Potato pancakes, penne quattro formaggio, double-fudge macaroons. It was your neighbor's holiday shindig, and you didn't want to insult her by not trying everythingat least once. Now you feel bloated, nauseated, and disgusting. "It's the ultimate yuck feeling," says Cindy Yoshida, MD, a gastroenterologist in Charlottesville, Virginia, and author of No More Digestive Problems. "Higher-fat foods empty a lot more slowly from the stomach," she says, which means part of last night's meal might still be with you the next day.
Our get-better-fast plan
Give Your Tummy a Break. Don't eat until you're hungry. "And then have smaller meals that are relatively low in calories and fat and high in fiber for the rest of the day," Yoshida says. That will stimulate your gastrointestinal tract and get things moving.
Your least-favorite relative insisted on a holiday visit this year. As usual, she showers the kids with love and lootand drives you insane with subtle cut-downs. After 24 hours you've turned into a snapping turtle, you're exhausted, and you can almost feel the steam coming out of your ears. Yes, you have a stress hangover. Stress hormones sweeping through your body can make you restless, wound-up, and unable to sleep, says Amy Flowers, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Macon, Georgia.
Take a Walk. Exercise can help the stress hormones beat a hasty retreat, Flowers says.
Maybe you led the caroling at the office bash, or stayed up all night gabbing with your sisters the one time a year you get together. But today? You are hoarse, and even a whisper is painful. That's your vocal cordsred, irritated, and swollentelling you they're overused, says C. Richard Stasney, MD, director of the Texas Voice Center and a clinical associate professor of otolaryngology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Shh. Ideally, rest your voice for a day or two. But even a few hours will help, Stasney says.
You went a little wild
Who has time for bedroom gymnastics when you've got a gazillion gifts to buy? Certainly not you ... until last night, that is, when you and hubby caught Julia Roberts and Jude Law in Closer on cable. By the flick's end, you were so charged up you had the best sex of your life. You're not too sorryexcept it's uncomfortable even to sit down this morning. Just one night of passion can cause tiny tears in the entrance to your vagina, says David E. Soper, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. And if you're running to the bathroom every 30 seconds and it burns when you pee, you have typical symptoms of "honeymoon cystitis."
Baby Your Bottom. A warm bath or cool compresses can be soothing; afterward, pat the area dry. Also, wear loose cotton clothes to avoid friction.
A glass of your favorite pinot noir seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the season. But that second bottle probably wasn't such a good idea. Now you have a classic hangover: headache, nausea, fatigue, and shakiness. Otherwise known as veisalgia, these symptoms are the result of dehydration (because alcohol impairs the kidneys' ability to hold onto fluids), poor sleep (because alcohol alters levels of certain neurotransmitters, causing brain cells to be hyperexcitable), and inflammation (because the impurities in most alcoholic drinks lead to an inflammatory response that produces flulike symptoms like achy muscles), says hangover researcher Jeffrey Wiese, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
Sleep in or Take a Nap. "It may help to try to get a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning," Wiese says. "Every additional hour you can get will help you recover."
You OD'd on caffeine
The boss won't fault you for gulping down extra-strength venti lattes so you can finish all your projects before the holidays. But your body probably will. You might feel restless and nervous, and your thoughts may race at breakneck speed. "Caffeine in high doses can feel like a panic or anxiety attack," says Jim Lane, PhD, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. So when the boss has a few questions about those projects, you may overreact. "Caffeine also triggers the release of adrenaline, which seems to magnify the stress response," Lane explains.
Know the Signs. The kick typically starts within 20 to 30 minutes, and it takes about 4 hours for half of the caffeine in your blood to be eliminated, Lane says. You can't hasten its exit, but it might help to acknowledge why you feel jumpy and realize the feeling will go away.
A wee-hours Web-shopping blitz is sure to cheat you out of major shut-eye. That means you'll wake up feeling foggy, groggy, and totally unprepared to tackle a to-do list. "If you sleep only 4 hours a night, you'll perform as well as if you were legally drunk," says Joyce Walsleben, RN, PhD, a sleep expert at the New York University School of Medicine and co-author of A Woman's Guide to Sleep. A lack of sleep can also curb your ability to fight off infections.
Lighten Up. The morning after, sit near a sundrenched window or take a walk in the sun for 20 minutes; the light promotes alertness by turning off your body's production of melatonin, which makes you sleepy.
A kickboxing class plus your usual routine seemed like a perfect way to work off holiday bloat. But supersizing your workout can lead to delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMSwhen it hurts to get out of bed. "You may actually have caused some microscopic tears to the muscle tissues and the tendon attachments," explains Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. "While your body tries to repair itself, inflammation impinges on the nerves surrounding the muscles, producing pain." DOMS usually goes away in 48 to 72 hours.
Hop Back on the Horse. Whole-body exercise (swimming, for instance, or riding a stationary bike with movable handlebars) at a gentle intensity will restore range of motion to your muscles, Bryant says.