How to function in the office when you’re hungover

One turned into three, a bottle turned into two, and now you are cursing the alarm clock that’s letting you know it’s time to, well, go to work. Hangovers happen to everyone, even the most well-intentioned of professionals. Especially as we age, our ability to handle copious amounts of booze lessens, making it essential to have recovery strategies. After all, calling in sick isn’t always an option, or even a luxury, if you have a limited vacation policy. For when you have to dial into that meeting or show face in the office, follow these tips from wellness experts to get to feeling better, stat:

Drink water like it’s your (other) job.

The main cause of why our brains feel foggy and our stomachs upset following night or drinking? Lack of water, according to celebrity chef and nutritionist Serena Poon. Though you can’t blame all of the symptoms on dehydration since some other factors are in play too, Poon says downing water like it’s your — ahem, other – a job is a great starting point for recovery. Her recommendation is to consume two liters of water before you head into the office and keep a full bottle by your desk that you can refill throughout the day. When you’re hungover, you can’t overdo it on the H20.


Give your boss a head’s up.

Most professionals try to disguise how they’re feeling from their managers while admitting the cold-hard truth to their colleagues. Is that the right approach? Maybe, maybe not, but if you have a healthy relationship with your boss, giving them a head’s up could be appreciated. As a yoga therapist, naturopath and author, Dr. Lynn Anderson explains, if you are engaged in work that may affect someone’s welfare or productivity, it illustrates responsibility by admitting you aren’t up to full capacity. “Everyone has an occasional excessive indulgence. Most bosses will give you some slack for an occasional indulgence,” she continues. “Just remember in life moderation is the key to balance and balance is the key to success. Be grateful and show appreciation. Your boss will be impressed with your maturity.”


Give yourself a self-massage.

Regardless of why you’re feeling less than stellar, most people will feel aches and pains throughout their bodies. This means in addition to a stomach and brain that’s underperforming, your muscles could feel tight, too. When this happens, you probably feel uncomfortable and lack motivation. To get everything running properly (or hey, at least somewhat, anyway), psychic medium Linda Lauren suggests giving yourself a head, neck and shoulder massage. “Bring an unscented herbal cream or lotion to work with you. During the workday, apply some cream and massage the areas where you feel pain,” she continues. “Stretch those areas to loosen them up so that you are releasing old energy.”


Consider downing some bone broth. 

While, sure, you probably crave a greasy burger or breakfast sandwich, these types of foods lack the nutrients your body needs to feel better. That’s why pharmacist and co-founder of Juicery Rx, Kimmy Stultz suggests bone broth as a better solution. This soup-like beverage boosts your immune system and restores much-needed electrolytes. “Alcohol also increases inflammation in the body, so similar to how you eat hot soup when you are sick, bone broth can have a similar soothing effect on a hangover,” she explains. “A cup of bone broth will much better heal your hangover along with all the other health benefits, including joint and gut health.”


Move your body.

When you’re constantly on the edge of nausea or you can’t shake the pounding sound in your head, the mere thought of working out can seem laughable. However, even simple movement can do wonders for your hangover symptoms, according to Poon. “Getting your heart pumping helps to increase overall blood flow, including to your liver and kidneys, important organs for detoxification, delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, and helps to carry away toxins from your detox organs,” she explains.


Since you probably won’t be game for a boot camp or treadmill class, Poon suggests doing gentle flow yoga from your home, or walking to your job if that’s an option. Once you arrive, prioritize movement throughout the day: walking around the block or office at lunch, and twisting in your chair to stimulate your anxious liver.

Avoid tasks that require major brainpower

Everyone has parts of their job they could do in their sleep — invoicing, filing emails, and so on. And everyone also has responsibilities that are a little more involved and detailed, requiring focus and concentration. Today is not the day for the latter work, but a great opportunity to get through mindless tasks you’ve been putting off. “This might be a good time to take care of basic housekeeping. Organize your desk and your workflow so that the next day at work you can work at top capacity,” Dr. Anderson explains. “This will demonstrate to your boss that you are grateful and responsible.”

Take these vitamins

In addition to water, giving your body a little extra hand in its daily function is a smart strategy too. But perhaps, your daily multi-vitamin isn’t quite enough. Rather, internal medicine doctor Dr. Christine Bishara, MD suggests three vital supplements:

-Magnesium (500 milligrams): “Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is helpful in energy production. If you’re depleted, your hangover will be more pronounced, so a dose of magnesium can help ease symptoms,” she explains. 

-Vitamin C (1,000 milligrams): “This is another potent antioxidant. It will help neutralize the free radicals produced from overconsumption of alcohol,” she raves. 

-Glutathione: “This one is not only good for prevention but when combined with increased hydration, it will help your liver detox more quickly and effectively.”

Breathe deeply.

As the solution for many ailments of the body and mind, focusing on your breath is an effective warrior against hangovers. Poon explains deep breathing exercises increase your oxygen intake, making you feel more energized and clear-minded. Furthermore, controlled breathing has been shown to increase cognitive function and preception. You can take it easy by following the 4-4-4 breath throughout your day. “Sit up tall in a chair with your spine straight and your feet grounded. Close or soften your eyes. Inhale deeply for four counts, hold the breath for four counts, and exhale for four counts. Continue this breathing pattern for up to 10 minutes,” she instructs.