Okay, so we know that getting hangover-inducing drunk to get through Election Day isn’t the healthiest coping mechanism. But if you’re gonna do it, you’re gonna do it, and the least we can do is give you some hangover tips for making the fallout slightly less miserable. One thing I’ve learned—especially as I get older and my hangovers get worse, even when I’m not drinking that much—is that planning for your hangover like a dang adult can go a long way. Not in a “take this magic supplement that promises to cure your hangover” way, since those “hangover tips” don’t work, but by thinking ahead about what you’ll likely need and want when you’re suffering through a hangover from hell.
If you sense a hangover in your future, here are a few steps you can take ahead of time to make your hungover life a little easier.
1. Keep water and a pain-reliever on your nightstand.
First things first, you’re going to want to fast-track the pain relief, so make things easier on yourself by having everything you need at the ready. No getting out of bed required.
2. Stock your fridge.
If you’ve ever woken up nightmarishly hungover with nothing to eat and no patience to wait for delivery, you don’t need me to tell you the importance of thinking ahead here. On top of easy-to-make foods (microwaveable breakfast sandwiches, anyone?), remember drinks, too. Not to be a parody, but my go-to hangover drink of blue Gatorade has never failed me. Make sure you have your version at the ready, too.
3. Rearrange your workload the next day.
It might not be possible to take the whole next day off of work (but if it is, hey, you might want to consider it), but in the very least, see if you can make room for a sluggish morning. Push that meeting to later in the day, double-check that you haven’t planned to do work on an important project, or even consider whether your Zoom call can be a phone call instead. Just in case you don’t feel like being on camera.
4. Clean up your environment.
I don’t know about you, but for me, there is nothing worse than feeling gross and having to deal with a gross apartment on top of it. On the flip side, a clean and cozy environment lessens the sting of whatever I’m dealing with, be it a hangover, a nasty flu, a depressive episode, or anything where I’m not feeling my best. With all the stress leading up to the election, I know the last thing you probably want to do is clean, but, hey, future you will thank you. It might even be a good distraction on top of it.
5. And prep some clean, comfy PJs (and maybe an eye mask).
Similarly, when you wake up with a hangover, don’t underestimate the ritual of a long shower and changing out of your sleep PJs to something clean (but still comfortable). It’s like shedding your miserable hangover skin. As for an eye mask, listen. Do you really want to wake up the morning after the election with the sun coming through your window and ripping you from sleep a moment before you absolutely have to? Nope. Nope, you do not. Check out these eye mask recs.
6. Charge your devices.
This is for everyone whose go-to hangover plan is to curl up in a blanket burrito and watch comfort TV on your laptop or phone in bed. Make sure your devices are charged!!! Sure, you’ll have to plug back in eventually if you’re stuck in bed long enough, but at least you’ll have plenty of battery for that first miserable stretch when you don’t want to have to position yourself near an outlet.
7. Line up some self-care for the mental health side of things.
Mental and physical health are pretty connected, and you probably know that when you physically feel like crap, you probably don’t feel great mentally, either. More than that, though, drinking specifically can make our mental health tank the next day—especially if we were drinking to numb out some tough emotions (like election night feelings) that we’ll have to deal with eventually. Hello, hangover anxiety.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but plan to practice it in some capacity. Download a meditation app, make sure your fluffiest towels are clean for that long, soothing shower, think about who you’ll be able to text to talk about your feelings…it’s all about what you think you’ll need. This guide to a post-election self-care plan might be helpful, too. Even reminding yourself that you might have an emotion crash as part of your hangover so it doesn’t catch you off guard is helpful. Above all, just plan to be gentle with yourself. Hangovers are no picnic and hangovers in 2020 are a special kind of beast.