The after-work drink is common practice. Every night, across the country, colleagues and co-workers escape the workplace to observe the habitual ritual of ‘taking the edge off’. But, whilst most of these meets will see last orders called after a leisurely pint or two, occasionally the quaffing gets out of hand, and a night out inexplicably develops.
As fun as the countless rounds, takeaway food and ill-advised chasers may feel the night before, by the time you wake up the next morning, with a banging headache and meagre three hours of sleep under your belt, you’ll rue that seventh scotch and soda. And, to make matters even worse, you went out on a weeknight – so that means it’s time for work.
There are few experiences as unpleasant as commuting into work with the ghosts of cocktails past hanging over your head. But, manage to make it to the relatively safe haven of, say, the office, and you’ll be home and dry. (Of course, you’re not actually home, where staying in bed would have been a viable and wonderful option – and with alcohol sweats, vomiting and uncontrollable weeping all very real possibilities, there’s a chance you might not even be dry.)
So how can you survive and, more importantly, how can you hide your hangover at work?
The first step to recovery is believing in yourself – which may, admittedly, feel difficult when your eyes are puffy, your mouth dry and your joints stiff. But push through and crank up the optimism. Refuse to believe you are ill, plaster a big smile across your face, and your hangover will start to melt away.
Don’t cancel meetings or stay sequestered away in your cubicle feeling sorry for yourself, as wallowing will only give way to more wallowing. Get out there, talk to people, and show that hangover who’s boss. (While on the subject of bosses, avoid yours. Throwing up half a night’s worth of craft beer on his highly-polished Oxfords may not set you on the best path for promotion.)
As powerful as your mind may be, it’s got nothing on aspirin. Dosing up is a sure fire way to salvage your day – so keep a handy stash of anti-inflammatories and precious painkillers in your desk to fight any symptoms.
But the best medicine is simple, clear, wonderful water. Drinking constantly will flush any toxins or remaining alcohol from your system and, if you position yourself by the water cooler all day, it will not only give you an endless supply of H20, but will also serve as a handy helper on which to lean if you’re feeling unsteady.
Don’t go overboard, but turning up to work looking slightly smarter than you usually do will detract from your gaunt complexion and frequent trips to the toilet. Tie a full Windsor knot rather than a half, run a comb through your hair a few extra times and wear your best-tailored threads. You don’t want to attract attention, but rather blend in – and these small touches will make a big difference.
Wear extra amounts of anti-perspirant, be generous with aftershave and carry strong mints or chewing gum at all times – the smell of alcohol has a nasty habit of rearing its poisonous head long after your last drink, so equip yourself to fight it with freshness.
Make use of your surroundings
When hungover, the office – or indeed any workplace – may feel like a prison. But the everyday items around the place can be adapted to help you escape the grim grip of the morning after.
Turn your computer brightness settings completely down and, if your eyes still feel sore, put a couple of teaspoons in the fridge for ten minutes and then press them onto your face to counteract swelling.
The coffee cup, however, is perhaps the most important weapon in your arsenal. Not only can it be filled, as it should be, with a life-giving latte or analeptic Americano, but the lid also gives you the opportunity to conceal any restorative drink you fancy. From Lucozade to dissolvable aspirin to chicken soup, make the most of your coffee cup, and keep a lid on your fixer elixir of choice.
You’ve already made a major mistake in getting apocalyptically drunk on a work night, so don’t stumble into any further sticky situations.
Whatever happens, don’t run to the toilet – people will know something is wrong. On the other hand, you should also try to avoid throwing up in waste paper bins, potted plants, or the industrial photocopier.
Sunglasses should be left at home. Nothing sends up a red flag like shades in the office. Also avoid the two-litre bottle of water, mouthwash on the desk and the excessive dabbing of sweat from your forehead.
Other than that it’s a race for the finish – coast through your conferences, power through your pow-wows and bolt for the door as soon as the clock ticks five. Above all, remember not to go out drinking on a work night ever again – or until next week, at least.