Shaking off holiday hangover

Tips to help you shift from holiday to work mode

In Summary

• Psychiatrist says hangovers can come from merrymaking, not just alcohol

Psychiatrist Dr Njagi Kumantha
EXPERT: Psychiatrist Dr Njagi Kumantha

December holiday is over and most people have resumed their work or are looking forward to resuming soon.

While it looks easy to know about the dates and day to report back to work after a holiday, there is always that switch mode that normally happens once you change from one mode to the other one. While on holiday, you introduce your body to resting.

Speaking to the Star Digital edition, psychiatrist Dr Njagi Kumantha said basal metabolism goes down when you are in resting mode. Kumantha is the director of Brightside, a mental health and substance abuse treatment centre. 

"When you change to working mode, some chemical changes must take place, which become hard to automatically shift."

He advised that if you are going to be working from Monday and you were in that mode of merrymaking, it is not good to switch on the last day.

"Always try and give yourself a day in between the resting and now the day you are resuming work. Give yourself a one-day break before the normal resumption of work."

Mental preparation is also key. What the mind can do, the body can do. "You tune yourself mentally that tomorrow, you are going to work by preparing what you are going to wear in the evening. That way you will have an easier way to adapt and get back your normal working mood."

For instance, he says, if you are a teacher, you can prepare what you are going to teach and if you work in the office, start anticipating what you are going to do.

"If it is meeting with people, start preparing how you conduct the meeting. When you prepare in advance, then your body adjusts in advance.

For alcohol users who have an established condition of the hangover, Dr Njagi says the first step in hangover prevention is never drinking on an empty stomach.

"Always start your night with a decent meal. A healthy amount of carbs may absorb some of the alcohol and help regulate your blood sugar levels, which have been shown to drop with large alcohol consumption."

He adds that you must not take alcohol the night before if you want to be in good spirits at work.

"And even though you did not drink the previous night but have been drinking, ensure that in the morning you hydrate. Alcohol users are always visiting the toilet since alcohol has effects on the hormone that controls urine formation. You have to drink either soup, juice or plenty of water."

He adds that even if you have been undertaking other activities, you must have lost a lot of water.

Sleeping early on the previous night before reporting to work is another tip to bring your work mood back.

"Waking up early is vital since the body will be ready that it is at work, unlike when you extend your sleep to around 8am or 9am because your body will think you are on holiday.

Dr Njagi says a normal person will take one day to get back to their new normal.