The Holistic Health Coach’s Approach to the Hangover
It’s the holidays; we will all be enjoying a drink or two…or more…to celebrate our loved ones, good friends, good cheer, bidding farewell to 2013, and welcoming the New Year. Look, I’m a health coach and a perfectly normal human being. I’m not a sequestered yogi living on a mountaintop. I have a drink now and again, and I totally don’t judge when you’ve indulged too much.
But there’s a pitfall here I want you to watch out for: The “I have a hangover so a Big Mac is just the right cure.”
When you’re having a good time (or when you’re stressed about being with the in-laws), you might get a little heavy handed with the wine, and on top of the hangover the next morning, you might want to throw the guilt on and make even worse choices. When you’re striving toward some health goal, a night out drinking and the associated guilt can take you right off track. So the next morning, wake up, have a glass of water, and don’t you dare let a hangover be the excuse to trash all your goals. Deal with the hangover, and don’t head down any slippery slopes.
With all this indulgence in mind, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for how I cure a hangover, so I thought I would share what works for me.
When you catch a buzz, the dizzy feeling you get is actually dehydration kicking in. Alcohol is a diuretic and suppresses your kidneys’ natural ability to absorb water back into the body, so the kidneys flush it instead (hence the reason you pee like a racehorse when you’ve been drinking). Alcohol also causes stomach-lining inflammation, which sometimes results in diarrhea. Gross, I know, but hey, that’s what happens.
When your body metabolizes alcohol, it ultimately becomes toxic in your system. Some people handle that toxicity better than others, which is why you might puke but your drinking buddy is just fine. Other people experience rapid heartbeat or the sweats—all different symptoms of toxic overload. So, the key to easing your hangover after the party is over is to drink water during the party.
Good old standard advice: Drink a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you consume.
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The best way to cure a hangover is not to get one in the first place, but let’s say the best-laid plans don’t work out and you still find yourself nursing a wicked hangover.
Here’s what I recommend to make you feel better:
First, drink water. Don’t go with sports drinks—those suckers are high in sugar and can make matters worse for some people. And remember to sip, don’t chug. Your kidneys are already working hard.
The next thing is to use a facial mask to detox your skin. Find a mask that is nutrient-rich with antioxidants that rejuvenates, has anti-aging properties, and will revitalize your skin. Your skin needs as much support as your digestive system! Besides, it feels indulgent to lay back and relax with a mask on.
Then I take a look at how I’m actually feeling, what I’m dealing with, and then I’ll whip out an essential oil protocol.
If I’m feeling fuzzy and I need focus: I use an essential oil blend of amyris, patchouli, frankincense, lime, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and Roman chamomile. A few drops around your head helps with concentration and brain activity.
Frankincense—Amazing for inflammation. It permeates the brain barrier. Rub a drop or two onto your forehead. Did you know this essential oil is so old and precious that it’s actually referenced in the Bible?
If I feel like I need to be grounded: I use a balancing blend that has a warm, woody aroma of spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy with fractionated coconut oil that creates a sense of calm and well-being. Rub two to three drops onto the bottom of your feet.
If my stomach feels messed up: I use a blend of ginger, peppermint, tarragon, fennel, caraway, coriander, and anise. You can rub it on your belly to restore balance to your digestive system. Two to three drops should be sufficient. I actually use this every morning when I wake up.
Ginger—This little wonder is marvelous for settling your stomach anytime you feel off. Skip the ginger ale with the carbonation and sugar; slip a few slices of fresh ginger in some hot water with just a touch of honey anytime your tummy is acting up.
If I’m craving fat and sugar and salt and I know my stomach can’t handle it: You might find you need help to regulate your appetite and blood sugar (which can get destroyed by a night of too much drinking). I use a blend of grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon essential oils. With a little lemon in your water to cleanse and detox, it will help to calm your stomach. This blend is a fantastic detox and even helps prevent cravings.
*In fact, if you’re looking to lose a few pounds in the New Year, stay tuned because I’ll be teaching you how to use this oil and giving you additional help tips through my programs starting January 20.
You might also want to think about your supplements: I make sure I take supplements daily that are PACKED with good things for your system, including omega fatty acids, carotenoids (a class of antioxidant), natural Vitamin E and D. As well as I eat, I am a firm believer in supplementation and don’t believe that we can get all of the essential nutrients we need for optimal health, energy, and longevity without them. So if you’ve drunkenly forgotten your supplements, toss ‘em back with a big glass of water when you wake up.
If my energy is tanked and I want to boost my stamina: I take a natural plant extract that includes metabolic cofactors of cellular energy and supports healthy mitochondrial function. They’re the perfect alternative to caffeine if you’re trying to get off. I’m telling you, I need way less sleep than I used to and I have endless, sustained (keyword here: sustained) energy all day.
And, of course, as with ANY recommendation for minimizing a hangover, drink plenty of water. There, said it AGAIN. The list might seem like a lot of stuff to do, but when you’re hungover, you’ll do just about anything to make the room stop spinning and your head stop hurting, right? Plus, it all smells and feels really good, ESPECIALLY when you feel like crap.
I have just given you several ways to take control over your hangover and to take control of your health in the New Year. What are your plans for staying healthy? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.
Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
*Image courtesy of viking_79.