How To Handle A Hangover At Work

Being a grown-up is hard. Somehow, you have to wake up every morning, put on clean clothes that aren’t sweatpants and go to work, where you have to behave appropriately all day (read: not sit cross-legged on the floor). On top of that, there are all these rules and practices that govern proper adult behavior. All of this is hard enough to keep track of when you’re clear-headed and well rested. But what about when you forget to limit your debauchery to the weekends? Birthday dinners and tempting after-work drinks have a tendency to pop-up during the week, leaving you face-to-face the following morning with the dreaded workday hangover.

When I was young and spry, those three whole years ago, I could wake up after a night of drinking, chug a glass of water and pull myself together for the day. These days, if I wake up hungover, I have to look in the mirror a few times before I’m absolutely certain I’m not a sewer rat. My eyeballs feel like they are coated in Elmer’s glue and my brain may as well be inside a vacuum-sealed Ziploc. On these mornings, my older sister reviews my appearance with an all-encompassing “oof.”

While there are many different ways of combatting the hangover itself, the real struggle is how to get through a day at the office in such a weakened physical state without incurring the wrath of your coworkers — or worse your boss. Your plan of attack begins with a piping hot shower. It is crucial to wash off the smell of last night; smokey cigarette hair and tequila seeping from your pores will blow your cover the second you walk, shakily, through the door of your office. Showering will also restore a human-like quality to your face, which is important. Your next step is to take an aspirin and drink a full glass of water; this should be your first glass of a billion throughout the day.

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Your outfit obviously depends on the dress code of your particular office. In more relaxed workplaces, it’s easier to say “screw it” and throw on a t-shirt, but that will only invite questioning as to why you look a little rough around the edges. The key to today is flying under the radar: find yourself an outfit that is comfortable enough but still in line with your normal attire. You should probably have some more water. It’s also crucial that you eat breakfast. Although there isn’t any actual proof that a greasy breakfast will help cure your hangover, I personally have never been harmed by the morning-after consumption of a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. If you’re a coffee drinker, grab the nearest iced latte: coffee will help wake you up and prevent a grueling caffeine withdrawal headache.

The success of this whole operation, though, hinges on how you act at the office. Resist the urge to recount your wild night to your work friends over Gchat.. And do not, under any circumstance, mention your hungover state to your superiors. Nobody thinks you’re a teetotaling saint, and odds are they’re onto you anyway, but acting as professional as possible shows them you don’t value your social life over your career. Keep your head down, get as much work done as you can, and do your best to avoid any high pressure situations (no salary negotiations with your boss, please). Also, keep drinking water.

Try to head home as early as possible. Make sure you have plenty more water and get a good night’s rest. Or, if it’s Friday take a nap and go out again — it’s not like you have work tomorrow.