Workplace Antics

Going to Work Hungover And How To Get Through It

August 7, 2018

Going to Work Hungover And How To Get Through It

Before we get started, let’s hear a story from one of our users who went to work hungover:

“A slight throbbing in the temples, breath smelling of alcohol and hair greasier than what is workplace acceptable, I walked through the front door.

Oh – yes. I went to work hungover.

My sunglasses were propped on my forehead, McDonald’s bag clutched in my hand with nothing to lose. Topping it off, I was working with children- that was a curveball I did not foresee.

When you get called in unexpected into work on a Saturday morning, all bets are off on whether you can pull through. Have I essentially turned in my resignation?”

So, you got too drunk last night and now you have to work hungover?

If It’s Not Too Late, Prepare Before You Start

The best remedy for a hangover is to prepare before you even start drinking.

This preparation will help a lot, but it is not an end all be all cure for hangovers.

Start with a good and hearty meal prior to starting to drink.

Trust me, nothing will ruin your morning like ordering bar food for dinner.

Before you head out to drink, try making a home cooked meal instead of that gross bar food.

Make sure to incorporate whole grains. This choice will help prep your stomach with the tools to help soak up all that alcohol while you’re sleeping.

If you want to wake up on time in the morning, it would be a good idea to set your alarm before you go out.

Make sure to give yourself more time than you usually do.

Most likely you will be hitting snooze and moving slower than usual tomorrow morning.

Now that I think of it, maybe set two or three! 😉

Another lifesaver will be leaving out some water for yourself in the morning.

Trust me…

…you will thank you later!

When You Hit the Town

First and foremost, be smart with what you’re drinking.

Studies show that drinking clear alcohols can help limit the hangover that you wake up with.

That being said, try sticking to clear alcohols like:

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • White Rum
  • Tequila

Yes, the tequila made the list because it is actually the most healthy alcohol. Just don’t go overboard and end up dancing on a table or anything.

Again, make sure that you’re hydrating with water during the night.

Ordering yourself a vodka on the rocks does not count as hydrating.

Try pairing each alcoholic drink with a glass of good ol’ H2O.

Pair each alcoholic drink with a glass of good ol' H2O.

This will help you in two different ways

First, it will help you feel a little fuller. Maybe preventing you from feeling the need to order that last double vodka & tonic.

Secondly, it will help with dehydration.

The most significant cause of a hangover is dehydration.

That is why it is a great idea to cycle some water throughout the night.

A personal suggestion is Pedialyte. Yes, the child electrolyte drink! Gulp one of those down right before bed. Add in some carbs and you’ve prepped yourself nicely for the morning.

Again, by doing this, your hungover self will thank you greatly!!!

Okay, you’re at work hungover and need a solution ASAP?

Let’s be honest…

Many times you wake up with an unexpected hangover.

Like, you hit up taco Tuesday hoping not to drink and then downed two or three margaritas.

You aren’t necessarily proud of it, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world. Maybe you had a little work happy hour to celebrate a big company achievement, but you didn’t expect the celebration would last until the morning.

Now you wake up to the sound Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z with a pounding headache.

Find Companies With Enough PTO To Take The Day Off

Prepare Your Body

The first thing you should do is get a few glasses of water in you. If you prepared the night before, it would be sitting on your nightstand.

With just a few glasses down kiss that morning cottonmouth and horrible taste goodbye.

To help mask that horrible post drinking breath make sure to brush your teeth.

Trust me, there is no better sign of a hungover employee than the smell of vodka during a conversation.

When waking up with a hangover it might sound horrible, but getting your sweat on in the morning can help rid your body of toxins.

That is if you’re the workout type…

It doesn’t have to be a hard workout. Try jumping on an elliptical, going on a run, or even just an easy walk outside.

This will get your blood flowing throughout your body and the alcohol flowing out of your skin.

Even if you didn’t choose to get your sweat on…


Try making it a cold shower. It will help you wake up and will give you a new life.

The shower will also help take that alcohol stench off your skin.

If you skip a shower, you’re basically telling people:

“Hey, I had a really fun night and I am for sure not getting anything done this morning.”

