Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Survive a Hangover at Work

You've woken up with your contacts glued to your eyes, a pounding headache, and your alarm reminds you to be on a conference call in an hour.   Hop in the shower, put on a little makeup, then rock your biggest sunglasses en route to the office.  Here’s how to survive a hangover at work:

1.       Drink Lots Of Water and Take Painkillers
Chances are you’re still dehydrated.  Your first step should be to grab a big glass of water and pack a water bottle in your bag.  Sip it slowly (especially if your stomach’s feeling rough), as chugging the water might hurt your tummy.  If you’re not nauseous, drink coconut water or an electrolyte enhanced sports drink.  A mild painkiller, like ibuprofen, will help with the headache.  You might also want to take something to settle your stomach.

2.      Vomit Discreetly
If the subway ride enhanced your nausea, head to the bathroom as soon as you arrive to the office.  Lock the door and run the water, so no one hears your coughing and gagging.   

3.      Eat
The thought of eating may make you want to vomit (and the smell of a breakfast burrito may actually make you puke) but plain food will help your body recover faster.  Try some dry bread, a toasted whole wheat bagel, or even saltines if you really think your stomach’s not up to much.  You may need to force it down, but you will feel better once it’s digested and has soaked up what’s left of last night’s vodka.

4.      Avoid Conflicts
Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid getting into arguments with your coworkers in general, but when you’re struggling with a hangover make an extra effort to avoid situations where you’re likely to overreact.  One of your colleagues has just said the stupidest thing ever about Obama?  Let it go.

5.      Go Slow and Steady
Even basic tasks can be a struggle when you’re hungover.  Don’t rush anything that isn’t a priority.  Even if you have a lot to get done, you’re going to lose more time by making mistakes that you have to fix another day than by taking your time in the first place.

6.      Avoid Clients
This might not always be an option, but if you don’t need to see or interact with clients, try not to.  You’re never going to look or sound your best when you have a pale complexion, bloodshot eyes, a tendency to forget what you were talking about mid-conversation, and a frequent yawn.

7.      Tackle Easy Tasks
If you have some choice over your work flow and duties go for some of the easier, routine jobs that you keep putting off, like organizing files or updating that boring excel document with contact info. 

8.      Take a Nap (if at all possible)
During your lunch break get your head down and take a nap.  Hail a cab home for a quick thirty minutes of shut eye or lock yourself in your office and let your assistant know you can’t take any calls for the next hour.

9.      Ask For Help
Even if you’re normally confident and independent about your work, you might make mistakes when you’re struggling with a hangover.  Ask a colleague to double check important documents for you and proof read any materials for clients or sponsors.

10.   Don’t Mention The Hangover
It’s almost surprising just how many people will tell colleagues “I’m so hungover today”.   Save that confession for your best girlfriend in the office, but not the whole row of cubicles down your hallway.  The last thing you want is for your CEO to hear about this, as office gossip spreads fast.  If anyone notices your absent stare or multiple trips to the bathroom to vomit, just mention you’ve been feeling under the weather for the past day or so and you just thought you were run down.  With the fear of catching your flu-like bug, you will most likely get sent home early.

How do you survive a hangover at work? xo


  1. I call out if i have the sick time.
    Luckily for me, when i come to work hungover to that extent its becuase i was drinking at a work function- so everyone is hung over. win win.

  2. Huge fluffy bagel and venti peppermint tea. Force them down my throat and I'm guaranteed to feel better in about an hour :)

  3. Can't you just hide in the podcast room? :)


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