How to Avoid a Thanksgiving Hangover, Whether It's From Food, Alcohol, Or Too Much Family

After countless trips to the grocery store and weeks of mental and physical preparation, Thanksgiving is finally here, and all that's left to do (you know, after you cook the turkey for a few more hours, whip up some last minute vegetarian sides for some unexpected guests, and make a final trip to the liquor store to stock up on more booze), is eat, spend time with family, drink, and eat some more. But though there are plenty of fun parts to the holiday, the day after the holiday isn't always so great — especially if you overload on food, alcohol, or chaotic family time (which, as we all know, can cause just as much a hungover feeling as one too many glasses of wine).

We all know that the Thanksgiving hangover, in all its various forms, can be a very real and terrible thing. While you should absolutely indulge in everything this beautiful holiday has to offer, you should be able to do so without waking up the next morning feeling like a complete zombie. Because we don't want anything to taint those glorious memories you have of hitting up the dessert table not once, but twice, here's how to avoid every type of Thanksgiving hangover while still enjoying the festivities.

Food Hangover

Holiday feasts are always delicious, but all that food can often leave you feeling bloated and sluggish the next day. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to avoid spending Black Friday at home, wishing you hadn’t eaten that last bacon-loaded twice-baked potato:

Avoid overloading on sugar. I know, I know — some of the best parts of Thanksgiving meals, like pumpkin pie and yummy cocktails, involve sugar. Don’t worry, we would never dare tell you not to indulge a little. Just make an effort to limit your intake of the super-sugary stuff, as overdoing it is what often causes that moody, lethargic feeling the next day — or in some cases, even that same night.

Throw in some fresh veggies. Thanksgiving in particular involves a lot of heavy foods, like butter-laden potatoes and cheesy casseroles. Don’t skip your favorites, but try to strike a nice balance by alternating the richer foods with lighter grains and vegetables. You’ll be thanking yourself for it in the morning.

Take a walk. It’s hard to do anything but collapse on the couch after dinner, but taking even a brief walk can help ease that overstuffed, too-full feeling. So if the weather’s not terrible, grab a couple of your relatives and go outside for a few minutes. If the majority of your family is anything like mine and extremely resistant to any post-eating outing, subtly excuse yourself and head out solo. It may provide a much-needed break anyway.

Alcohol Hangover

What else can leave you with that gross, next-day nauseous feeling other than overeating? Overdrinking, that’s what. It’s easy to lose track of how many glasses of wine you’ve had throughout the course of the celebration, especially when your grandmother is constantly asking you when you're going to give her grandchildren (see: “Stress Hangover”). But we're all way too familiar with the struggles and regret that come with throwing back too many drinks. Here's how to avoid that.

Water, water, water. Staying hydrated is key — not only for preventing an alcohol hangover the next day, but also to flush out some of the sugars and toxins that you’ve ingested throughout the day.

Eat early. Many people (myself included) tend to eat very little throughout the morning, so that they’ll have all the room necessary for the big evening meal. But that’s actually not a great practice for two reasons: 1) If you’re starving by the time dinner rolls around, it’ll make it very hard to resist overindulging on the unhealthy stuff, and 2) If you like to start drinking early (hey, it’s the holidays right?), it means you’ll be downing all those mimosas on an empty stomach, and by the time it hits dinner time, you’ll either be fairly drunk or ready to go to bed. Prevent this by eating a small breakfast or a few filling snacks earlier on in the day.

Pull out the classic hangover tricks. If you had one too many and can barely stand to look at the sun the next morning (it happens to the best of us), get back on your feet with the classic remedies: Try countering your hangover with sports drinks or smoothies, which will help replenish your electrolytes, and high-potassium foods, which will reduce the dehydrating effects of alcohol, like bananas.

Stress Hangover

The holidays always bring stress, whether it’s because you’re the one hosting, or because it involves an overload of family time. Whatever the situation is, letting yourself get caught up in all the madness will also prevent you from enjoying what could be a fun celebration. Here’s how to avoid getting caught in a full-fledged panic attack.

Let people help. As a host, you want everything to be perfect and for everyone to have a great time. But the truth is, one person can only handle so much. So take a helping hand when it’s offered. It won’t make guests any less appreciative of all of your efforts, but it does mean you won’t be completely overwhelmed and unable to have any fun at your own party.

Don’t let the small stuff get to you. If being around so much of your family stresses you out, you’re not the only one. It can be hard to enjoy your turkey and stuffing when the relatives you see once every few months are bombarding you with personal questions. Try to maintain your patience, and brush off the questions with breezy responses that make it clear you’re not willing to delve into the topic. If someone asks you about your job, just say “I’m not talking about work tonight." Or if someone asks for the millionth time when you're boyfriend's proposing, simply respond “We’re happy with where we’re at." If that doesn’t work, just excuse yourself from the situation. You shouldn’t feel pressured to answer anything you don’t want to.

Sleep. You know what won’t help alleviate your leftover Thanksgiving stress? Getting up at 4 a.m. to hit the ridiculously crowded stores for Black Friday. If you’re already tired from all of the festivities, just skip it and sleep in. There’s always Cyber Monday.

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