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1st December 2022

Handling a Hangover (the Scandinavian way)

A trip to Copenhagen reformed my world view on how to handle a hangover. Scandinavian girls just seem to have got it. So how do British girls get it too?
Handling a Hangover (the Scandinavian way)
Photo: Lexie Baynes @ The Mancunion

In September, I went to Copenhagen for a city break. As much as I enjoy poking fun at the classic ‘I found myself in Thailand’ gap year girlie, I did find myself in Copenhagen. As soon as I arrived back in Luton, I decided I wanted to be a Scandi girl. They just seem so organised, clean, fresh-faced, and strangely sprightly — essentially everything you are not when you are hungover.

As much as a Scandi girl autumn was pending, the classic university lifestyle of waking up weaker than a duckling before a 10am lecture didn’t go hand in hand. So, I compromised between playing my hangover safely like a Brit and stimulating myself like a Scandi girl.

Playing it safe

One of the first things I do when I grapple with emerging from bed land (bedlam?) is chug lemon water. The lemons are only added if I feel like treating myself, but lemon water has proven health benefits, such as promoting hydration and digestion. Everyone knows you need as much water as possible after a heavy night (don’t bother if you’ve gone to Cargo).

If you are drinking water, you may as well eat too. A breakfast dryer than the Sahara desert — toast, a buttered bagel, or cereal — is guaranteed to stay in your stomach and help you feel better. Food helps to increase your blood sugar levels, which significantly drop when you consume alcohol, so anything ranging from one piece of toast to a full English breakfast is essential to beating a hangover.

One thing I hate about hangovers is feeling hungover. Knowing that I can feel Allen’s peri-salted chips in my stomach or the cheapest white wine on my teeth is horrendous. Surprisingly, many people don’t brush their teeth after a night out and proceed to collapse in bed. My only response is to grab your toothbrush and get to grips with oral hygiene.

The final piece of advice to playing it safe is to admit to yourself that you’re hungover but lie into an un-indulgent time, say, 11am. You still have time to seize the day, but your body feels rested.

Stimulating yourself

One of the best things for me is to go for a walk. Just face the fresh morning air (and the public) and get some steps in. It is great for your body and brain and feels like you are cheating your hangover. Everyone always seems amazed when they spot me in the kitchen with a coat and shoes on while they are in a dressing gown with their feet raw-dogging the kitchen floor. AirPods in, cue SZA and The 1975, and get moving (or stumbling).

Although it feels like you will faint in the shower, a shower is key to stopping a hangover. In fact, the ‘breakfast-walk-shower-skincare’ pipeline makes it feel like you didn’t even go out last night. Grab that shower gel and give yourself a vigorous scrub before slathering skincare all over your face. You will feel a million times better for it — clean, fresh, and awake. Sooo Scandi.

This next one is the epitome of a Scandi girl: Fill a bowl with cold water, add some ice cubes, and submerge your face. This technique helps with literally anything — it relieves puffy eyes, gets the blood pumping around your face, and gives your face a glowy and natural look. Pale and clammy skin? Be gone!

Eating ginger biscuits in the morning seems random, but it does the trick. Ginger is known for its medicinal qualities; it reduces nausea, makes you feel less shaky, regulates your body temperature, and soothes your digestive system, so everything stays down and in. Plus, a sweet treat in the morning? What a win.

Finally, the ‘hair of the dog’ method. Back in the 1920s, advertisements for Guinness claimed that it was good for you — and it apparently is. Drinking a Guinness the morning after effectively reduces hangover symptoms, as Guinness is filled with all but one of the B nutrients and irons (who knew?). Guinness restores whatever your body lacks, but drinking during a hangover feels theoretically wrong. You decide where you stand on this.

A hangover is like a game of Russian roulette: you don’t know what you will get. Sometimes after a night at 42s, you feel nothing the next morning except a loss of dignity. Yet other times, after a night at XLR, you feel like the grimiest bin rat ever. But hopefully, these suggestions will help you cheat your next hangover while feeling like a Scandi girl.

Alexandra Baynes

Alexandra Baynes

Head Editor of Opinion Section. Radio Host on Fuse FM. Twitter: @lexiebayness

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