Getting wasted seems to be a widely accepted pastime in western society. Unless you’re teetotal you’ll have almost certainly felt the pain of waking up with a banging head, sick stomach and crippling fatigue that can make even the smallest task seem like a massive effort. A classic hangover will always lower our vibe. But it’s nothing that a berrocca, a coffee, a couple of paracetamol and a Friends box set can’t fix is it?
That is, until the shame sets in.
We all know why our bodies feel physically sick and tired after drinking too much and we expect to feel rough after overindulging. But what about the psychological effects? The guilt? The remorse? The anxiety? The fear? What’s all that about?
There are 3 types of hangover:
- Mild – You’ve had a bit too much port with your cheese and maybe one more glass of wine than you should have. There’s very little shame here.
- Middling – The blow out. You’ve been looking forward to a big night out for ages. Maybe you haven’t seen some friends for a while or it’s a big occasion like a Birthday or Wedding. You’ve got a bit giddy. You’ve done some shots. You’ve got a bit lairy. Maybe a little inappropriate. You might have said some embarrassing things and you may have flashed your pants. But overall you genuinely had fun. It was a good night but you may cringe a little the next day. There is some shame here. But after a couple of days, you’ll forget all about it and be back to your old self.
- Monumental – Drinking to numb. You wake up with existential dread. You have blanks. At the end of the evening, you’re either in a wailing heap on the floor or you’re aggressive and insulting or even violent. You’re drinking because you’re miserable. You withdraw from your friends for a good while afterwards. You’re mortified at your behaviour and feel the all-consuming shame of being judged.
There are many ways to numb our feelings and emotions, alcohol is just one of them. The shame hangover is the difference between wanting a drink, to needing one to feel better. If those big nights out are feeling more like a shameful shambles the next day, then it might be time to start owning rather than numbing those feelings and emotions.
There’s no shame in admitting we’re in a bad place. It’s the first step to feeling better rather than pretending everything is ok, drinking to numb/escape/forget and then facing the consequences of a monumental shame hangover the next day.
Start with the Rising Vibrational Scale. Be honest about where you are and then take it from there. Tell the people you trust that you’re not ok. You’ll usually find that those closest to you know where you’re at already and they’ll be happy that you’re finally admitting it to yourself and want to feel better.
Likewise, we should never feel ashamed when we’re swinging from the chandeliers at type 2. We all deserve a blow out every now and again. Even though we may cringe the next day, nobody is judging here. If we can genuinely say we’re in a good space when we flash our frenchies then I say let’s go for it! There is no shame in enjoying a drink. Just as there is no shame in admitting we aren’t ok and we need to drink to escape our feelings and emotions.
A shame hangover can rear its ugly head in the workplace, without a drop even touching your lips. Those feelings of ‘what the hell did I do or say that for?’ happen in the workplace all the time. Ever mustered enough courage to finally tell your boss that you can’t manage your workload? Or given someone some feedback at work which didn’t go down too well? Maybe something went wrong on a project and you lashed out? If you’ve done any of these things and felt terrible about them afterwards, you’ve experienced a shame hangover.
Don’t underestimate how often shame impacts business performance. Shame stops us from fulfilling our potential. It is the ultimate low vibe emotion. So let’s do something about it. Let’s create a workplace environment that supports people to access those so-called ‘negative emotions’ that can lead to the dreaded shame hangover. Let’s cultivate a culture that enables people to own how they really feel.
Let’s call out the shame.