Soooo the obvious answer to avoid a post-booze shame spiral is to stop drinking. But we’re going to be real here because most of us – yes us, I will not give up my craft beers and rosé and you cannot make me – will probably never do that. So then let’s make a plan B to minimise (or eliminate) the hangover and stop that heinous shameover. You know, the one where you just curl up in bed looking for the saddest movies you can find?
Turns out that post-grog anxiety is a real, sciency thing. Speaking to Women’s Health, US-based psychiatrist Dr Aparna Iyer explains that it’s all chemical.
“When your blood alcohol concentration starts to drop (aka a hangover), your brain experiences boomerang-like shifts in the levels of certain chemicals,” she says.
“Alcohol mimics the effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps people feel less inhibited – which is why you might feel extra chilled and gregarious while you’re drinking – but during the hangover the next day, the effects are reversed, causing anxiety to spike.”
The same thing is happening to your happiness hormone, serotonin. Bloody ouch. And ladies, studies also suggest that once again it might even be worse for us, thanks to oestrogen. If you bog your liver down with grog to breakdown, it’s harder for it to do its job getting rid of excess hormones. The link between mood and oestrogen isn’t 100% known, but I think most of us with the dang thing would agree there definitely is one.
But what can you d about it, when realistically for most of us giving up alcohol is not on the table?
Drink More Water
Turns out mum was, once again, very correct and you should absolutely have a glass of water in between each drink to minimise your hangover the next day. Why does it work? Very simply it helps keep you hydrated when alcohol is drying you out. All the worst parts of a hangover – headaches, dry mouth, dizziness – are mostly due to dehydration.
Know Your Limits
At this stage, if you haven’t worked out exactly how many drinks sends you on that turn from tipsy and having fun to crumpled, crying gutter mess, then someone has absolutely told you. Time to listen to yourself/them. The whole ‘Omg I got SAHHH drunk’ mentality of our teens isn’t really a thing anymore. Time to love yourself and keep your drinking to fun/ not horribly embarrassing levels.
Be Kind To Yourself
Having said that, everyone has those times when they’re just getting a little too into the spirit (geddit) of things and down one too many bevvies. Maybe you did something sober you is a little embarrassed about, maybe the hangover is just a little hard to handle. Either way, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last.
How would you talk to a friend who was going through the same shameover? You’d tell them it happens to everyone and it’s all going to be ok, right? So do that for yourself. You go indulge yourself with those movies and carb-heavy foods, honey.