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How to Survive a Hangover at Work

In spite of your vows to never go out drinking on a weeknight again, you’ve once more done the deed. Now, you’re facing a long, excruciating day at work with your head pounding and your body aching. When calling in sick for a "self-induced illness" is not an option, you have to find a way to make it through. Water is good for you on any given day, so it goes without saying that water is good for you when you are hungover.  Water and coffee are always part of the equation, but you’ll need more than that. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you out in your day of need.

See Also: How to Answer "Do You Smoke or Drink Alcohol?"

1. Prep for the Onslaught

Chances are your plans to go out started sometime during the workday, with texts or messages passed between friends, deciding on just the right spot. If you know you’re headed out for the night, why not throw yourself a bone and go through some work tasks that you know you won’t be able to cope with the next day (I assume you knew the moment you started making plans, that you’d be coming to the office with a massive hangover the following day). If your job consists of busy work mixed in with customer interactions or work that takes a lot of insight and forethought, try to get those tougher tasks done the day before you go out. With that work out of the way, it will be easier to cruise and do the busy work when you’re feeling poorly. If on the other hand, you hadn’t planned to go out when you were still at work, it would be best if you pushed your tougher tasks to another day -though that’s going to require more diligence on your part later on. The best-case scenario, if you can swing it, is to prep for the onslaught ahead of time, and then reward yourself with that wild night of getting messy drunk.  

2. Have a Cure on Hand

Girl with Coffee
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If enduring the work day after a long night is a regular thing for you, then you’d do well to have your desk stocked with all of the things you’ll need to make your day more comfortable. Everyone has their own personal hangover cure. For some people, it’s a load of sugary snacks mixed in with fatty foods. For others, it’s a cocktail of pain relievers and energy drinks. Whatever it is for you, try to keep a good supply on hand. If you didn’t plan that far ahead, get what you need before you go out, so that you don’t have to make an extra stop on the way to work. That’s quality time you could be using to sleep. 

You can also prepare to combat that awful feeling by setting your alarm for an hour or two before you actually need to wake up, and taking a pain reliever with lots of water. Then let yourself float back to sleep for a while, resting assured that when you wake up, you won’t feel quite as bad as you could have. 

3. Get up Earlier Than you Want to

And speaking of sleeping, don’t make the mistake of choosing to sleep just a wee bit longer. Those extra few minutes of sleep aren’t going to make all that much difference, and it could be time you use to drink an extra cup of coffee, go for a brisk walk or do something else that will help you revive yourself. First impressions die hard, and if you walk into the office looking like a raggedy childhood doll, you’re going to raise some eyebrows.

4. Chew Gum

You probably brushed your teeth to get rid of that beer-soaked breath, but you’ll need to go a bit further when you’re hungover at work. Chew gum, suck down breath mints, or use some other trusted method to cover up your breath, just in case. 

5. Treat Yourself to Greasy Food

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Start the day off with a breakfast that’s going to stick to your ribs. Once again, this may require some pre-planning to ensure that you have plenty of eggs, bacon and other fatty foods around the house to cook in the morning. (If you’re worried about your waistline, you shouldn’t have been drinking the night before, partner.) Suck it up and get up with enough time to eat that greasy, yummy concoction.

Do the same thing at lunch. Now’s not the time to try to impress your coworkers with your prowess at making the perfect low-cal salad. Your mission right now is to make it through the day, and that means eating pizza, burgers, Thai food, Teriyaki or any other type of cuisine that mixes fatty goodness with a dose of sweetness. Plus, it will give you something to look forward to when you are in the throes of that morning meeting you couldn’t get out of.

6. Don't Go out With Your Coworkers

If you go out with your coworkers and you all get seriously wasted, there’s no getting around the fact that everyone at the office is going to find out. The idea here is to keep the situation as private as possible -and commiserating with your other hungover coworkers is not going to win you any points among the higher-ups. What’s more, you need a life beyond work. If it’s work that’s causing you to go out and get drunk and then suffer a work day hangover, it may be time to re-evaluate whether that’s the right job for you.

7. Keep Emotions in Check

When people are hungover, they tend to be more emotional and have less willpower than they’d otherwise have. That’s fine when you’re choosing the fatty lunch that will help you make it to 5 pm, but it could get you in trouble if you’re having an intense moment with a coworker, or worse, with your boss. Remember that you’re not exactly in your right mind right now, and that you may regret any petty or unwise statements you choose to make. Your mantra for the day should be to "keep yourself in check," and not to seek out any intense situations, deal with any major issues (if you can help it) or otherwise engage in any serious dialogue upon which your career can depend. If you do have to handle something serious, make a concerted effort to think before you speak, and to remember that everything may appear much more manageable when the next day dawns and you’re not hungover anymore. 

See Also5 Ways to Have Fun without Alcohol

Even with all of these tips employed, the plain fact is that time may be the only thing that is going to help you feel better. While you’re waiting for the work day to end so that you can retreat to your bed and your pajamas, do your best to lie low, avoid any major outbursts, and pamper yourself. And you’re not going to do this EVER again, right? Riiiiight... 

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