Even though you might not smell anything, your office mate sure can.

Teammates smelling your alcohol from last night

Compensate with Style

Making a good first impression is one of the best ways to start your day.

Don’t reach for those yoga pants or wrinkled clothes.

Aim for an outfit that you have worn to work a few times that is pretty dressy.

Don’t pull off a Jim Halpert by wearing a tux to work, but make it nicer than usual.

Jim Halpert in a tux animating his career disappearing

The last thing you want is a coworker asking why you’re looking so nice.

Now you’re freaking out because “THEY’RE ONTO ME”!!

Whatever you do…

…don’t wear the same clothes you wore out the night before!

Nothing says “I am hungover” like radiating the stench of a bar at 8:00 am in the morning.

Another big sign of being hungover is wearing glasses when you NEVER wear glasses.

If you’re a person who usually wears contacts to work every day, don’t skip this step.

In a similar way, if you’re a woman who ALWAYS wears makeup to work, don’t skip this step either.

Find the Right Fuel

There was a time where the term “hair of the dog” was actually taken in a literal sense.

It actually stemmed from an old folk believe that if you were bitten by a rabid dog, you would be cured if you drank a potion brewed with some hairs from that same rabid dog.

Although it may be obvious now, this has no grounds in science.

And neither does the idea that drinking the same drink you drank the night before will rid you of a hangover.

Besides, there is only one thing worse than showing up to work hungover…

…but showing up to work buzzed at eight in the morning.

If you’re like me, when you’re hungover there is nothing better than greasy, cheesy, and fatty foods.

Sadly, this isn’t really a good idea.

There are much more effective things that you should be eating.

Eggs contain cysteine, which will help you metabolize all those harmful chemicals that you put into your body last night.

Some research suggests that vitamin C is a great way to help process alcohol a little quickly.

Many people, I included, swear by Pedialyte. Yep, the drink you thought was only for kids can help with your hangovers as well!

Next, we have something that many of you aren’t going to like hearing…

…coffee may actually do more harm for your hangover than good.

Although it may feel like it gives you the energy you need, coffee is still going to dehydrate you.

If you’ve got an upset stomach, try reaching for a Sprite or soda water.

Both will hydrate you while helping with that upset stomach.

With that fuel in your stomach for the day you need to head to work a little early!

Getting Through the Workday

Nothing is worse than showing up to work hungover AND late on the same day.

That is why you need to give yourself some extra time, especially if you’re moving a little slower.

If you take the bus to work, it will most likely be an interesting ride! (This is the point where you will probably start questioning if you’ve made a mistake in going to work hungover.)

screaming muppet on the bus to work hungover

A little trick is to get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way.

It will give you some fresh air into your system and hopefully will help suppress that nausea that you have after sitting on a bus with screaming kids.

The easiest way to get through the day is to listen to your body.

That doesn’t mean that you can just skip meetings or blow off deadlines because you don’t feel well.

Whatever you do, don’t vomit in your co-worker’s trash can!

Throughout the day you will start to feel better and better.

Therefore, plan to get done easier tasks in the morning and hold off on those big projects or proposals until you feel closer to 100%.

If you’re struggling so much that you are bobbing your head while sitting at your desk, be kind to yourself.

If that client meeting doesn’t need to happen today, consider pushing it to another day when you don’t have a pounding headache.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but being hungover can make you forget the small things.

The biggest thing is not to hide or be shy.

Although you might be able to work from home for a few hours in the morning, show up and engage with your co-workers face to face.

The Takeaway

Congrats! You made it through the day hungover at work.

Although you made it through just fine you need to think of the long-term effects.

Drinking can have many various consequences outside of the hangover.

Showing up to work hungover is usually grounds for a company to fire you.

The last thing we want is for this post to convince you that going to work hungover is an acceptable thing to be doing.

Therefore, don’t make this a nightly or even weekly thing.

As always, please be careful when drinking and remember to drink responsibly.

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This post was originally published on October 17, 2017. It was updated and republished on August 8, 2018.