Break Free from Ennui

Today, we’re going to talk about how to break free from ennui. Since my 7th grade French class left me ill-prepared to hold a meaningful conversation au Francais about anything other than vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and orange juice, I had to learn about ennui from Michel on “The Gilmore Girls”. Ennui is defined as a feeling of weariness, dissatisfaction, or boredom. Or as I like to think of it, ennui is French for, “Meh.”

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We’ve all felt it. At least I think we’ve all felt it. Perhaps you’re some sort of Pollyanna pod person who is constantly filled with joue de vivre. (Before you start thinking that 7th grade French class paid off after all, you should know I picked that up from the theme song of The Nanny.)

If you’re not a pod person, here are some suggestions for getting out of that ennui funk:

  • Try a change of scenery. Get out of the house and do something. Anything! Well, do something that makes you happy. Meet a friend for coffee. Cruise the clearance section at Target. Browse in a bookstore. Or plan a getaway.
  • Play with a pet. There’s a reason pet videos are all over the internet. They’re cute and funny.

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  • Take up a cause. Stop thinking about yourself and find a cause to champion. Volunteer at an animal shelter, read to kids in an afterschool program, or play Scrabble with some senior citizens.
  • Enjoy some aromatherapy. Use some common or uncommon scents. Play around with essential oils or enjoy the aroma of a fun candle.The smell of good, old-fashioned Coppertone sunscreen makes me feel like I’m a kid bobbing around a swimming pool in an inner tube. The Yankee candle “sandcastle” scent reminds me of that Coppertone smell. Sure that’s probably not what the good people at Yankee were going for, but it works for me. I light it on gloomy days when I’m missing the sun and longing for an inner tube. Find your happy smell!

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  • Take a class. While not something that would improve my outlook, I have a friend who is thrilled to be taking a college calculus class. This same friend also takes a pole dancing class and enjoys scuba diving. Come to think of it, she may be a pod person because she never complains of ennui.
  • Learn a new skill. Have you always wanted to learn to knit, cook Indian food, make your own lip balm, or fold cloth napkins into swans? Whatever you want to learn, there’s a YouTube video for that!  

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  • Rediscover an old hobby. Do you have a closet full of craft supplies you no longer use, a guitar that’s collecting dust, or a box of notes for your great American novel? If there’s something you used to enjoy, but haven’t done in ages, maybe it’s time to give it another go.
  • Exercise. Exercise doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym (though you can if you wish). You could take a walk, do some yoga, or play a game of backyard badminton.

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  • Host an imaginary talk show. While this may not work for everyone, I’m having a grand ol’ time!

If all else fails, try saying, “ennui,” three times fast. Ennui, ennui, ennui!

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