May 25, 2020
The lights, the party, the music, the euphoria…. the comedown. The morning after a big party is never fun is it? Whether what you’ve taken is legal or not, or indeed, if you went to bed sufficiently late, even if you’ve not taken anything. And beyond just your physical health, comedowns can feel pretty gloomy. “How do I hide a comedown?” we hear some of you ask. Not really possible. Going to work hungover? Bad idea. Take care of your body and mind instead. Some of the ideas below are very simple, some can be done together, and some require a bit more investment, try them out, mix and match, and see what self-care routine works for you.
- Eat, hydrate, and sleep
- Practice mindfulness
- Have a warm bath
- Try deep breathing
- Listen to music
- Ground yourself
- Spend time with loved ones and/or animals
What is a comedown?
When you experience a comedown (or crash), it’s essentially a form of withdrawal as a consequence of taking a recreational drug. But it’s also because of the exhaustion your body feels from staying up late and partying into the night, as well as any other unwanted chemicals that might have been in your substance of choice. It can be tempting to simply redose (hair of the dog anyone?), but that really won’t do you any good long-term. Make sure to get lots of sleep, hydrate plenty (but not too much!), and eat nutritious food that’s high in protein. Pop a multivitamin if you’ve got some lying around, or buy a supplement kit.
Your body might feel like it’s been through a meat processor, but make sure to think about your mind as well. How do you feel? Are you sadder than usual? Mindfulness, deep breathing, and grounding can be helpful in dealing with this. Learn more below.
Mindfulness is the practice of being totally and utterly in the present. It helps you reconnect with yourself and cope through the feelings associated with a comedown. Indigenous cultures have used mindfulness for a long time, in combination with immersing themselves in nature, to help connect, mind, body and spirit when treating mental health conditions. Learn more about mindfulness from Mind.
After a night of partying, you’ll probably feel pretty rubbish. Whether that’s low mood, increased anxiety, or feeling physically ill. Finding mindfulness in nature is a way to ground oneself and regulate our mood. Nature immersion is just one tip to support a sense of mindfulness, however, you can find your own path to reach a sense of awareness and oneness in a space you feel comfortable and can relax in. Check out some exercises. You can also try out Mindful.
Mindful or deep breathing can reduce stress and promote calm. Perfect for that pesky comedown. In these modern times, it’s easy to get caught up in emotional dysregulation and societal pressures, and as such, we often forget to breathe properly. Therefore, pay attention to your breathing, is your breathing shallow and originating from the chest? If yes, then bring your attention to your breathing.
Bring relaxation to your breathing and focus it to the belly (as opposed to your chest). Try to breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 2. Repeating this slow, controlled breathing style.
For more mindful breathing tips check this out.
Grounding (or centering) is a technique which can help you detach and find freedom from emotional pain, find moments of self-awareness, and center oneself from anguish, anxiety, or fear. There are many different ways of grounding yourself. The goal is to shift attention away from negative energies, to remove inward turmoil and focus on the external world with a mindful awareness of our present moment there (avoid thinking about the future and dwelling in the past). Grounding can be done inconspicuously at any time anywhere making it a wonderful strategy to cope with negative feelings experienced during a comedown.
Here’s some exercises to try out.
- count to 10
- say the alphabet incredibly slowly
- play the categories game with yourself (ie try to name dog breeds until you can't think of anymore, try and think of countries that start with the letter C).
- sit heavy by pulling yourself into your chair, placing feet firmly on the floor, feeling every part of the physical world in contact with your body.
- Touch various objects around you and notice the sensations (cold, hard, soft, textured).
- Eat something and notice the flavours
- think of your favorite things (favorite animal, season etc)
- picture people who mean a lot to you
- think about a safe place.
It’s important to distinguish mindfulness/ meditation with grounding. Mindfulness often asks you to turn inward, maybe close your eyes, and focus on breathing with an intention to find relaxation. Grounding, on the other hand, is active and dynamic. In grounding you keep your senses alert while you begin to truly notice the external world around you. You may choose grounding as a strategy that works for you if going inward is too painful or difficult of an experience.
When you should seek further help
If you feel that you can’t cope with negative feelings, substance use or any other issue associated with your life, it is ok to seek help. It may be difficult to ask for help, however, it is important because no one can or should do it alone. Here are some resources to help out.
Find a help line near you (Global)
Kids Help Phone (Canada)
Get Self-Help (UK)
Reach Out (AU)
This post was created for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. All drugs pose risks, and the best way to avoid them is not to take any, but we understand that people still choose to. Drugs and Me exists to provide you with information about drugs, helping to reduce their harms based on the best evidence available. Take a look at our various guides to find out how you can stay safe.
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