White sandy beach background with text title: Burnout Prevention Plan

I know we don’t typically associate BURNOUT with summer but depending on how strong your drive for productivity and achievement is, it doesn’t matter what season it is.

If you keep moving the finish line, you forget to rest and appreciate the present moment.

Here’s the bottom line. Summer can be a stressful time for many of us.  Experiencing stress is normal but I believe with the right tools and strategies we can avoid burnout, bounce back from setbacks with grace AND not miss out on the joys of summer.

The first step in a burnout prevention plan is to check-in with yourself so you can recognize your warning signs of excessive stress. Remember they can be sneaky and show up as anger, fear or manifest into physical symptoms if ignored. If you want a refresher on the warning signs of burnout for each Enneagram type read this post.

Next we need to identify WHY we are feeling frustrated and stressed. Is it a situation, a person or our current mindset?

Try to take a step back and get some clarity on the root cause of the stress you’re experiencing.

Right now, I’m feeling frustrated with my attempts to work from home with my family around.  I’m also feeling bad that I can’t just block out all the distractions and focus on my work. Everything is taking so long to complete!! I must not be trying hard enough or there is something wrong with me.

Yes, those thoughts are unhelpful and NOT true.

Now I realize that the beautiful work space I’ve created is impractical. I’ve chosen to set up my office in our loft which means the light is amazing AND I can hear everything that is going on in our main living space because it’s all open.

My environment impacts my ability to focus and ultimately my health. This is why I’ve embraced simplicity and tried to do away with clutter and excess.

There are solutions to my lack of productivity problem. I could buy some noise canceling headphones, move my desk into our bedroom or only work when my family is outside or asleep.

There is no right answer. I just need to take action and find the solution that works for me.

I’m a pattern seeker and a meaning maker. What causes me stress might not be a big deal to someone else. Human behavior is fascinating!

We are complex creatures but what if we could predict which situations were more likely to cause us discomfort and frustration?

Wouldn’t that be helpful?!

Well, it turns out we can predict our response to different situation with the help of the Enneagram.

How does it work?

Here’s a perfect example. Imagine a type 7 and type 1 are planning a vacation together. They are trying to decide where they want to go and what they want to do.

The Enthusiast (type 7) typically finds limits uncomfortable and sees them as restrictive. Options and possibilities are thrilling so nothing is off the table. On the other side of the spectrum The Reformer (type 1) finds comfort in structure, rules and what’s been done before because it’s easier to see the “right” path. Limits or parameters can bring comfort instead of restriction.

The Enthusiast and the Reformer will approach vacation planning in a different way and they risk frustrating each other if they aren’t aware of each others tendencies and motivation. Their differences actually compliment each other if they are aware of their strengths and are able to clearly communicate their needs.

The Reformer excels at details and planning so the vacation will be organized. The Enthusiast is free to focus their energy on making sure the vacation includes lots of fun and adventure which are big picture ideas. Exceptional experiences happen when each person brings their strengths to the table while still respecting each others’ needs.

I’ve compiled a summary of common stressors for each Enneagram type. Awareness of our typical behavior patterns will make it easier for us to choose how we view and respond to typically stressful situations for our type.

The freedom we all seek from our frustrating patterns depends on us being able to see our initial reactions with compassion and choose a response that is truly a better fit for all involved.

Common causes of stress for each Enneagram Type

  1. THE REFORMER:  unfairness, irresponsibility, being wrong or feeling criticized, others blaming me or not taking responsibility for their mistakes, rules or standards being ignored ‌
  2. THE HELPER: feeling needed by too many people and projects, having unmet needs, people not caring for and supporting others, feeling unappreciated or uncared for
  3. THE ACHIEVER: doing too much, criticism, incompetence, indecisiveness, inefficiency
  4. THE INDIVIDUALIST: feeling misunderstood, being rejected or abandoned, people disappointing you, insincerity, feeling unfulfilled
  5. THE OBSERVER: dependency, big emotions, unwanted intrusions, becoming fatigued, not enough privacy or boundaries
  6. THE LOYALIST: untrustworthiness, betrayal, feeling cornered, authorities you can’t count on, other’s lack of responsiveness to me, too much uncertainty
  7. THE ENTHUSIAST: constraints or limits, getting stuck in negativity, making commitments and then feeling trapped by them
  8. THE CHALLENGER: attempts to control me, injustice, manipulation, bullying, inaction
  9. THE PEACEMAKER: taking a position, facing conflict, making timely decisions or being pushed into action, feeling controlled by others

What’s causing you stress or frustration at the moment? Can you see how your Enneagram type reflects what makes you uncomfortable?

There’s nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable. It’s only a problem when it stops you from taking care of yourself and going after what you want.

If you find yourself stuck or heading for burnout, reach out for help. There are always options and support available.

You can take the next step. I believe in you.


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