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Home: The Toast

Previously: Making sure you get enough to eat at holiday parties.

‘Tis the season for rejoicing — but beware! One too few glasses of eggnog at the office party, or a little less champagne than you’d planned on having for New Year’s Eve, and you might just find yourself waking up at your usual hour the morning after, feeling more or less like your usual self, with no excuse to stay in bed shivering and running hot and cold all morning, then throwing up blearily for most of the afternoon.

If you’ve ever asked yourself how just one round fewer could result in the complete avoidance of regret and misery, then this article is for you. You’ll never go without the next-day heart palpitations, forearm sweats, skullbone headaches, full-body stench, the sickening sense that you will never not feel dizzy for the rest of your days, or punctuated sleep patterns that make life so interesting and hard to predict ever again. Here are some tips you can use before, during, and after a holiday celebration to make sure you wake up (if you find yourself successfully entering REM sleep at all) with a proper hangover.

1. Avoid drinking too much water. Water needlessly thins the blood. You also run the risk of fatal water intoxication. If you’re tempted to order a glass of water with your next cocktail, try smoking a cigarette instead.

2. Don’t eat anything until after you’ve created a base layer of alcohol in your stomach. You don’t have any room to spare. You want to feel drunk in your fingernails, and you don’t need a lousy cheeseburger camping out in the middle of your abdomen, absorbing all of the precious alcohol that you bought with your own money. Get drunk on your own dime, cheeseburger.

3. Mix it up. Why end the night drinking the same cocktail you began it with? Variety is the spice of life. Like the rhyme says: “Beer before liquor, you’ll find love quicker. Liquor before beer, be of good cheer.”

4. Avoid cigarettes. Unless you’re using them to resist the urge to drink water; otherwise, cigars are better. Inhale deeply. Really let the smoke settle. You want to be able to feel the outline of your lungs throbbing against your rib cage when you wake up in the morning.

5. When it comes to combining alcohol and prescription medication, trial and error is the only way to go. Do mojitos and lorazepam really impair your ability to operate heavy machinery? Are you really going to let a label directed at the general public tell you what’s right for your body? Of course not. You know yourself better than any label, and there’s only one way to find out. You’re kind of like a scientist, if you think about it, which makes what you’re doing both groundbreaking and brave.

6. It’s not just water you need to watch out for: avoid clear liquids entirely. The browner, the better. Remember, you can add red wine to anything.

7. Don’t coddle yourself the next day. Tossing restlessly in bed, churning up the sheets, furiously flinging your arm over your eyes in a futile attempt at sleep makes for such a flat hungover experience. What does it feel like to drive hungover? What does it feel like to lead a three-hour meeting? What does it feel like to vote and then do like sixty squats? That’s how your hangover can really achieve texture and dimension. It’ll feel like you’re slowly dying in so many different ways.

8. Take a couple of Tylenol. Anything with acetaminophen is fine, really; it’s time to remind your liver that it works for you, not the other way around. Get your money’s worth out of it.

9. Lean in to the experience. Remind yourself of all the nights you’ve fallen asleep in front of your laptop, all the jokes you’ve made at the expense of others. Why regret one thing when you can regret everything? Let your anxiety attack blossom and unfold at its own pace. Go to your kitchen, look at the counter in disgust, then go back to bed without doing anything. Really get a sense of what your sheets smell like. This is you time.

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