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‘Tis the season for holiday festivities – but when you turn up to work and feel too queasy to get in the lift that is just not the one.

A survey from Caron Treatment Centers, a US facility for drug and alcohol addiction, found that 64% of Americans have actually called in sick, or know someone who has, becuase they’re too delicate to face the office after a holiday party.

And we can only imagine that UK stats would be similar. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Caron, asked more than 2,000 adults about the behaviour they exhibited and observed after attending a holiday party. In addition to 64% calling off work, 61% of those surveyed also said that they, or someone they knew, had come into work late or left work early the next day. And of those heroes who managed to tough it out and stay at work, 46% had trouble completing their day-to-day tasks.

Clinical psychologist Harris Stratyner, Ph.D., Vice President of New York Clinical Regional Services at Caron Treatment Centers, says that “people shouldn’t take this sort of risk with their livelihoods”, as you don’t want to be seen constantly falling behind at work. Not only does it affect your reputation, but pushing yourself too hard when your body’s not up for it can adversely affect your health.

So if you want to enjoy a festive tipple (or two), and still make it in to the office the next morning, try following these tips to minimise any damage:


Women might be able to do all the same jobs as men, but scientifically female body composition has a higher fat-to-water ratio than men, so you’ll get drunk a lot faster than your other half. Doesn’t really explain why they’re always the ones stumbling home though…


Before you go out, tell yourself that you’re stopping at two. This way you’ve made a decision while sober that you’re more likely to stick to later, when your judgement is a bit more, ahem, impaired. “A good rule of thumb is to never have more than two drinks,” Stratyner suggests. And speaking of impaired judgement, keeping to this limit might even keep the beer goggles away.


The kind of alcohol you drink can make a big difference. Stick to clear liquids, rather than dark ones. Clear liquors, like rum, vodka and gin, have fewer congeners, a by-product of fermentation. Congener-rich drinks like brandy, cognac, whiskey, and tequila are more likely to make you feel a bit more delicate the next day. Try to also avoid sugary drinks and carbonated beverages, like fruity cocktails or champagne, which are absorbed in the bloodstream faster so will go straight to your head.


Yeah we all know that you should never drink on an empty stomach. But don’t just fill up before you head out. Dr. Stratyner recommends, “eating both before you drink and while you’re drinking” to avoid feeling a bit under the weather the next morning. Your best bet? Grill a few asparagus spears for a quick pre-party snack. Research from Korea found that extracts taken from asparagus leaves and shoots increased the amount of an enzyme used to break down alcohol. Yum.


Mix up your drinks – and no we don’t mean beer then wine. With every drink you have, down a glass of water as well. It will cleanse your system a little and also fill you up faster, meaning that you drink less. Trust us – your body (and bank account) will thank you.


If you wake up the next morning and still find yourself a little worse for wear, stick to the H2O. Many of the major hangover symptoms, like headaches and fatigue, are due to your body being totally dehydrated. Stratyner advises, “Drink plain water, as much as you possibly can. It will help flush the alcohol out of the system.”

Parts of this article originally appeared on Women’s Health US, with additional reporting from Leah Zerbe, Rodale.com


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