Sure, partying on a weeknight isn’t exactly the best idea, but sometimes it’s easy to down a few too many beers during poker night or a big game on TV. But when your alarm dings the next morning, you’re in for a harsh reality check. “You can’t undo a hangover, but what you can do is treat the symptoms,” says Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian and food, fitness, and nutrition consultant. Try these tips to make your morning less miserable and hide your condition from your coworkers.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your pounding head and sluggishness are largely caused by alcohol’s dehydrating effects. Drink a big glass of water as soon as you get out of bed. Once you’re at work, grab a big cup, fill it with water, and drink through a straw. It’s easier to take in plenty of fluid when you don’t have to fuss with a water bottle lid, Mangieri says. If you’re too nauseated to eat solid foods, sip a smoothie, tea latte, or bowl of soup when you feel hungry so that you consume both fluid and nutrients.
“If you can fit in a morning workout, even if you feel like crap, it can help,” Mangieri says. Exercise increases your body’s release of endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce the amount of pain you feel. If you walk into work smiling and headache-free, you might be less likely to catch negative attention from your coworkers.
Eat a balanced breakfast
You’re probably craving something along the lines of a bacon, egg, and cheese burrito, but a greasy meal could make you look and feel worse. A balanced breakfast with protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates is a better breakfast to refuel your body. “Try to opt for an omelet with whole grain toast and sliced avocado, or a lean burger on a whole grain bun with all the veggies,” says Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT of ShawSimpleSwaps.com.
Don’t skimp on your shower
You might be tempted to rush through your morning routine, but taking a shower is key. Your face might look puffy as result of dehydration and your body’s attempts to conserve fluid, and that puffiness creates shadows that exacerbate any existing dark undereye circles, says Anthony Benedetto, DO, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. In the shower, gently rub and massage your face to move your muscles and stimulate blood flow. “Just waking up and getting back to moving the muscles in your face will get the fluid, the lymph, moving and out of the surface of the skin,” he says. Then, scrub down your body to remove sweat, which can contain evidence of your hangover: the odor of alcohol and additives that flavor booze. Bring some fragrance-free baby wipes and keep them in your desk drawer to wipe off sweat during the workday.
Squeeze in some eye drops
Your eyes are bloodshot, and you can’t stand the sight of your desk lamp. That’s because the alcohol you drank is breaking down the fatty layer of your tear film, which your eyes produce to stay moisturized and keep your vision crisp, says Ahmad A. Aref M.D., MBA, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois. “Lubricating eye drops can help to replenish the tear film,” he said. Pick up preservative-free lubricating drops, not eye decongestant drops, which can worsen redness in the long run. For more relief, run a towel under lukewarm water and place it over your closed eyes for 10 minutes to help the oil glands under your eyelids release more protective fats.
Be smart on social
Sure, you should delete Instagram evidence from last night, but it’s better if there’s none there to begin with. During your night out, give your designated driver your phone or remove social media apps from your phone until morning, suggests Fi Birch, founder of Pro Athlete Online, a firm that helps athletes manage their social media presence. Deleting your apps obviously stops you from posting but also halts notifications that could otherwise entice you to like or share content. “Important: Before you remove an app, set up some permissions to reduce what others can do with content already out there, or tagging you in new content,” says Birch. That way you won’t wake up to a morning surprise that your boss can also see.
One more thing: “The best way to deal with a hangover is to prevent it,” says Mangieri. Next time you plan to party, eat a big meal beforehand so your stomach is full before alcohol ever hits it, and double fist–one cup of water for every alcoholic beverage–so you stay hydrated, she says.