The 4th of July is known for a variety of things: fireworks, barbecues, and—for many—a solid amount of drinking.
And while there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself on the 4th of July, if you enjoy yourself a little too much, chances are, you’re not going to feel so hot when you wake up on the 5th.
But not to worry! The things you do the morning after a night of drinking can help you to feel better, manage your hangover, and keep you moving towards your health and fitness goals.
Here’s how to bounce back and recover if you have a little too much fun (and a few too many drinks) this 4th of July:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
One of the most common symptoms of a hangover is a pounding headache. And that hangover headache? It’s a result of dehydration.
Alcohol is a diuretic; that means, when you’re drinking alcohol, you’ll urinate more than you would if you were drinking other liquids, which can quickly lead to dehydration—and that classic morning-after headache.
That’s why, the first thing you’ll want to do when you wake up after a night of drinking? Rehydrate.
“Dehydration is one of the major causes of hangovers, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids—especially water—throughout the day,” says Lacy Ngo, MS, RDN, and founder of Mindfulness in Faith and Food, LLC. You can also alternate water with beverages that will help replenish your electrolytes (like sports drinks).
Eat a well-balanced breakfast
You may not feel like eating when you wake up with a hangover—but breakfast is a must if you want to start feeling better.
But not all breakfasts are created equal. If you want your breakfast to help kick your hangover to the curb, you need to eat the right foods—and avocado toast topped with an egg is a great place to start.
“Avocados are packed with potassium, which helps replenish electrolytes due to [alcohol-related] dehydration,” says NYC-based Registered Dietician and Nutritionist Nicole Stefanow. And eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid “which helps regulate glutathione antioxidants…[and] rid the body of toxins caused by drinking too much alcohol.”
You’ll also want to round out your breakfast with plenty of fruits and veggies. “Alcohol is considered inflammatory,” says Ngo. “So, when you feel like eating, fill your plate with anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables to help your body fight the alcohol-induced inflammation.”
Some great anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your 5th of July breakfast include tomatoes, leafy greens (like kale and spinach), and berries.
Spice things up with ginger
Depending on what and how much you drank on the 4th, you may wake up on the 5th feeling sick to your stomach—and if that’s the case, the best remedy may be in the produce aisle.
“According to…research, ginger appears to relieve nausea for many,” says Ngo. So, if your tummy is having a tough time recovering from your 4th of July festivities, “you may want to try adding some fresh ginger to your meals and drinks,” Ngo suggests.
If you want a simple way to get some ginger in your system (and get any nausea under control), try making a batch of ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger in hot water.
Take it easy
You may be tempted to hit the gym hard on the 5th to “make up” for the fun you had on the 4th—but trying to push yourself through a crazy workout when you’re exhausted and hungover isn’t going to make you feel better.
“Sometimes, we want to punish ourselves for the overindulgence [of a too-fun holiday] by hitting the gym hard the next day or running miles on end to ‘sweat it out,’” says Tami Smith, Certified Personal Trainer and Owner of Fit Healthy Momma. “I highly advise against this.”
Instead, Smith suggests taking it easy and allowing yourself time to recover (and if you must exercise, not to do anything too demanding).
“Let your body recover naturally. Rest, drink fluids, eat nourishing meals, and, if you feel like it, do some light movement,” says Smith. “Walks, yoga, or stretching are my go-to’s.”
Cut yourself some slack
No one enjoys waking up with a hangover—and because you wake up not feeling great, you may be tempted to beat yourself up over the drinks you had the night before that are making you not feel great.
But there is zero reason to beat yourself up for enjoying yourself! “Don’t be too hard on yourself!,” says Smith. “Yes, you’re not feeling the best. But did you enjoy yourself in the moment? Did you make memories? If yes, then focus on that.”
And if you’re concerned that your night of partying (and all the drinks and food that went along with it) are going to derail your health and fitness goals, try not to stress too much; as long as 4th of July-style festivities are the exception—and not the rule—they shouldn’t put you too far off track.
“Remember, it was just one night; one special occasion,” says Smith. “It’s what you do most of the time—not some of the time—that matters the most.”
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