Hiding a hangover at work.

How to Hide a Hangover at Work

The silly season is on our doorstep and if that means one thing, it’s drinks and probably more drinks. Work function or not, this behaviour may fall on a school night and will leave you feeling worse for wear the next day. I work in one of the more hangover-sympathetic industries, but even for us there is a limit to how many days in a row we can come in feeling a little dusty.

Studies say five to six drinks for an 80kg man and three to five for a 60kg woman will almost always lead to a hangover, which is really not that much. So take this advice from someone who has become somewhat of an expert at hiding the sweaty, hand shaking aftermath of the previous night’s 12 tequila shots, three G&Ts and two hours sleep.

Drink wisely

We all know abstaining isn’t the answer, so if you’re gonna drink, do it well. Clear spirits and white wine don’t have congeners (think, the enemy), so they won’t hit you as hard the next day. Throw in a few glasses of water somewhere too for good measure.

Bedtime prep

Going through hangover preventative measures before you collapse into your bed will work wonders. Girls, take off your make up, no one likes a panda eyes. Drink a sports drink or hydralyte that will hydrate you and restore all those lost electrolytes. Use that to wash down a panadol to prevent waking up in the middle of the night with a headache; this sleep is vital and your future self will thank you.

Decide if you’re hungover or still drunk

There are some situations that no cures can help. If your alarm goes off and you only got to bed an hour before, chances are you’re still drunk and should just call in sick.


Put yourself together

This requires a bit more precision that normal mornings. Ensure you shower to wash off the alcohol oozing out your pores, a cold one is better as it will reduce puffiness in the face and eyes. An exfoliant face scrub will work wonders to make you feel fresh. Guys shave; ladies put on some blush and lip colour but keep the eyes free of anything heavy. And no matter what your sex, a dab of concealer under the eyes and some concealer will be your new best friends. Dress more carefully than usual, nice, clean and ironed. Like your Sunday best but on a Wednesday.

Sweat it out

Working out is most likely the furthest thing from your mind when you wake up to your brain pulsating out of your eyes and your mouth as dry as the Sahara. But I will say I’ve never gotten rid of a hangover quicker than when I get the heart pumping that booze out of my blood.

Fuel yourself

Grease seems good, and is what your brain tells you it wants. But your brain is a tricky mother f*cker and doesn’t always have your best interests at heart. The best thing you can do for yourself is eat healthy, protein and vitamin rich foods like bananas or poached eggs with spinach; dairy and complex carbs will only make you feel worse. And if you’re going to have more panadol, make sure to do it after you eat.



Obviously. Drink as much as you can, and then some more, but not enough that you vomit. Bubbly drinks like Sprite and soda will help alleviate symptoms by turning acetaldehyde into acetate, which is what you want.

Make work a safe space

Turn the brightness down on your computer screen, find or make a good playlist of ear-friendly tunes, put your headphones on and pray you won’t pass out before 5pm. I personally have a Spotify playlist titled ‘Hangover’, which has saved me more times than I care to admit.

Being a functional human

Don’t deliberately hide from people; that makes it super obvious. But at the same time avoid talking to your colleagues too much, this can lead to trouble. If need be, say you have a headache and people will assume your hangover symptoms come from lack of sleep and brain pain. And if you’re really struggling then suggest everyone leave early and go to the pub to do some team bonding or whatever; hair of the dog is underrated.

In the US absenteeism and poor job performance from hangovers costs businesses USD$148 million a year, and being a country that loves a drink, I’d say our figures wouldn’t be far behind. So don’t become a statistic and do your best to hide last night’s reckless abandonment of responsibility and employment.

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