One of the symptoms of having a hangover the night after drinking is depression. This is due to the alcohol’s effect on your brain and how the alcohol has lowered your serotonin levels, especially with continued alcohol abuse. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for your sleep and, more importantly, your mood. When there is less serotonin in your brain, you don’t feel as good about yourself as you normally would. This means that you can feel depressed while your body is still trying to clean all of alcohol’s toxins out of your body. This is exactly what hangover depression is. Those feelings of no self-worth while you are hungover.
If you are suffering from hangover depression, all is not lost. There are actually several different things that you can do to help get rid of your hangover blues and have you feeling like yourself again.
Addressing the Root Causes of Hangover Depression
Sure, the root cause of a bad hangover is obvious: alcohol. But, if you have noticed that a bad bout of depression follows virtually every time you go out drinking, there might be something else going on.
Everybody responds to alcohol differently, both physically and mentally. If you find yourself particularly vulnerable to depression after drinking, you should consider if you can make any lifestyle changes to help you enjoy a night out without feeling awful the next morning. Once you feel well enough to do so, consider which drinks (and, of course, the amounts) your body tolerates better. Certain drinks, such as very sugary cocktails, can dehydrate your system more than usual, meaning the physical and psychological symptoms are likely to be more serious.
Additionally, a number of medications can react poorly with alcohol, and can negatively impact your mood both during and after a night out. If you constantly experience depression during hangovers—even if you did not drink heavily—it might be a good idea to check in with your doctor and make sure there aren’t any serious health issues at play.
There is one cure that works well for any type of hangover depression and any other hangover symptoms as well: sleep. If you are feeling depressed and also like trash, the chances are that your body is tired. Be sure to rest more than you normally would and give your body and mood a chance to recover from the night before. You can turn off your phone, email, computer, and Facebook, close the blinds and just get some good old-fashioned rest. Just lie in bed, let your eyes close, and get the sleep that you need.
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When you are experiencing hangover depression, it is largely due in part to the fact that you are dehydrated. Alcohol causes your body to go into a state of dehydration. When you are dehydrated, it makes your feelings of hangover depression even worse. Do yourself a favor and drink some water. In fact, a better choice than water is to drink something that is packed full of electrolytes such as Gatorade, coconut water, Powerade or even some type of vitamin water.
Take a Much-Needed Social Media Break
Turning off your phone will do so much more than help you catch up on your sleep. It can also help you avoid a major source of negativity at a vulnerable time. There are a host of reasons why social media has a negative impact on your mental health. Some of them you probably already know. It’s addictive, it can harm your memory, and it leaves you in a constant state of FOMO. As if things weren’t already bad enough, constantly staring at screens has been proven to affect your sleep habits, leaving you struggling to get the rest you so desperately need.
Social media can be even worse after a particularly wild night. The last thing you need to recover from a depressive episode is being reminded of the unflattering photos you are now tagged in and the DMs you regrettably sent to a long-ago ex. Do yourself a favor and put the screens away. Today should just be about you.
Space Things Out a Bit
Nothing is worse than finally feeling like yourself after a bad case of the hangover blues, only to open your phone and find yourself bombarded with messages from well-meaning friends ready for round 2.
FOMO is a totally real experience, but it’s always good to take some time out to let your body recover. The chances are, if one night out made you feel depressed, another night out without time to bounce back will only make it worse. So, tell your friends you’re sorry but you already have Saturday night plans—taking care of yourself.
Get Some Fresh Air
There is nothing better for curing a hangover depression than some fresh air. When was the last time you were able to go outside and get fresh air without any type of distractions for longer than a few minutes? Turn your phone off and get some of that fresh air that’s floating around out there. The fresh air will not only help to wake you up and feel better, but it can also help relax your mind as well. Once you have relaxed a little, you will then be able to lower your anxiety and stress levels as well.
What works better to help you get out of that depressed feeling than binge-watching 12 hours of your favorite show on Netflix? While it doesn’t have to be a movie or television show, doing something that will provide some mindless time consumption is a great way to get over that hangover depression.
Tap into Your Own Creativity
Mindless entertainment and guilty pleasure reality television is an easy go-to thing, but a bad hangover does not mean you need to waste away the rest of your weekend! Embrace your artistic side. After all, studies show that self-expression is good for your mind!
No one is asking you to spend your Sunday writing the next Great American Novel or composing a concerto, but there are lots of creative outlets that can help you cope, such as blogging, drawing (or even just scribbling), singing along to your favorite songs, even dancing. Remember, no one is watching, and no one is judging you, so why not work through some rough times through art?
