How to Heal from an Emotional Hangover

June 28, 2016

Much like drinking a little too much the night before can leave you feeling wretched the next morning, a day during which you experience more difficult or negative emotions than usual can leave you feeling emotionally sore, raw, or even numb the following day. For me, a day of challenging emotions almost always guarantees that the next morning will find me exhausted—physically, mentally, and emotionally. My body will feel heavy and lethargic, I’ll have difficulty focusing on my work, and I will often lack interest in the things that normally excite me. I call this an emotional hangover.

Fortunately, it never takes me too long to rally. Over the years, I’ve curated, if you will, an arsenal of peaceful, soul-boosting tactics to help me get back into my groove after something or a series of events have drained my happy fizz.

How to Heal from an Emotional Hangover

Eat, drink, and be merry. By this, I mean: eat healthy whole foods and drink plenty of water (or green juice). In some ways, an emotional hangover affects your body like a post-partying hangover. Sure, shedding tears may not dehydrate you the way a drinking a bottle of pinot might (still waiting to see the data, though). But considering the fact that a great deal of your energy has been focused on what’s troubling you, your body needs true nourishment from energy-rich foods. The act of providing yourself with good, healthy food is also an act of self-care—and self-care is the surest route to recovery from an emotional hangover.

Find time for yourself. Being alone and away from other’s input on the issue can help you reconnect with your perspective and how you feel most comfortable approaching the situation (if it needs to be approached–certain things are best left alone!). You may find it helpful to write in a journal or do something that takes your mind off of the situation. If I can get away from things for a bit, I will go for a walk, read a novel, or tune out with Netflix. Getting space from the issue helps remind me that the world is more than the problems I’ve been experiencing. Of course, we don’t want to try to completely evade the issues in our lives, but taking time for yourself can press the “reset” button on your emotions and your energy.

Be around others. Just like taking time for yourself can help you regain perspective, so can being around others. If I’ve just come off of a challenging day in one sphere of my life, I find it refreshing to be in another sphere of my life for a bit. Of course, these “spheres” aren’t completely separate of one another, but being around, say, your colleagues at work may help you heal from a challenging day at home—or vice versa. It’s not even necessary to share your dilemma with others to benefit from their presence.  If you do talk to someone about your feeling, however, try these smart reframing techniques.

Work it out. Sometimes, a good workout can be cathartic and healing. You can even (roughly) tailor your workout to the emotions you’re hungover from. If you were experiencing anger or frustration, a restorative yoga practice may help you release tension from the neck, shoulders, spine, and anywhere else your body “holds” these emotions. You can also try yoga for a particular chakra. For example, if you’re seeking to invite more love and compassion in your life, try a heart-opening sequence (target 4th chakra). If your emotional hangover has left you feeling burned out, lackluster, or numb, a faster-paced workout, like gentle running or dance, may help reenergize you.

Pamper yourself. Yes! Treat yourself to something that’s purely for you. Although self-care is often associated with bubble baths and warm mugs of tea, your version of self-care may look a little different. While baths and tea are some of my favorite things, I often find healing in cleaning. For others, this may sound like work, but for me, there’s something quite soothing wiping down a dusty surface. Sure, others benefit from my cleaning, but I’m often doing it just for me 😉 Find that thing you’ve been wanting to do, and make time for it—whatever that is. Your soul will thank you.

What are your methods for healing an emotional hangover?

Related: Vinyasa Flow for Stress Relief

The Best Lesson I Had on Healing Relationships

10 Quotes for a Moment of Self-Love

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Photo: Angelina Litvin via Unsplash

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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