Hangovers. How to avoid them is an art of careful planning. Party season is upon us and — while it’s a blast — that means we have to work extra hard to avoid weight gain, headaches and embarrassing videos of Mariah Carey sing-a-longs.
I am a seasoned event attendee, lover of booty shaking and hater of hangovers. So here are my top tips to keep you on the straight and narrow, while having the time of your life!
1. Don’t say yes to every party
Between office parties, birthdays, festive season gatherings, friends visiting, family demands and the itch to drink cocktails in the sun, you are going to have a busy calendar. So often we tend to over-commit and then feel bad because we bail at the last minute… or go along, but all we can think of is being in bed with series.
Be selective. Say yes to events that really matter and turn others down. Schedule downtime and self-care like you would a date. And not just when you’re dealing with hangovers. It will help keep you sane and feeling fresh — we promise.
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2. Substitute every second drink with a non-alcoholic drink
And I don’t mean water. (Although if you can sneak a few glasses of water in, that’ll be an extra win!) I mean opt for zero-alcohol beers (like Castle Free) in between your real beers. Even Savanna has a zero-alcohol cider. Check out this awesome list of de-alcoholised adult drinks. If you have those kinds of peer-pressure-boozy friends, you can still walk around with your glass of lager — and they won’t even know it’s alcohol-free. Wink*
READ MORE: Here’s How To Do The Festive Season Sober, Plus The Best Alcohol-Free Drinks
3. Don’t drink alcohol at every party
While this might seem like the lamest advice ever, it will really save you throughout the season. I keep stacks of de-alcoholised beers and other drinks I like consuming without booze, such as Norah’s Valley Alcohol-Free Cashmere Rosé at home. Find drinks that are alcohol-free that you know you like and get a buddy to join you on this wagon. For extra motivation, book a training session with your PT the morning after. Now there’s an excuse to stay off the sauce.
4. Make morning plans = less hangovers
Make the most of summer mornings too. Instead of only reserving friend catch-up time over wine at night, book your buddy to go for a coffee. Try out a new juice shop, go for a run, go for a hike or sign up to try a new workout together. This way you have fun dates booked that don’t all involve alcohol.
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5. When you do go out, go dancing
This is great for two reasons. The first: It’s hard to dance with a drink in your hand (so you’ll take a break and prevent hangovers). And no one wants to end up with red wine on their new dress. The second: dancing burns calories. There’s nothing like a couple of hours of hip-shaking and jumping up and down to Beyoncé. Dancing also boosts endorphins, which in turn boosts mood. Go light up that floor!
6. Eat before you go out
Don’t go out hungry. You’re more likely to indulge in extras that you wouldn’t otherwise eat, plus the alcohol will hit you pretty quickly = worse hangovers. I’ve had that before, where I’ve had a busy day, haven’t really eaten and then gone to meet friends for after-work drinks. It always ends with one droopy eye and a packet of slap chips. You make better choices when you’re sober. So get that nourishing meal or healthy snack in before you join the gin train.
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7. Drink before and after
Water, that is… And if it’s going to be a big one, ease the dehydration the next day by adding some electrolytes. This will help prevent hangovers. Keep sachets of Revive in your handbag or even one in your pocket and have it with some water before you go to bed, while you’re at the club or when you wake up the next day. Be particularly mindful of your hydration levels if you’re partying and then exercising the next day. Alcohol can deplete your hydration levels and make workouts that much harder to get through.
8. Watch your mixers
Speaking of gin… Choose to go with low-sugar or low-calorie tonic waters and other mixers to prevent hangovers. Nowadays we have a wide variety of sugar-free mixers available and this really helps you avoid the spike and crash (and extra kilos). Even using sparkling water with a squeeze of lime juice or lemon can work very well with gin.
READ MORE: The 2 Hangover-Curing Recipes You’ll Need This Weekend
9. Try to get enough sleep
If you know it’s going to be a late one, schedule some sleep time in the next day. Lack of sleep adds severely to irritability and can worsen your other hangover symptoms. The problem is, alcohol affects the quality of sleep, meaning you’re going to have an impaired snooze. Impaired sleep leads to weight gain thanks to ghrelin (the hunger hormone) being more active, and when you’re tired and hungover your body craves what will give you hits of energy: sugar (and carbs). Try not to have too many late nights in a row as this will compound and affect memory, mood and cognitive function.
10. Take vitamin C
Alcohol, combined with late nights affects your immune system. You’re much more vulnerable to germs — and no one wants to miss the best weeks of summer because they’re in bed with flu. The other reason you should pop some immune boosters before you go out: prevent hangovers. Part of what makes a hangover so bleugh is because there’s a whole lot of inflammation and oxidative stress going on. So having antioxidants (in the form of vitamin C or a pomegranate juice) before partying can help prevent the damage the next day.
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