How To Recover From Even Your Worst Holiday Hangovers

Winter holidays can be fun. You're spending time with your family, and there are parties, gifts, and tons of food and drinks to be had. However, the holidays can also be a really rough time full of stress and a lot of socializing. You might already like drinking at parties, but the holidays can often increase our intake if we're not careful (or maybe it's on purpose). You might lose track of how many rum-filled egg nogs you've had, or maybe you reach for that wine bottle as soon as your extended family starts to talk politics. All aspects of festive activities can cause different kinds of hangovers to hit you this holiday season.

First off, time spent with family or just over-socializing can wreak havoc on you mentally. This is one of a couple of things that can cause an emotional hangover, even if you're an extrovert. The second is "the letdown" post-holidays, according to Kelley Kitley, LCSW, a psychotherapist. "Oftentimes the reason for this is due to a lot of socializing without re-charging and too high or unrealistic expectations that can leave people feeling disappointed," she told NBC. "People tend to go home to their family of origin where they fall back into old family roles and dynamics and sometimes regress because of unresolved issues."

You're on different schedules, potentially in different time zones, and you might be overeating and drinking too much. This can cause physical hangovers as well, and you want to be prepared.

How to prevent hangovers while drinking

You can have your fill this holiday season, but understand that the effects of too much alcohol can be annoying, in the least, and dangerous at its worst. And the way alcohol moves through our bodies is ultimately what causes hangovers. Rebecca Park, a registered nurse, told SheKnows (via Yahoo) that alcohol is broken down by our liver and turned into acetaldehyde. This is "poisonous and is a cancerous byproduct" that gives us those gross hangover ailments like nausea and headaches. The acetaldehyde is made into fructose, then acetic acid. It finally changes into carbon dioxide, which you end up breathing out.

Outside of the chemical stuff going on inside, the Mayo Clinic also wrote that alcohol makes us pee more, causing us to become dehydrated faster. It also expands our blood vessels, which leads to those nasty hangover headaches.

With all of that said, hangover prevention can start with drinking less and watching what you eat. Not in a fatphobic way, but in a "high sodium foods are linked to headaches" way. Too much sodium can cause bloating and can make your heart do some extra work, according to Jackie Newgent, RDN, a culinary nutritionist, per NBC. Water is also always a good prevention method, especially if you've had too much sodium. Newgent said you can also eat high-water foods like citrus fruit, lettuce, and cucumbers.

Hydrate and revitalize during a holiday hangover

In addition to drinking a ton of water while you're drinking, water is still going to be your friend during a hangover too. Food Network wrote that caffeine-based drinks are another helpful beverage due to the way they "constrict your blood vessels." It will make you feel less drained, but couple it with water as well because caffeine dehydrates you, too. Jackie Newgent, a culinary nutritionist, told NBC that drinking just 8 oz of a sports drink before bed can help while you sleep off all those adult drinks as well. In terms of medicine, Food Network recommends aspirin instead of your typical Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).

Food-wise, potassium is known as a superfood post-drinking. "Potassium is found in every cell of our bodies, [so] a deficiency leads to systemic fatigue, increasing that hungover, sluggish feeling," per CNN. To get that potassium and rehydration up, bananas are always a great go-to, but cantaloupes have even more potassium, and avocados have more still. For any nausea, Food Network suggested tomatoes for their vitamin C factor or eggs because of the cysteine found in them, which helps get rid of that nasty acetaldehyde, according to Newgent. Can't stomach the thought of those foods during a hangover? They suggest a fruit smoothie for your blood sugar levels and overall nutrients instead.

Hopefully, these tips can help you stomach the holidays and breakfast after all your festive, boozy fun.