We all love a good party. Whether we are meeting friends, socialising with strangers at a club or festival, or hosting a big gathering on special days like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, parties offer a great chance to unwind from daily stress and bond with others. Especially after spending a good part of two years quarantined and isolated from each other, social gatherings can seem the perfect opportunity to let go and have some well-deserved fun. But then comes the day after: the dreaded hangover, headaches, muscle aches, possible indigestion and general lethargy and fatigue.
No matter how much you are tempted to stay in bed all day to recover, as adults with jobs, responsibilities and kids to look after, it is often not an option. But luckily, there are some simple ways in which you can look after yourself so that the physical toll of partying does not not affect you for too long, and you can get the energy you need to go about your day.
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1. Sip on hydrating drinks and skip the coffee
“Hydration is key to recovering after a long night of partying,” says Dr Lakshmi K, Ph.D Food Science & Nutrition, University of Georgia (USA), Head Nutritionist, URLife. This is because alcohol suppresses certain hormones and enzymes in the body, including ADH (antidiuretic hormone), which is responsible for the kidney’s ability to reabsorb liquids into the body. This causes frequent urination, and a greater loss of the body’s fluids than usual. Combined with the fact that you might not be drinking enough water through the evening, you can end up seriously dehydrated the next morning, which will make you feel extremely tired.
Avoid caffeine at all costs, as it will further dehydrate your system. Other than drinking plenty of water, Dr Lakshmi advises drinking these hydrating drinks the day after in order to rehydrate your system.
- Immediately after waking up, drink a glass of warm water with a little bit of ginger and some lemon juice. “Ginger has antioxidant properties, and lemon will help you to normalise the pH level of your blood, which can become acidic due to alcohol,” says Dr Lakshmi.
- Fresh watermelon juice, with a pinch of rock salt, ginger, mint and lime. Watermelon provides you with important vitamins (A, C and B5), potassium, and electrolytes that you might have lost the day before.
- Fresh coconut water, which is high in potassium and electrolytes.
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2. Don’t eat starchy foods—choose these instead
“At parties, we tend to eat lots of simple carbs, and salty and greasy food, which can raise your blood sugar levels and cause bloating or indigestion afterward,” says Dr Lakshmi. “To deal with it, stay away from starchy foods like potatoes and white bread. Add plenty of fibre-rich colourful fruits and vegetables to your diet. When you eat protein, choose plant protein over animal protein, such as tofu, lentils and chickpeas.” For a complete detox, she advises following this basic plan:
- Breakfast: A yoghurt bowl with fruits, or overnight oats (for fiber), or idli
- Mid-day: A cup of green or herbal tea, or a fruit juice of your choice
- Lunch: A bowl of soup (carrot, tomato or broccoli), a fresh salad, and some complex carbs like brown bread and sautéed vegetables
- Evening snack: Makhana and a glass of coconut water
- Dinner: Grilled tofu or fish, a bowl of soup and some green beans
3. Break a sweat, but take it easy
While nursing a hangover, exercises might be the last thing you want to do, but the endorphins or feel-good hormones released from exercising will immediately help you feel better and give you that much-needed boost of energy. But be careful not to overdo it, as it might cause you to feel nauseous or increase the stress on your body. Go for a walk outdoors, do some light jogging or do a simple yoga flow, which is particularly effective for stimulating the lymphatic system and reducing fatigue.
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4. Take nap or hit the bed early
If you are out partying until the late hours of the night, it is likely that you will not get sufficient hours of sleep. Moreover, if you indulge in alcohol, it can prevent you from reaching the REM cycle of sleep, which is the restorative stage. Try to compensate by taking a late-afternoon nap if possible, or go to bed early the next night in order to feel rejuvenated.