Beer gardens, boozing and brimming with fear: Overcoming hangxiety on Bank holiday Monday

The existential fear that comes after a weekend of drinking is almost enough to put you off for life. Almost – but probably won’t. So how do we get over the dreaded hangxiety?

Whether you’ve spent your bank holiday weekend bottomless brunching or just breaking into the bubbly, the chances are you may now be feeling very sorry for yourself.

Hangxiety – a very real concept which comes the morning after a big night of drinking, and combines your regular hangover (which is more than bad enough) with extreme feelings of embarrassment and shame.

So, if you’re currently lying in bed hating yourself for falling over in front of everyone, throwing up in the street or THAT phone call you made to your ex, we’re here to hopefully ease any worries you’re experiencing, and remind you that this feeling is perfectly normal. 

So, what’s the science behind it? According to Drink Aware, it is all down to GABA, a chemical in the brain which relaxes you. Heavy drinking can deplete GABA, resulting in increased feelings of panic – hence the hangxiety. 

The most important thing to remember is that these heightened anxious feelings are only ever temporary. While in the moment, simply getting through the day feels like a monumental task, the low mood will pass, and at worst, will be with you for a day, maybe two. 

While getting ourselves in drunken states is probably not ideal, it is very expected of us during our ‘messy years’. Letting your hair down over the bank holiday, having fun with your friends and enjoying some drinks is not something you should punish yourself for, no matter how bad you may feel the next morning. So, if you have to tell yourself ‘it’s all for the plot’ to help you get through the day, then so be it.

To help you get through the day, we spoke to Kristie Tse, a mental health counsellor who has experience dealing with young people struggling with alcohol anxiety. 

“Overcoming anxious thoughts the day after alcohol consumption requires a combination of strategies aimed at managing stress and promoting mental wellbeing”, Kristie explained. “But practising mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, so practising deep breathing and muscle relaxation is a good place to start.

“Try light exercise as well, even if it’s just a 30 minute walk, it will release endorphins to improve your mood and lower your stress levels. Avoiding excessive caffeine and sugar will also reduce anxiety, and opting for foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins. Obviously also try to connect with your family and friends around you, as it provides emotional support and prevents feelings of isolation.”

Obviously, if these anxious feelings persist, or you really are worried, there is plenty of support available, such as Samaritans or Mind, where you can access advice for any mental health struggles you may be having.

However, if it is just the usual hangxiety, try not to hate yourself for your drunken mistakes, and remember there are thousands of people all feeling the same way this bank holiday Monday, so you are most definitely not alone in your regretful state, and the feelings will certainly pass.

But if you did by any chance break a rib by falling off the table you were dancing on, a hungover trip to A & E is probably the best option. 

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