Prior preparation and planning prevents particularly poor performance.
That should be your mantra. This is your moment - the time to dazzle senior board members, bond with your team, or (more realistically) just let off some steam after a pretty busy season. So get it right:
- Sort out your outfit
Is it a costume party? Make sure you don’t leave your novelty antlers at home. Black tie? Get ironing your shirt, or hang that ballgown out. Casual and corny? Dig out your favourite Christmas jumper (the one your partner threatens to donate each and every year).
- Prep your ‘morning after’ kit
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Whether you’re planning to go hard or not, you’ll probably not feel amazing the next day. Even if it’s just the sleep deprivation! So set up a recovery station on your bedside table: a bottle of water and a sports drink, something salty like a bag of nuts, a packet of ibuprofen. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Map your route home
Whoever planned this thing probably inadvertently chose the most inconvenient location possible for you to travel back from (note to self: join planning committee next year). But what’s done is done. Just make your life easier by planning your journey home in advance - bus routes, tub maps, taxi numbers, uber prices… you’ll be glad you did.
- Tie off any loose ends at work
If we’re being honest, almost nothing is going to get done the next day. It’s better to be realistic about these things. So before the party portion kicks off, try and wrap up whatever you’re working on. Finish off projects, submit your reports, hold any important pre-Christmas meetings, and clear your slate!
- Eat a lot of (healthy) fats
It might make sense to stuff whatever you possibly in your gullet to line your stomach. But a triple portion of mac ‘n’ cheese is not necessarily the best choice… it sounds wrong, but opting for ‘healthy fats’ like avocado or almond butter are a better choice. Maybe not together. But really - healthy fats take longer to digest than carbs which will make alcohol absorb more slowly. Salmon is also a good shout!
- Opt for decaf coffee just before
If you just can’t hold off on the coffee for now, just make sure you’re opting for decaf if you’re close to party time. Alcohol and caffeine are not always the best combo - you’ll feel more alert than just sticking to booze, but that means you might not be able to judge your tipsy levels accurately. And that, as many of us know, can be disastrous…
- Be positive
We know it’s very tempting, especially after a stiff drink, to let the resentments of the year spill out to whoever will listen. But honestly, the annual Christmas party isn’t the place to do it (save that for your unofficial drinks sesh). Keep it light, keep it positive, and focus on the fact that the year is almost over!
- Go where the action goes
Just because it starts on a river boat/bowling alley/overpriced cocktail bar doesn’t mean it has to end there. The best nights have an element of spontaneity to them, after all! So if the main crowd is heading out, it might be worth tagging along. You don’t want to miss [insert colleague] [insert hilarious mishap] do you?!
- Don’t go overboard
On that note… you want a memorable night, but you don’t necessarily want to be what’s memorable about it. So go easy on the complimentary cocktails, avoid any ill-advised photocopier action (just kidding, this isn’t the ‘90s), and definitely don’t drunkenly tell your manager what you think of them.
- Leave at the right time
It’s a fine line. Too early, and you’ll miss all the action - and your absence will be all too obvious. When Greg tripped on the stairs and drenched someone with his cranberry and vodka? Or the moment the CEO got his card out and ordered whiskey sours and chicken wings for everyone? You weren’t part of it! But… too late and you’ll have gained almost nothing, but a much, more worse hangover. Tread carefully, friend.
- Get home safely (and cheaply!)
REMEMBER YOUR ROUTE! If you’d planned for the tube, don’t fall victim to the lure of a £50+ Uber just because you reckon it’ll be faster. Now that would hurt in the morning. Similarly, head out with purpose - know where you’re going, get there safely, and go with a friend if possible…
- Buddy up if possible
On that note, buddying up is a good idea. Someone to head to the kebab shop or McDonalds with you, someone to chat to on the bus, someone to ‘debrief’ with before the official sesh the next morning. Some to remind you to chug a bottle of water. Safety and sobriety in numbers!
- Don’t call in sick
Oh come on. This is the only day of the year that you can get away with looking outrageously rough at your desk, because everyone is in the same boat. Be brave. Come in, armed with the dirtiest meal deal available (for breakfast, mind), and grin bleakly at the rest of the suffering ranks. You’ll appreciate the company.
- Try a small coffee to aid recovery
There’s mixed opinions on whether coffee actually helps or hinders. But here’s the thing - though nothing can cure a hangover, a nice cuppa can at least help you in the short term. Firstly, drinking anything is going to help - and coffee’s diuretic effect won’t cancel out the benefits from the fluid you’ll get. It’s also going to tackle that inevitable fatigue - which will at least get you through the day.
- Get a solid, sinful lunch
This might not be scientifically advisable, but you’re gonna need a lot of grease. You just are. Deep-fried anything will do, but preferably it’s got to be something that - under normal circumstances - you’d feel bad about eating. But not today. Not today.
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