London has a "work hard, play hard" mentality, which means mid-week drinking is commonplace.
After moving there a few years ago, I quickly learned that although Thursdays may be the new Fridays, Fridays are most certainly not the new Saturdays.
I was in dire need of a strategy to survive office hours in a subpar physical state. Perhaps not my proudest accomplishment, but a vital one, I now consider myself somewhat of an expert at pulling off the workday hangover.
As you fight through all of the holiday parties, now is as good a time as any to bestow some of my gathered wisdom for not coming across as an absolute train wreck at the office.
1. Be prepared
We've all heard that failing to plan is planning to fail, and even though I'm fairly certain Alan Lakein wasn't talking about how to hide your hangover up in the workplace, I believe his wise words are applicable.
If you know your evening will include more than a little holiday cheer, spend the last hour of your workday preparing for the next.
Make yourself a foolproof "to do" list that even a small child could follow; draft emails that need to go out with some sensible sentence structure and reschedule any important face-to-face meetings.
Your future self will be so grateful that you held your hand through this rough day, you might even buy yourself a drink.
2. Water is your friend
While you're out, keep in mind that hydration is key. Having one water to every two cocktails will be a Godsend the next morning.
To avoid the "Are you seriously drinking water?" hecklers, make sure your H2O is disguised as a vodka with a slice of lemon and some ice.
3. Shots are not your friend
Just say "no" to all of the boys: Jack, Johnny and Jose.
4. Eat before you sleep
Whether your guilty pleasure is the $1 slice or a super-sized fries, eating something before bed will be your absolute savior. Waking up in a combined state of hangover and hungry is a surefire way to induce nausea.
And, being hungry and nauseous at the same time is just about the worst catch 22 on the planet. Be proactive here, folks: Absorb that alcohol and line that stomach with some grease.
5. Get some sleep
I wish I could give you some firsthand advice on this one, but it's the rule I haven't come close to mastering. All I know is falling asleep on your keyboard is frowned upon. (And, that is firsthand knowledge.)
6. Showering isn't optional
You might think another nine minutes of sleep will make you feel better, but fight the urge to push that snooze button! A shower isn't sufficiently replaced by an extra spray of cologne and swipe of deodorant.
All night, your body has tried to expel your bad decisions toxins, and you need to wash them down the drain. No one wants to smell last night's pinot oozing from your pores in the boardroom.
7. You're only as hungover as you look
Nothing will sell you out faster than rolling into work with bedhead or a ponytail, sporting oversized sunglasses and an outfit you clearly picked out with your eyes closed. Have an expedited morning regime, full of smoke and mirrors.
Ladies, a chic office-appropriate dress and the right amount of blush applied throughout the day will keep you from looking like the walking dead. Gents, whatever you do, make sure your shirt is pressed and your facial hair is in check.
Eye drops work wonders for both sexes, too.
8. Keep your glass as full as you did the night before
Rule #8 is arguably the most important of all the rules. Liquids are a hungover person's most loyal companion. Ensure you are stocked up on electrolyte-filled drinks, like coconut water or even those artificially-colored sports drinks.
Keep in mind, though, that this is a telltale sign you were hitting the bottle, so use discretion when disguising these little lifesavers.
Coffee can be intense if you're struggling, but having a cup to sip on steadily throughout the day and maintain a respectable level of caffeine in your bloodstream will help keep your eyes open.
Or, find yourself a caffeine drip.
9. Feed your hangover
Your body will be begging you for fatty, salty foods. You crave burgers, but, truthfully, avocado and salmon will do the trick faster than the former without the crash during digestion.
I'll go ahead and call a spade a spade here: We both know you're getting a burger. And, get the fries, too. You've made it halfway through the day, and you deserve it!
Be sure to also stop and grab a pack of potato chips to fight off that afternoon lull.
10. Have an escape route
When all else fails and you have absolutely no choice but to call in sick, only make the dreaded call within the sweet spot.
Anytime before 6 am, you look as though you're either still out or you didn't attempt to get to work, should "the bug" happened to pass.
Anything after 8 am, it seems like you're enjoying your sleep a bit too much for a person who intended to make it to the office.
Though this may be an obvious point, I feel I still need to say it: Be sure to scour all social media for any incriminating pictures or tweets that prove your food poisoning is truly alcohol poisoning before placing the call.
Combine the above without dragging your feet around the office and moaning, and you should be able to pull off the act. Hopefully, these guidelines become as invaluable to you as they've proven to be for me.