Managing Your Hangover at the Office

by Vault Careers | March 09, 2011

  • My Vault

It’s fast approaching St. Patrick’s Day, and the time to make your decision: Guinness-laden shenanigans vs. a clear head for work the next day. Let’s face it -- most of us will choose shenanigans. Unfortunately, this may mean a hangover that can rob you of your reputation as a professional and dependable employee.

That doesn’t mean you have to skip the fun, however. Throw on the green and enjoy the celebrations -- just make sure to follow these do’s and don’ts for nursing a hangover at the office.

DO Plan your work outfit the day before you plan on celebrating, so you look as meticulous as you always do – regardless of how you feel on the inside.

DO Plan your workload around an anticipated night of heavy drinking. If possible, take care of pressing matters beforehand. Also, tackle any items on your to-do list that require brainstorming, creativity and ingenuity beforehand – these are all qualities distinctly hampered by a hangover.

DO Try to avoid any conversations or meetings that could influence your standing in the company. The alcohol diminishes your cognitive skills, and you shouldn’t make too many important statements or decisions while mentally impaired.

DON’T Spend all day staring at your computer with lackluster eyes. No matter how nauseated and tired you feel, a hangover isn’t an acceptable reason to be operating below 100-percent. Plus, it’s unlikely your boss will accept an “I’m sick” excuse the day after St. Patrick’s Day.

DON’T Look for sympathy from your co-workers. While most of them probably share your pain, the office is not the appropriate location to discuss your off-hour celebrations, or the unfortunate side effects.

PLUS: Follow these tips to minimize the effects of a hangover:

Eat. Many party-goers will be tempted to down a full Irish breakfast before the sun comes up, but the wiser course of action is to eat a hearty and healthy dinner before your night begins. Focus on slow-release carbohydrates such as whole-wheat pasta to avoid a sugar crash.

Drink. Water, that is. The common theme for anyone indulging in several St. Patty’s pints is dehydration. Drink one glass of water between every alcoholic beverage. Continue to hydrate throughout the next day.

Burn off the alcohol. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), treating your hangover with food and drink containing fructose may help burn off the lingering alcohol faster. Try fruit juices and fruit shakes.

Keep eating. Make sure to eat both breakfast and lunch when you’re back to work. Don’t listen to those inner cravings for a greasy meal – stick to complex carbs in the form of toast, crackers and other bland foods such as soup.

Ease the pain. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be used judiciously, but avoid acetaminophen to avoid liver damage.

Rest. The effects of a hard night of drinking generally last up to 24 hours. To avoid another rough day at the office, go straight home and get plenty of rest when you leave work.

--Padmini Mangunta

Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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