I don’t need to tell you the current stats around workplace burnout for you to understand it’s a problem. You’ve likely experienced it yourself. However, the stats are astounding. 

In a recent survey done by the American Psychological Association, 79 percent of workers had experienced stress at work in the last month, 36 percent reported cognitive weariness, and 32 percent reported emotional exhaustion. Plus, people development software is rising, and more companies are implementing these solutions to help avoid these statistics.

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process of stress building up in the body. According to Web MDburnout directly results from excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. 

The good news is that your body gives you emotional and behavioral cues every step along the way. You can become aware of your emotional and behavioral patterns during every phase and change the course of burnout (or, if you’re in balance, keep it going!). You can catch yourself in the burnout cycle.

One of the primary keys to overcoming workplace burnout is understanding your unique internal operating system. One of the best ways to understand and connect with that internal operating system is through a personality framework called The Enneagram.

burnout at work

How To Avoid Workplace Burnout Using The Enneagram

Unlike other personality tools like Myers-Briggs and Strengthsfinder, The Enneagram goes beyond your strengths and weaknesses. It comprehensively provides insight into your internal operating system, emotional patterns, motivations, and more. 

This focus on emotional and behavioral changes guided by the Enneagram can be the self-development tool you need to avoid burnout and move toward balance within your life. 

The Enneagram has many helpful components to get you to a place of awareness and ultimately help you avoid getting trapped in the burnout cycle! The first— and most important — step is to be able to connect and be honest with yourself.

Develop Awareness Of The Five Personal Assessment Points Of Your Enneagram Type

Connecting with yourself can happen by learning about all five of your connection points within the Enneagram framework. Doing so will help you become aware of the different facets of your personality, some of which, if not careful, can be a fast track to burnout. 

The 5 Connection Points Of Your Enneagram Type

Connection Point 1: Core Type

The first connection point is the core type from which all the other connections come. Knowing your personality type brings awareness to your core motivating factor, fear, and emotional pattern. To find your core type, check out the article:  How to Find Your Enneagram With 4 Helpful Tips to help you get started. However, it’s important to remember that using the Enneagram is a journey and to enjoy the process. Assessments can get wrong, so be sure to explore all the types to see which one fits best with how you view and go through the world.

Connection Points 2 & 3: The Wings

Your wings are the two types on either side of your core type on the map. They help give you a more robust understanding of your personality type.

Connection Point 4: Health Type

Your health type is the number that your type integrates into when you are healthy. The health (or growth type) is the number your type moves toward and connects with by the arrow line that points away from your number within the Enneagram diagram.

For example, Type 7’s move toward the high side of a 5 when healthy and the low side of 1’s when unhealthy.

enneagram 7 stress and growth

Image Credit:  Enneagram Institute

When you are in your health line, that means in addition to the everyday behaviors and patterns of your core type; you pick up the positive attributes (high side) of that type as well.

Learning and developing these characteristics will be highly beneficial. You must be aware of these traits when working on getting out of the burnout cycle.

Connection Point 5: Stress Type

Your stress type is the second arrow line that points away from your core type on the Enneagram map. When you are in your stress type, that means in addition to the everyday behaviors and patterns of your core type; you pick up the more challenging attributes (low side) of that type as well. These are the characteristics you need to be most aware of when trying to understand where you are in the burnout cycle.

Write Down The Possible Attributes Associated With Your Type And Connection Points

As you learn about your connection points, write down the characteristics of each type associated with your Enneagram number and try to begin noticing when you exhibit or experience specific traits.

Awareness of our connection points allows us to create alarm bells in our brain, which alert us we need to take action, to keep going or halt, to prevent workplace burnout.

How To Identify If You Are In A Burnout Cycle At Work

Identifying if you are in a burnout cycle starts with awareness of the low-side behaviors of your stress type. Make it a habit to write down the behaviors and patterns you’re experiencing and check-in with yourself weekly (maybe even daily) to see how frequently you are exhibiting the traits in your daily actions.

How To Measure The Severity Of Workplace Stress In Your Life

  • If you find you’re exhibiting one to two unhealthy behaviors, this may be a sign you are under stress.
  • If you find you’re exhibiting three to four unhealthy behaviors, that might be a sign you are in overwhelm.
  • If you are experiencing four or more unhealthy behaviors or can only see yourself in your stress type, that’s a positive indicator you are in burnout.

It’s essential to recognize the differences between the number of behaviors you exhibit within a stress cycle that leads to burnout. You must also be mindful that the words you use are powerful. If you repeatedly say you’re burnt out when you may only be in a place of stress, you risk the possibility of speeding up the cycle toward burnout.

how to identify burnout

How To Use The Enneagram To Escape Workplace Burnout

Once you know you might be in a burnout cycle; you can pause and take some inventory of what has led you to that point.  

  • Has the core fear of your Enneagram type been triggered?
  • Is there an event(s) that is triggering stress?
  • Are repeating circumstances at work or home draining your mental, emotional or physical capacity?

Awareness is a key to your success, and the resources to help you succeed are often available. Suppose you can identify the answer to what is causing you to experience the burnout cycle. In that case, you can begin utilizing the strengths and healthy attributes of your other connection points to help you navigate away from stress.  

Two Additional Questions To Help You Utilize The Healthy Attributes Of Your Personality

  1. What strengths are available to me from the health lines of my Enneagram type?
  2. What assets from my wings will compliment my core type’s strengths and offset the challenges I am facing? 

Here is an example of how a Type 3 can use their connection points to assist when experiencing stress:

  • By engaging the two wing, you can access more empathy for yourself and others.
  • By engaging the four wing, you can tap into creativity or the ability to pinpoint the emotions you’re feeling.
  • By engaging the six health line, you can challenge yourself to consider the facts concerning the situation and use logic about your circumstance’s severity.

To learn more about fighting burnout, you can download Chapter 4: Fighting burnout for free from my book Unlock Your Potential at Work: A Beginner’s Guide to Using the Enneagram at Work by clicking HERE.