Loud music, laughter, and bright lights are all ingredients for a memorable night out. However, for many of us, the morning after can bring an unexpected companion, and not always the good kind.
Though it sounds fake, hangxiety is very real, and manifests as that terrible feeling of dread and disgust that plagues us after a night of drinking. It’s the uninvited guest crashing your after-party, asking questions like, “Did I really do the worm at Ale last night?”
Spoiler alert: yes, you did.
To set the record straight, we all experience hangxiety differently. While the symptoms—fatigue, nervousness, and regret—and severity fluctuate, you should know you’re not alone.
Whether it’s the fear of embarrassing moments, social faux pas, or the nagging worry of how others perceive us, hangxiety has the power to ruin even the most enjoyable nights.
The reasoning behind it is simple.
Alcohol disrupts typical brain functioning, inducing a relaxed state by —to counterbalance the reduced GABA, creating a chemical imbalance that triggers anxiety. On top of that, alcohol also triggers the release of cortisol, the main stress hormone, heightening already existing feelings of anxiety beyond the normal level.
Trust me when I say the morning after a night out drinking is the worst. Instead of laughing with your housemates during the morning debrief, you’re left questioning every word uttered, every dance move executed, and every decision made the night before.
Though it might feel like the end of the world the next morning, whatever you did or said last night that’s currently bringing you anxiety or making you feel embarrassed is probably not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The world didn’t end because you sent that one drunk text; we’ve all been there, and you have nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re not a bad person for having a good time, and while you may have done a questionable thing or two, you owned it (or at least I hope you did).
If you’re worried about being judged, just remember the people you were with are probably feeling the same way. Whatever it is you’re overthinking, they’re likely not even thinking about. To be real, they probably won’t even remember until they open their camera roll to an incriminating photo of you, and if they’re a real friend, you two can laugh at it together.
To mitigate hangxiety, get out your head by getting out of your bed. Whether you choose to spend your day studying, reconnecting with nature, or watching your favourite guilty pleasure tv show is none of my business, but it’ll undoubtedly make you feel better.
Grounding yourself and controlling your responses to hangxiety can improve your day ahead. Drink a glass of water, nourish your body—after a rough night, out all food is good food—pop a Tylenol and push through the pain.
I know it’s cliché, but nobody’s perfect. Show yourself a little compassion even if it doesn’t feel like you deserve it. It’s normal to feel this way and remember that you only live once.
Hangxiety may be an unwelcome guest, but with the right mindset and effective strategies, it doesn’t have to overstay its welcome like your last hookup.
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