle can set a pattern of sluggishness and fatigue throughout the day.
5) Mindset & Stress: Our minds and bodies are connected. Maintaining a positive outlook on life and avoiding emotional stress can have a huge effect on energy. Stress has an impact on adrenal function (discussed below). When our adrenals are strained, our bodies feel fatigued. Supporting adrenals is a critical component to feeling energized. Stress can come in many forms—at work, home, social engagement, and any other obligations. Even seemingly fun activities can cause stress if your body is unable to rest. Try to remove or reduce toxic relationships from your life and streamline tasks to only the essentials. Recharge through self-care regularly. Relaxation therapies like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and tai chi are evidence-based strategies for reducing stress.
6) Drugs and Alcohol: Drugs—including OTC and prescribed medications—may affect energy levels and impact fatigue. Ensure that medications are medically necessary and aim to reduce pharmaceuticals that affect energy. Reduce alcohol consumption and avoid drugs. Talk to your holistic physician or chiropractor about the role of medications on energy and ways to safely address it.
7) Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic is not just about “back pain”; chiropractic is about realigning the spine so that the central nervous system functions optimally. It reduces interference between brain/body communication. When our central nervous system functions optimally, our bodies can heal faster, be more energized, and function better. Chiropractic supports overall holistic health by improving communication between brain and body and helping the body perform as designed. Energy is a byproduct of optimal functioning.
Dr. Andrea Nazarenko MA, MA, MAS, PhD
Author, When Food Hurts: 4 Steps to a Gut-Happy Lifestyle: Overcome Food Sensitivities, Eczema, ADHD, Autism, Digestive Problems, Depression, Anxiety, Brain Fog, Fatigue, Autoimmunity, and Chronic Disease.
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.