5 Ways to Survive Work With a Hangover

Whether you went out to happy hour with your co-workers, had a boozy dinner party with friends, or polished off that magnum bottle of wine by yourself faster than anticipated; being hungover on a weekday is the worst.  There are few things more unpleasant than waking up with the spins, a pounding headache, and dry mouth only to realize you have minutes to get out the door, get to your job, and try to be an adult.

As someone who has had their fair share of rough mornings, I’ve discovered five things you can do combat your lapse in judgement and survive the workday.

1. Take a shower

Do this before you leave for work…obviously.  This is something I swear by. Not only because you want to wash the makeup, smell of booze, and shame off of you, but because it feels awesome.  There’s something about a hungover shower that is so rejuvenating.  After my office Christmas party, I woke up with 5 minutes to get out of my apartment so I had to forgo my revitalizing shower.  I went to the gym on my lunch break that day not to sweat out the booze, but to stand in the shower for 30 minutes. It was amazing.

2. Eat something greasy and keep the fluids coming

If you normally stick to a healthy breakfast or lunch, throw all your fears of trans-fats, sugar, and gluten to the wind. Today, that double bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel is your friend.  Make sure to stock your desk with plenty of fluids – iced coffee (no matter what season it is), purple Vitamin Water, and plain old water should keep you hydrated and alert.  Just keep in mind that this may send a signal to some of your coworkers that you overindulged last night.  I got called out for being hungover at work when I showed up to a 30 minute meeting with a bottle of water, a massive cup of green tea, and a vitamin water.  Speaking of coworkers…

3. Stay away from anyone who can fire you 

Fortunately for me, I’ve seen my boss hungover more than once at work and there’s an unspoken understanding in our office.  After our summer party, only ⅓ of the office showed up to work the next day (who puts a party with an open bar on a Tuesday?). However, I have worked at other companies where it was frowned upon for employees to come in smelling like beer and to wear sunglasses all day.  During those days, I would eat lunch at my desk to avoid having to try to speak coherently with my boss in the lunchroom.  I would also walk in and exit with my headphones on to avoid any unwanted small talk.

4. Take a nap or go for a walk

I miss my car.  There was nothing like a 15 minute power nap to help me make it through the day.  Even if the admin did catch me and judge the hell out of me one time, it was still worth it.  If you have a car, I urge you take advantage of the luxurious back seat for a quick snooze to replenish your energy. Sadly, I take the subway to work now so that’s no longer an option. Instead, I walk around the city to jolt me awake.  Something about dodging men in suits glued to their iPhones and smelly homeless people recharges me like my former car naps did once upon a time.  The fresh air helps too…unless it’s summer.  If it’s 90 degrees inside stay inside and avoid windows. The sun is your enemy.

5. Learn from your mistakes

Showing up to work hungover is unprofessional and could cost you your job. If you work in a school, doctor’s office, or other job where your actions have a direct impact on other people, you should definitely drink in moderation during the week (save your bender for the weekend).  If you work in tech, however, save your weekday binge drinking for company events.  That way multiple people will be hungover and you can just blend into the crowd.  Also, drink plenty of water, take some ibuprofen, and remember that doing shots during the week is a terrible idea…even if your boss pays for them.

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