Nourishment… Greasy Nourishment
It’s no big secret. When you are feeling hungover and depressed, you need some greasy nourishment to pick you up out of the dumps and take you back to your regular self. For whatever reason, hangover depression simply demands that you eat your favorite foods you know you shouldn’t be eating. Not only will you feel happier, but it will also help to alleviate the symptoms of your hangover as well. On top of that, you’ll be giving yourself the extra energy that you need to do something that makes you happy, thus lessening your hangover depression even more. It’s a win-win situation.
And Remember to Eat Your Vegetables
After a rough night, you definitely deserve some greasy, fried indulgences. However, you will almost certainly feel better if you get some real food into you. You know, the healthy kind.
Sure, you deserve to chow down on buffalo wings and meat lover’s pizza, but also consider adding some carrots and celery as a side and enjoying fresh fruit for dessert. A healthy diet does not have to be a boring one—and it can help you feel energized and rejuvenated.
Get Something Delivered
Ask any women ever, one of the best cures for when you are feeling down on yourself or depressed is to go shopping. While you don’t need to drag your hungover self to the mall to try on some new shoes, you can simply go online and order some of the stuff you have wanted for a while but just couldn’t bring yourself to order. This will definitely pick up your mood and help get you excited. Plus, it’s hard to stay depressed when you know you have some cool new stuff coming your way in the next few days.
Talk It Out
If you are experiencing hangover depression, simply call up a friend and talk it out. What is making you feel so down? Why is it making you feel so depressed? Is it really worth being depressed about? By talking about whatever it is that’s making you feel depressed, you will be able to figure out if it’s even worth being depressed about. This is actually one of the tricks used by expensive therapists when they are treating depressed clients. If it works for them, it can work for you too.
Take a Relaxing Shower
If you are feeling depressed and you can’t seem to shake it, maybe it’s time to wash it away. Go and take a nice, warm, relaxing shower to help calm you down and freshen you up. You would be surprised how refreshing and rejuvenating a nice, hot shower can make you feel. In fact, the longer the shower you can take, the better. Studies have actually shown taking long showers are one of the best ways to wash away hangover depression. OK, so that last part wasn’t true, but a shower will help you to wash away that hangover depression.
Put yourself in a seated position. Shoulders back, sit tall and start to breathe deeply. Set a timer for 10 minutes and allow yourself to be alert and aware, while also relaxed. Free your mind and sit in silence as you allow your body to move into a state of relaxation.
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Find Comfort in Your Furry Friends
Pets are more than just your best friends—they are also all-natural antidepressants! Alright, that might be an overstatement, but only a little. Research shows that pet therapy and exposure to animals can immediately help with depression, anxiety, and pain. These effects are so powerful that hospitals, senior citizen homes, and even university campuses are embracing the practice.
You won’t need a highly trained animal to help you overcome your depressive episode—your own pet will do just fine! Whether you want to spend a few extra minutes cuddling with your kitten or force your dog to join you on your 12-hour Netflix marathon, spending quality time with your four-legged friend certainly cannot hurt.
Prepare for Monday Morning
For a lot of us, the idea of starting work and school again after the weekend is anxiety-inducing enough. It is only harder to wrap your head around things well you feel upset and insecure. However, when you wake up on Monday morning feeling rushed and unprepared, you are only more likely to carry your bad mood into the rest of your week.
Planning ahead can actually help your mental health. It can help you clear your mind, save time later on, and go to sleep on Sunday knowing that you are prepared to handle anything that might come to you over the next five days.
If you feel physically well enough to get up and do basic tasks, consider packing your bag, preparing your outfit or making your lunch ahead of time. These simple actions can ensure that your first thoughts at the beginning of the week are not preoccupied with getting everything ready for work. Mental health and wellness go beyond the moments we feel at our worst—it is incredibly important that we take actions every day to help us feel better and function better.
When you are experiencing hangover depression, it can become difficult to get motivated to do anything. By following some simple tips, however, you will be able to shake the hangover blues and get back to being yourself. And, on top of that, it will also help you to get past your hangover as well. Just be sure that you don’t do anything and wallow in your depressed thoughts and feelings of inferiority. If you do this, your hangover depression will only get worse can possibly lead to even worse depression. So, try your hardest to fight the temptation of doing nothing, and you’ll be back to yourself in no time.
This article by Madeleine Taylor is originally published on SundayScaries.