Hungover at the office: how to get through the working day

Oct 28, 2021

4 mins

Hungover at the office: how to get through the working day
Marlène Moreira

Journaliste indépendante.

Let those who have never known a difficult day at the office after a night out pour the first shot… sorry, throw the first stone. Here’s how it goes. You spend a happy hour that lasts a little long, attend an overly boozy post-lockdown seminar, or simply enjoy a night out with friends that gets a bit out of hand. Then, before you know it, your alarm is ringing (way, way) too early and you have to go to work.

Your friends “Fatigue”, “Nausea” and “Headache” have popped up to remind you of the previous night’s antics. It’s going to be a very, very long day. So how do you manage to get by under these conditions? What tricks can you use? We’ve rounded up some testimonials and advice that should help you to cope.

Tactics for sobering up without getting caught

Have each others’ backs. The advantage of having happy hour drinks with your team is that (mostly) everyone is in the same boat the next day. That’s why Esteban and his colleagues bank on solidarity. “In the office, we have a sort of unspoken non-aggression pact with everyone who was out the night before,” he says. On rougher days, they agree to cancel meetings, using an emergency as an excuse, or cover for whoever needs to take a discreet nap in an office. “The day after ends up being just as much of a team-building exercise as the drinks together,” he says.

Fake your presence, then have a snooze. Luc, a web developer, has a tried and tested post-lockdown technique that he uses. “I know that some coworkers check to see if we’re ‘active’ on Teams. I once came across a forum where an American shared a tip: he hangs his mouse on the end of his fan and puts it in swivel mode,” he says. In his opinion, neither his coworkers nor his boss will think that anything is up. “Watch out,” he says. “The cord has to be short enough to move along with each movement of the fan.” He recommends this hack to all of those whose post-party nap is a question of survival. This particular tip obviously applies only to remote work. So try to make sure those drinks with coworkers happen on nights before a day when you will be working from home.

Work on something beforehand and pull it out of the bag at just the right time. Sarah, an IT consultant who is very familiar with rough Fridays, is often praised for her organizational skills. A quality that she also knows how to use when it comes to covering herself after a rough morning. “I often have administrative tasks to do, ones that aren’t urgent, but are both long and necessary, like doing my expense reports, or writing the final report on a completed project. Except, instead of sending it off right away, I keep it tucked away. And when I’m not in a fit state to do any work, I pretend to do admin and send that to my boss around noon, letting them think that’s what I’d been doing that morning,” she says. It might be a somewhat dishonest move, but it’s a terribly effective one.

Do grandma’s home cures really work?

No, this article will not hand you THE solution for getting over that monster hangover in the blink of an eye. Because realistically, there is no miracle cure. Once it’s there, the only real fix is patience. However, there are a few tricks that can help your body to get back on track.

“The only true cure is a bottle of water,” says Manon. She’s not wrong. Processing alcohol requires your body to work really hard and that leads to dehydration, decreased blood sugar and a loss of magnesium. So opt for electrolyte-rich drinks that will help you to recover faster such as coconut water or a sports drink.

An afternoon nap. For Antoine, there’s nothing like a nap on his lunch break. “At first, it was just for the rougher days,” he says. “Then it ended up normalizing it, and there are even a few coworkers who started doing it without the excuse of a hangover.” But be careful not to let the Sandman pull you into too deep of a sleep, says Dr Philippe Beaulieu, sleep doctor and author of Dormir sans Médocs ni Tisanes (Sleep without Pills or Herbal Teas). “When you nap too long during the day, especially if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, you can go through a small episode of slow deep sleep, where the brain is slowed down. It then needs time to get back into the right rhythm,” he says.

Light physical activity and healthy meals. But you already knew that, didn’t you? “If you have the energy for it, go for a walk or work out –– for the more athletic ones out there,” says Alexandra Dalu, nutritionist and anti-aging physician, in her book, Les 100 Idées Reçues qui vous Empêchent d’aller Bien (The 100 Preconceived Notions that will Keep you from Feeling Good). “A good walk will help get rid of any accumulated toxins more quickly. For lunch, you should eat a healthy meal –– vegetable soups, salads, raw vegetables, white meat or fish –– and continue to drink plenty of water.”

Has science found an actual, real-life solution? Yep, it has. Dr Jason Burke, a board-certified anesthesiologist from Duke University in North Carolina, opened a clinic in Las Vegas that promises to cure your hangover. Its programs include: intravenous vitamins, all sorts of medications and oxygen treatment. For a few hundred dollars (that makes for some expensive mojitos), Hangover Heaven claims to cure 99% of hangovers in half an hour. “We have basic packages for mild hangovers, and premium packages for severe hangovers,” according to the website. You just can’t stop progress.

What if, deep at its core, hangovers were actually good for you? In an opinion piece published in the Daily Telegraph, British journalist Graeme Archer argues that the feeling of uneasiness and guilt is crucial for limiting your alcohol consumption. But also, and above all else, it’s about knowing your own limits and avoiding any real damage to the body. So we’ll give (a tiny bit of) thanks for hangovers.

Translated by: Kalin Linsberg

Photo: WTTJ

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