Vlad Lazarenko

... making all this up as I go along

Coding While Hungover

Hooked up with Bender last night and woke up with a gong banging in your head? Have to work today, used up all of your sick days and calling in dead is not an option? Welcome to the club! Now you have to get up and drag your sick body to work. But the biggest challenge today is to survive long working hours. We’ve put up a few tips to help you do just that.


A good shower helps you feel better, clean and refreshed. It helps even more during hangover by washing off toxins that your body’s excretory system flushes out though the largest organ of your body, your skin. Of course, body does it all the time, but the amount of toxins is increased during the next day or two after drinking. So don’t make today an exception and take a shower. But before you start singing your favorite tune while washing off the toxins, ensure a normal water temperature. Water too hot or too cold might put an extra stress on your body, so maintaining a moderate temperature might help avoid further complications.


Your whole body including the brain is sucked dry. Dehydration may cause thirst, dry mouth, dizziness and other unpleasant phenomena. To help your body get rid of ethanol and acetaldehyde, consider constantly refilling your body’s water supplies.

Beware that some online sources recommend drinking coconut water. That’s a trap! It is well known that coconut water can cause a diarrhea in some people – the last thing you need right now.

For better results, you may want to drink mineral water or orange juice for some Citric Acid and Vitamin C. If you decide to go for a juice, make sure you get a natural one. Stay away from supermarket solutions even if they read “all natural”. Make sure you either make the juice yourself from the fresh oranges or you witness the process.

Keep the fluid supply coming throughout the day.


Pain Killers

Avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen or similar painkillers including special brands like Alka-Seltzer. Instead of helping you, liver killers have an opposite effect and make you feel worse by putting extra load on your liver, increasing blood alcohol concentration and making it harder for you to recover.

Try to stay off drinking caffeine and smoking cigarettes as well, those only make things worse.

Of course, the headache may be so severe that you’d rather chop off your head to stop the sufferings. If that’s the case, you may want to take some aspiring to get through the day. But don’t take too much.

Charcoal Activated

The best pill to take during hangover is activated charcoal. It helps your body detox a lot quicker. It is also known as activated carbon or activated coal. You can get this finest natural absorbent agent without over the counter in your local pharmacy or online.

Eat Up

When hung over, make sure you are not a diet. Do not limit yourself and try to consume at least half of your daily calories in this meal. There are certain foods recommended when coping with hangover because they help restore resources your body needs the most at a moment.

  • Honey. Bee’s gift to humankind helps your fructose levels. If you cannot eat it like Winnie Pooh, you can add it to your tea or warm boiling water for a more diluted and less sweet way to consume honey.
  • Bananas help to restore potassium in your body that was washed off by increased diuresis last night.
  • Soups and eggs might help to bring in vitamins and amino acids as well.

Some people recommend eating a few raw eggs — we would recommend to keep away from those. Technically they may help to cure a hangover, but they are also a great source of salmonella, which is a lot worse than a hangover. So do not bear unnecessary risks.

And of course beacon. Beacon is great under all circumstances.

Hair of the dog

No matter what happens – do not drink more. There is a big difference between hangover and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The first is pretty normal for most healthy people. The second is what happens to alcoholics when they stop drinking. If you dare to drink while hungover, you would pretty much make a big step forward towards alcoholism.

This is of course not to mention that being drunk at work is not illegal per se, but most company have a special section in work contract that you have signed that pretty much says they can fire you right away for being drunk. It is a lot better to appear tired at work rather than a drunken idiot who gets fired.

Avoid Working

Since you are an engineer, chances are that you love what you are doing. Try to avoid doing things you do not like. If you have a large piece of software to code or a list of important changes to make, find something else to do today.

Try to participate in more meetings, especially those in which you are not supposed to give a speech. Checking out your coworker’s meeting schedules might help you find a way to spend an hour or two without coding, and you might as well learn something new and interesting.

Ask Others For Help

Even if you are a rockstar programmer and know everything better than others, asking a colleague to explain software architecture, pretend you cannot wrap your head around some piece of logic and ask to help you write it, or even ask to walk you through your colleagues productivity workflow tricks like his or her favorite editor and its capability would certainly be your smart moves.

This may let you sit back and listen for a while instead of staring at your code. It will also make you build stronger relationships with your colleagues. Remember – people love when others ask them questions. They love when others ask them to help. It makes them feel important. Social creatures.

Minimize The Damage

If you still must write some code, try to minimize the damage. Before you start, make sure everything that you do not screw up the code you wrote a day before. Chances are that what you have written a day before is better than what you are about to craft while sick.

The first step is to check what changes are uncommitted. You risk losing your work by not checking for that. Not because of a hard drive failure, but because it might be very difficult to distinguish good code from bad later.

The more you have uncommitted is better. But do not rush to commit just yet. There might have been something unfinished that you don’t quite remember about. But most importantly, this code might be your ticket to doing nothing today as you can commit it by the end of day and pretend you were working hard all day.

So instead of committing, make a private backup copy (or two). Then focus on making this code look better. Apply some code refactoring and unit testing skills, add more features, have fun. You can always run the diff tool against directory (diff –dru) to see what you have changed. If confident enough, commit your work by the end of the day. If not, leave it for tomorrow. You can always say you forgot to do that – no biggie.

Take A Nap

If possible, try to use some time for a nap. Lunch hour might be a good opportunity for that. If you do not have a safe place in your office and hiding in the closet does not sound like a good idea, make sure to schedule a spa session in a nearby saloon. You can always tell them you just want to sleep – nobody cares as long as you pay for a session (and what if they are hungoever, too?). Just don’t forget to ask for a wake up call or your colleagues might start worrying if you never come back.

Take a Dump

Take a dump. Really. You won’t find this advice at other places online a lot. We don’t know whether this is because of censorships or authors not feeling confident enough to talk about hangover shit. But we assure you — taking a good dump is one of the most effective ways to cure a hangover as it helps the body get rid of the toxins. For obvious reasons, we recommend you take this step first, even before showering. The only reason why this does not appear as the first advice is to not scare off some readers right away.

Don’t Mention

Unless of course it was a corporate party or a casual “getting hammered” Thursday night with your colleagues, never mention that you have a hangover. That’s simply not the way to get others to sympathize; it works the other way around.

Try to look fresh, use some eye drops to reduce redness, make sure to brush your teeth every one-two hours to have a fresh breath, and if somebody asks if you are OK, tell you have a migraine.


In case you accidentally fall asleep at work and somebody wakes you up, immediately say “Amen. Sorry I was praying.” Nobody in their right mind would have anything against you pray. We have a freedom of religion, after all.

And remember, the best way to fight a hangover is to not drink alcohol in a first place.

As always, thanks for reading!