Hungover At Work? Here's How To Survive

10/12/2015 7:58 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Monday morning again

Uh oh. You went to some mid-week, silly-season event and had one too many espresso martinis, didn't you? Now you're in the office, feeling like death, and wondering if any of your colleagues have cottoned onto the fact your pores are oozing straight alcohol.

Never fear, The Huffington Post Australia is here to help. We spoke to some health and beauty experts on how to survive the drinking festive season without suffering a permanent hangover -- and if you do end up having one too many, how to survive the next day (though of course, it's always wiser into drink in moderation).

"The thing we need to remember is alcohol is a toxin -- shock, I know! -- and therefore your body is trying to protect you from it," Georgie Rist, a Dietitian’s Association of Australia spokesperson and accredited practicing dietitian, told HuffPost Australia.

"If we are exposed to too much of any toxin we will have ill effects, so too much alcohol is going to give you a headache or much worse, unless of course you don't drink at all.

"If you are drinking, my advice would be to eat before you start -- never drink on an empty stomach -- and make sure to drink a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink.

"Remember it isn’t the last time you are going to be able to enjoy yourself or a glass of vino, so drink in moderation and look after yourself."

'Tis the season...

"If you start the night with a well-fed, well-hydrated body, your liver and kidneys will be much more capable of detoxing from the alcohol," Sydney City Nutritionist, Jennifer May, told HuffPost Australia.

"Follow these protective rules and you'll have a great night with great energy, plus will wake up feeling much better the next day.

"Firstly, alkalise. Alcohol is highly acidic which depletes your stores of essential nutrients in the fight to neutralise this acidity. It's a good idea to load up on greens -- which are alkalising -- ahead of your night out.

"Secondly, protect your cells from damage. Each cell in your body is lined with a fatty layer so loading up on good fats can also help to protect your cells from damage from toxins such as alcohol. Avocados are particularly beneficial.

"Load up on your protein. Detoxification requires essential amino acids (which we get from protein) so your clean protein sources are also an essential part of the pre-night-out protection tool kit.

"And finally, in the day ahead, I usually tell my patients to spend the day loading up on salad or steamed green veggies, olives, avocados, and clean protein such as fish or chicken, or eggs/organic tofu if vegetarian.

"A few glasses of water or green tea with lemon or lime juice with a pinch of himalayan rock salt will also give you lots of protective nutrients, as well as alkalising the body and getting the detox pathways moving. Plus it offers large doses of protective antioxidants and a nice flat stomach and glowing skin, win-win!"

Too... many... Christmas... parties...

Pre-party game aside -- is there anything we should be doing when we get home before going to bed? May says yes -- but a late-night run to Macca's isn't it.

"Have a serve of clean protein in the fridge to eat when you get home," May advised. "Some turkey breast is ideal here. Couple this with a fat and a fibre source such as avocado on toast. It doesn't have to be a lot, just enough to put back essential nutrients.

"For the vegetarians, have some raw nuts or some avocado mixed with lemon juice and flaxseed meal.

"Most importantly, have a glass of fizzy water such as soda water and fresh lemon juice. This will re-hydrate you and settle your tummy and you'll wake up feeling more energised and fresher. Have some water by your bed and drink each time you wake up."

Of course, it's worth noting here the best solution would be trying to limit your alcohol intake at the event in the first place.

"By the time you get home, most of the damage is done," Rist said.

"Alcohol provides very little nutrients, with the exception of antioxidants in red wine. Hangovers are caused by the effects of drinking too much alcohol: dehydration, loss of electrolytes, low blood sugar and damage to the lining of the digestive tract. Prevention is always better than cure."

Basically, her message in a GIF:

Buuuut -- let's say you do just that. Despite your best efforts, you couldn't help yourself and you are hungover and have to go to work. What now?

"Try to stay away from medications such as Panadol (which inhibits the livers ability to produce an essential antioxidant called glutathione), antacids which can inhibit your ability to absorb protein, or Nurofen which can damage your intestinal lining," May said.

"Instead, hydrate, drink soda and fresh lemon and, if still feeling rough, try fresh beetroot and ginger juice, as this will cleanse the liver and decrease pain and inflammation and settle your tummy.

"Eggs with avocado and toast makes an ideal breakfast, providing all essential nutrients, plus the fats your body is craving.

"Choose a high fibre bread to assist with flushing out the toxins -- basically, the more you poo the better you'll feel.

"And of course, hydrate hydrate hydrate. Try to stick with green tea or water with fresh lemon. Acai smoothies can also work well due to the high antioxidant content. Coconut water is fabulous, it's best when fresh out of the coconut but, failing that, Pete Evans' Raw C is pretty close to the real thing."


For ladies, in terms of whether make-up is a good or bad idea, the jury is still out. May advises against it, stating "the more makeup you wear the worse you'll look, as your dehydrated skin will cause your make up to blotch and stick in parts.

"Try giving your face a quick coconut oil face mask while you eat breakfast. Simply rub it on to clean skin and allow to sit.

"Then rinse off with warm water before splashing with cold water and then patting dry. Use mascara and minimal cover-up.

"While cucumber on the eyes does work, due to the high silica content, you'll need to spend at least 20 minutes to have an effect -- 20 minutes of sleep will help you more!"

But for those who absolutely cannot face the day without some kind of beauty routine, make-up artist Heidi Scarlett King has your back.

"At the end of the day nothing works better than sleep and water," King told HuffPost Australia. "However with make up, there are definitely a couple of things you can focus on.

"When you're hungover, your skin tends to look more ruddy and red, or discoloured. There's a darkness under the eyes and red capillaries tend to come up.

"So, you'll be wanting to have on hand a really hard working concealer with good coverage. Always apply this after your foundation so it keeps it on for a lot longer.

"It's also a good idea, before concealing, to add extra hydration onto the skin. Spritzing your face with a spring water spray before you apply your normal moisturiser is a really good way to do it.

"I'd also recommend using a illuminating blush just to add that colour and brightness, as well as defining your eyebrows.

"When you put your eyebrows in, you instantly look more alive and have a bit more framework for your face. If you have no colour and look a bit dead, add on an eyebrow and suddenly everything looks a bit better.

"Through the day, try to catch up with the water and hope for the best, really. May the force be with you."

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