How to Plan for a Hangover

Whoohoo! Tonight’s the night! You’ve been planning for this night for weeks, even months! Perhaps it’s a bachelor party, special birthday party, reunion with your sorority sisters, etc. Whatever the occasion, you know you’ll be drinking. And when you say drinking, you mean drinking!

If you know you’ll be drinking to excess, it’s a good idea for you to make plans for the morning after. After all, you’re not a kid anymore, and you’ve got responsibilities. Just as you used to carry condoms so that you’d be prepared for whatever the night brought, you should make preparations to get you through a night of heavy drinking. Here’s how to plan for a hangover.

Go Shopping (beforehand)

Everybody swears by their own tried-and-true method of getting through a hangover, and it usually involves a particular kind of food. So stock up on the right stuff before your night out. This might include bottles of orange, cranberry, and/or tomato juice, depending on your preference. You’re going to need water, so if your tap water is not drinkable, get some gallons of water too.

Be sure to hit the pharmacy or the pharmaceutical aisle of the grocery store, and get a bottle of ibuprofen, whether name-brand or generic. You’re likely to have one mother-size headache, and ibuprofen should help. If you’re the kind of person that can stomach (quite literally) Milk of Magnesia or Pepto Bismol, then grab a bottle of that too. Queasy stomachs are often a side effect of hangovers.

If you can stomach food during a hangover, it will likely be starchy foods. Buy some bread and potatoes, and maybe even bananas to carry you through the next day. Some people find that a similar diet to what you can eat when you have a cold is preferred–applesauce, toast, broth, etc. since you’ll likely have no energy to make homemade mashed potatoes, you might nix the five-pound bag of russets or Yukon Golds and grab a box of instant instead.

Catch up on Life

Seldom do we have the chance to plan a day to ourselves, so if you’re planning for a hangover, it might be as good as it gets for a day off. Your best bet to have the day to yourself, without a huge workload hanging over you, is to catch up on that same workload ahead of time.

If you’ll be missing a day of work and you know it, try to surreptitiously get ahead. That means finishing the project a day earlier than necessary and scheduling any meetings and conference calls either before or after the planned hangover day. Obviously, try to do this naturally, without calling attention to yourself or the day in question.

If your hangover is going to occur on the weekend (a much smarter idea, anyway), get all of that household stuff out of the way. You might not care if the house gathers another day of dust and dirt, but get the dirty dishes out of the sink and clean and put away the laundry. If you’ve got some awful-smelling stuff in the kitchen garbage can, take the bag out. Feed the cat and give it fresh water, and don’t forget to clean the litterbox. Perform those chores that might turn disgusting if they wait two more days.

Lastly, get the bills in the mail. No credit card company will waive the late fee and accompanying finance charge for you just because you had a hangover and “forgot” that the payment was due.

Get a Designated Friend

Don’t ever let a night of planned fun turn into a lifetime of unplanned tragedy. Be sure that you and your group have at least one designated driver or plans for a taxi or car service to drive you all home from the bar or party, wherever it takes place. In addition, if you plan to party hard, ask a friend to have your back. Make sure he understands that his role is not just to make sure you don’t go home with your ex-girlfriend, but also to make sure that you don’t mix alcohol in potentially life-threatening combinations.

This is the friend who should have the brains and the nerve to tell you when enough is enough, and to call for an ambulance if he suspects you have potential alcohol poisoning.

An Ounce of Prevention

It’s really never a smart idea to drink to such excess that you know you’ll have a hangover the next morning. These same products that will help you during the hangover might also help prevent one beforehand. So consider eating a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal before you go out drinking, and match your drinks one-for-one with a glass of water.

Decide ahead of time what your drink of the night will be, and then try to stick to just that drink even if you drink many of them. Often, it’s the mixing of different types of drinks through the night–whether wine, beer, vodka, etc.–that results in the worst type of hangovers. If you’re too far gone to remember if it’s “safe” to drink wine before beer, or beer before liquor, then you’ve likely had enough to drink.

If you’re just going to ignore all of our sage advice and drink until a hangover is the more-than-likely outcome, then take this last piece of advice to heart: Clean your toilet and your bathroom floor. You’ll likely be spending the bulk of your time on or near both for the next 24 hours.