How To Survive Being Hungover At Work

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Had a few too many last night. Being hungover at work is about as close to hell as I want to get, so I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. My brain is moving at a snail’s pace, my heart is about to explode out of my chest from anxiety and I’ve now taken two trips to the bathroom to evacuate my tortured bowels.

Sound like you? I’m here to help. Managing and disguising your hangover at work is perhaps the greatest challenge you will face in your young professional life, but I’m going to do my best to make sure you’re not riding the struggle bus all the way to a pink slip. I’m just here to answer the questions you’re afraid to ask. Nursing a hangover at work isn’t as simple as plopping yourself on the couch with a bottle of Pedialyte and season four of “Breaking Bad.” Nope. You’ve got to make it through at least nine hours of a commute, work and dealing with a cruel, unsympathetic world.

Pound Advil

It’s standard operating procedure after having a bit too much to drink, but you cannot take too much Advil, literally. You can’t overdose on it, and the worst that can happen is a slight chance of indigestion, but you already have that. You can take up to 10 Advil in 24 hours. I’ve taken up to six at once. It’s a helluva drug.


You’re probably running late, but it doesn’t matter. You need McGriddles, pronto. Your blood sugar is low, you need protein. The best way to replenish yourself is with meat, cheese and egg stuffed between two pieces of pancake miracle bread.


Hunker down and relieve yourself in the quiet of a bathroom stall. It’s my firm belief that a good #2 is one of the first keys in vanquishing your hangover. The toxins from last night are being reabsorbed into your body in the form of Bud Mud (aka “beer shits”) and you need to purge your body of any remaining grime from last night’s transgressions. Answer some emails so it looks as if you are present and attentive and then sit upon your throne until you’ve shat it all out.

Healthy Lunch

Do NOT stuff your face with McDonalds or Taco Bell again. You already did that for breakfast, and double dipping the double arches is going to leave you feeling like human garbage. Stuffing your face with grease is fun when you’ve resigned yourself to a 2pm bed lunch and you don’t have to put up the guise of being 100%. Shoveling down two Chalupas and a Cheesy Gordita Crunch will give you away faster than vomiting at your desk. You need nutrients. A “square meal,” if you will. Lean protein, veggies, fruit and grains. Hit the grocery store and build yourself a sensible, lean, nutritious lunch. Your afternoon will go much smoother and your body will thank you by feeling less hungover. Resist temptation.

Car Nap

Coffee is only going to make you feel worse in the long run and a caffeine crash is the last thing you need right now. The biological benefits of a nap are well-documented and the lack of a designated nap time during the workday is one of America’s greatest flaws. Find a nice, quiet spot in the back of your parking garage and set an alarm. You get an hour for lunch. Take 30 to eat lunch, then take the other 30 to siesta. If you happen to oversleep in your car, just say you were taking a personal call and had to step out for a few minutes. 30 minutes of sleep with the gentle breeze of your car’s AC dancing across your face and you’ll be refreshed for the final stretch of the work day.

That 2:30 Feeling

It’s unavoidable. You’ve got roughly three hours to go and you’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, you took my advice of taking a car nap. I get it, you might not have enough time to get to it or you just couldn’t fall asleep. Caffeine might send you spiraling into an unmanageable panic attack, so what do you do? Drink more water. Yep. Just when you think you can’t power it down anymore, fight through it. Wanna kick it up a notch? Toss some Emergen-C into that bitch. Whammo. Energy PLUS essential vitamins. You have just two hours to go.

The Home Stretch

Your body is finally in the recovery stage and your suffering is nearly over. You’ve been drowning in a sea of what you assume scurvy feels like and smoker’s cough. The clock strikes 4pm and you have to make it just one more hour. Put your phone in a drawer, take off your watch and avoid looking at any clocks. You’re in the fourth quarter and your hangover is John Elway running the two minute drill. All you have to do is stave it off and you’re home free. Get in the zone. Jordan, game six. Big players make big plays.

The Drive Home

Game changer. Stay a little bit later than normal. It makes you look like a diligent worker and you’ll avoid rush hour. You’re headed straight for bed once you get home, anyway.


If you find yourself dozing off on the couch, head to bed immediately. You need rest. Passing out on your couch will only lead to you waking up at midnight and unable to fall back asleep until the wee hours of the morning. Finally destroy your enemy and avoid the dreaded 48-hour hangover.


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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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