Feeling overwhelmed? You need a fake hangover!

The only good thing about a hangover is that it forces you to do sweet FA for most of the day. Since I quit drinking I have been super productive. I get so much done these days that I wonder how I achieved anything when I was still drinking alcohol. But occasionally I hit a wall and life can seem like one enormous mountain. On days like these, when I am fully overwhelmed by life, I could really do with a hangover! Introducing, the ‘fake hangover’!

I think I subconsciously drank my way into a few hangovers just so I could spend a day doing nothing. I knew that taking a whole day off, just for myself, without being ill or hungover was never going to happen.  Until now!

If you want to get all the benefits of spoiling yourself for a whole day but don’t want to feel nauseous, exhausted and anxious for the privilege then here’s what you do. 

Pick a day for a fake hangover

For most of us the best day for a fake hangover is a Saturday or Sunday but if you’re lucky enough to have a spare weekday then go for it. Whenever you book your fake hangover day just apply the same rules you would if you were genuinely incapacitated by alcohol poisoning. Don’t be tempted to get to midday and then start doing the washing or replying to work emails. Give yourself every minute of that day to be as lazy as you dare.

Stay very still

Keep reminding yourself that you are hungover. Your body need this time to recover (from imaginary alcohol) and as such you must limit all physical movement to a minimum. Toilet and fridge trips only. Unless you ordered food in which case you may go to the front door to collect it. 

Binge watch 

I highly recommend Big Little Lies on HBO, Sky or Now TV. It’s bloody awesome with a stellar cast and faultless plot line. 

Also worth 8 hours of your watch time: Killing Eve, Fargo, Breaking Bad (if you haven’t already watched it), The Good Place (Seasons 1 & 2) Chernobyl and apparently Game of Thrones is pretty good although personally I’m more The Last Kingdom. 

Then again you can’t beat a classic. Gone With The Wind will take up a full 4 hours of your day leaving you with just enough time to squeeze in a couple of Alfred Hitchcocks.

Don’t think

You know I am all about mindfulness. Being mindful is a way of life, not just a 10 minute meditation practice. Happiness is in the present moment, so being taken away from that by overthinking is a waste of life. HOWEVER, the fake hangover day flies in the face of this. And here’s why….

When you have worked so hard that your resources are all spent and you have nothing left to give then you need to be able to switch off. For me that was always with alcohol. I know that if I can allow myself a day of distracted mindlessness then getting back to being mindful and productive will be easy and welcome. Much better to stop and react than ignore and soldier on. A little of what you fancy goes a very long way!

Eat loads 

I’m talking chocolate, pizza, ice cream, fizzy drinks and more chocolate. Allow yourself a day of ‘fuck it’ and you’ll be craving a super-grain salad come Monday. You may of course eat healthily if that’s what you desire but only if it’s easily accessible and ticks all your satisfaction boxes.

As food therapist Victoria Adams explained on The Voice of Calm Podcast episode 9, you must let yourself have some naughty moments in order to prevent ‘all or nothing’ behaviour. That way you can stick to your healthy lifestyle goals and still enjoy the good things in life.

Be selfish

When you see the name of your most needy relative appear on your phone, let it go. If your kids say they need all their PE kit washed, point them in the direction of the washing machine / another adult / XBox and Fanta. You are way too fake hungover to deal with that shit! (Also if you plan your fake hangover then you can avoid most responsibility). 

Drink loads

In the same way that you would drink copious amounts of water for a real hangover you can take advantage of the health giving benefit of water on your fake hangover day. You’re predisposed to overload on the healthy drinks to counteract alcohol so why break this good habit? Your fake hangover can also be restorative for your liver and your skin. 


A real hangover often prevents you from sleeping while your body works hard to process all the poison. With a fake hangover sleep is readily available and should be enjoyed! There are few things more delicious than an afternoon nap so take advantage of your horizontal position by drifting off where you feel the urge.

Moderate your fake hangovers

If I did this every weekend I would feel pretty crap. But once every few months a fake hangover is a beautiful thing. Give it a go and remember to stick to the rules of a real hangover. You’ll see any sense of overwhelm melt away in no time!