Inspire Envisioning

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Managing Holiday Stress

2014-11-18 22.12.33The late calendar year hums with holiday magic. Families gather to feast. Gifts are exchanged, and lights festoon the windows. The holidays bring great joy to the world! They allow us to take time off work, celebrate with friends and colleagues at special events, and spend quality time with our loved ones.

This busy time of year also brings special challenges. Many of us find ourselves in a flurry of parties, seeing distant relatives, and travel. Our routines get disrupted, and we spend more money looking for the perfect gifts for everyone. Old conflicts with family can resurface. Some of us end up feeling lonely because we feel we don’t have enough events to attend or people to spend the holidays with.

Self-care is of particular importance during the holiday season, and what we need varies based on our Enneagram type. We’ve put together a list of tips for managing stressors and getting the most out of the holiday season, based on your social and communication style. You can learn more about the three communication styles and identify yours by reading our blog post Crafting Successful Communication.

Soloists (Enneagram Types 4, 5, and 9) – As a Soloist, you offer a spirit of creativity and reflection during the holidays. You’re also at risk for being overwhelmed by the additional socialization, travel, and activities. Staying grounded and aware of your body is particularly important. Make sure to take the time to recharge your batteries if your holiday season is busy. Step outside and take a breather during holiday events, and look for individual roles you can take in the events, such as preparing the food or playing the holiday music. If your social circle is smaller and your holidays tend to be solitary, get out of your comfort zone and attend an event! Local nonprofits are always looking for volunteers on holidays, and groups often have holiday celebrations.

Initiators (Enneagram Types 3, 7, and 8) – If you’re an Initiator, you bring natural energy and enthusiasm to this festive season. You likely have a busy schedule all the time, and the holidays get even busier! You may find yourself running from place to place on little sleep. It may be necessary for you to prioritize events and skip some to maintain your self-care practices. Stay present in your heart center at the gatherings you go to by letting yourself be emotionally affected by the people around you. Take the extra effort to appreciate friends and loved ones through verbal acknowledgement, a thoughtful card, or a carefully chosen gift. This is also a great time to prioritize helping the less fortunate, through your time or financially.

Cooperators (Enneagram Types 1, 2, and 6) – As a Cooperator style, your generosity and commitment shine during the holidays. You may feel a strong sense of duty to your family, charity, or religion, and it can be easy for you to get overcommitted trying to support everyone in your life. Take some time to individually reflect on your own values, and make sure to take on only those responsibilities that align with them. Saying “No” to that extra commitment is important sometimes; take care of yourself by scheduling in some time to rest. And have fun at the events you do attend! Supporting others during the holidays can be richly meaningful, but letting your hair down and enjoying yourself is important too.

No matter what type you are, maintaining your daily practice throughout the holidays will help you stay mindful and centered. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season this year!

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Bringing the Enneagram to Teens

Having learned the Enneagram at a young age, bringing the Enneagram to more young people remains a topic close to our hearts. For teenagers, the Enneagram opens a door to improving relationships with parents and friends, and feeling seen for who you are–a person with thoughts, feelings, and needs independent from those around you. It gives a language to describe your viewpoint to the people who matter to you, and helps in making decisions about the direction you want your life to take.

When we were teenagers discovering the Enneagram, wonderful books existed about this system–Melanie has fond memories of holing up in the college library, browsing the “Enneagram corner”–but none of them focused on people our age. The vast majority of our peers were not familiar with the Enneagram, leaving us largely to teach it to them.

Elizabeth Wagele’s latest book, The Enneagram for Teens, has the potential to change this. Wagele previously wrote an Enneagram book aimed at children, but as far as we know, this is the first book exclusively oriented to a teenaged audience. In this fun and clearly-written read, Wagele writes in an engaging manner that teens are sure to enjoy. Wagele’s cartoons, both illustrative of the types and entertaining, grace most of the pages of her book. Wagele dedicates a chapter to each of the nine types, and a final chapter depicts each type’s leadership style. Wagele describes each type in a way that is easy to grasp, with examples most relatable to high school and college-aged readers.

Wagele excels at creating material that connects with the target audience. Each type chapter offers a quiz made of statements that come directly from teenagers–a refreshingly clear and direct approach. (You might be a Six if you “want to be safe and to be told the truth.”) Wagele also offers practical goals for self-development tailored to teens of each type.

The heart and soul of Wagele’s book comes from the primary source material. In each chapter, she interviews several people from each Enneagram type, both teens and young adults looking back on their experience. The subjects Wagele interviews provide a diverse cross-section of perspectives. Some, such as a type One rebel, do a welcome job of defying personality stereotypes, while others give a well-rounded sense of each Enneagram type’s strengths and challenges. Especially affecting is one Three exemplar’s memory of telling the principal her team had lost a tournament as she received her diploma–“That’s all I ever think about when I think about high school graduation.” It should be easy for readers to hear their own experiences mirrored in the young voices in the book.

We believe The Enneagram for Teens is a wonderful resource for teenagers and college students first learning about the Enneagram, as well as parents hoping to get into the shoes of their teens. Our own experiences of encountering the Enneagram young were pivotal: for example, Kacie finally understood her parents’ perspectives and why they were different from her own, and Melanie learned strategies to manage her emotions. Wagele’s book has great potential to more widely engage young people in learning the Enneagram. We hope this book will help young Enneagram enthusiasts connect with each other!