Hangover Anxiety: How to Cope with ‘Hangxiety’

“I just want to cry,” I said to my housemate the night after a Big One. I couldn’t understand it. A great night, more raucous behaviour than you can shake a stick at, and there I was exhausted, anxious, and miserable. I slobbed about in my pyjamas from bed to kitchen to bed again, tentatively eating some stale Doritos in the hope that they would soak up some of the vodka swishing around my stomach and cheer me up, to no avail. Even a few episodes of Modern Family couldn’t dispel my gloom; I was well and truly glum.

A well-known phenomenon was plaguing me: the dreaded hangxiety. As the rule of thumb goes, where there’s an up, there must also be a down. This particular down can include shaking, sweating, nausea, rapid heartbeat, head pain, fatigue, low mood and, of course, anxiousness about whatever was said or done the night before. Nasty indeed.

So what did I do to cure it? Most of the following advice pertains to the treatment of hangovers themselves, which I’ve found does wonders for the old hangxiety itself.

The first piece of advice (and overused, I’m aware) is to down water like there’s no tomorrow. For every alcoholic beverage, have a glass of water, and make sure there’s a bottle by your bed as a favour to your future self. I know it’s boring and everyone says it, but that’s because it works. A friend of mine who worked at Unit 1 – back in the golden days of yore – said there’s a turning point at around 2am where everyone stops asking for shots and starts asking for water. Do yourself a favour and have both! It doesn’t make you less drunk, just less zombie-esque come the morning.

The second piece of advice: McDonald’s. Or just salty, warm food. Get it down you (probably post-vomit). Even if you are feeling a little ill, food always helps a hangover, and might go a little way to cheer you up in the misery of the morning after.

A shower is your best friend. Personally, I always feel like a grubby louse after a night of drinking, so a rinse can really help you feel human. If you’re sadistically inclined, a cold shower is the most effective option. I’ve recently discovered that having a shower when drunk is oddly magical. Plus, you feel lovely and clean the next morning. (Please do not attempt if blackout drunk. Safety before magic.)

Once more, an oldie but a goldie, is our dear friend fresh air. Put on a pair of sunnies and wander through Northernhay Gardens to the fragrant scent of weed, or down to the Quay if you fancy tackling the entire student population of Exeter. This one is very much optional. It will make you feel better, but involves a lot of effort, especially post-intoxication.

Personally, I always get more anxious when I’m tired – so snooze or lie in if your body needs the extra hours, or grab a housemate or friend and veg in front of the television all afternoon.

Sometimes, hangxiety hits you because you’re worried about what exactly it was that occurred the previous night. Alcohol has the capacity to remove inhibitions – sometimes too much. Maybe you said something thoughtless to a friend, flirted with a bouncer, or streaked down the high street with a traffic cone on your head. Whatever the misdemeanour, (within reason) it’s easily forgivable. Most people who drink have done things that make them cringe. If your friends are nice people then they’ll joke about it and move on – nobody’s perfect, and silly mishaps make great stories.

Most importantly, remember that being cripplingly hungover and having mad nights are all part of the Uni experience – everyone has the “I’m never drinking again” morning, so take the highs with the lows, enjoy the disasters, and drink water.

Millie Jackson

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