Being an INFJ can be really difficult at times. I basically have only 2 modes: go and burnout. Go is a great mode. It’s where I am most of the time. I get so much done and feel like I can do anything. Everyone is impressed by how much I can accomplish in a day. I feel good about myself and my life in this mode.
But ultimately it leads to burnout. You can only be stuck on constant go for so long. And when burnout strikes, it takes no prisoners. It’s a full stop. It’s make sure you have something to eat because we’re gonna be here for a while. If Go is conquer the world mode, burnout is sleep for 6 months mode.
There are several things that generally trigger burnout for most INFJs. Usually, we can deal with these things for a while before we hit burnout, but only for so long.
Soaking up everyone’s emotions
One of the things that INFJs do best is feeling what other people are feeling. We don’t have to mimic the feeling, we experience it right there with them. It’s intense and amazing! But it’s also draining and exhausting. Sometimes feeling all the feels is good and refreshing, but when you are doing it all the time, it becomes too much.
Along with being INFJ, I’m also highly sensitive. I can hear things that most people don’t notice, like the sound of the heater squeaking or the clock on the wall ticking. Those sounds are like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. It’s not just sounds though. It’s anything that overwhelms the senses: being in a place with a lot of people or a strong smell, flashing lights, loud music, etc. All of these things are very draining for INFJs.
Trying to solve everyone’s problems
INFJs always end up being a counselor for our friends and family. We care so much about how they feel and we want to help them so much, that we are drawn to them and them to us, knowing that we can help. We listen to their problems, and unconsciously take them on as our own. Then we dig down deep and offer our most profound advice. It seems natural to us, like just another day. Most of the time we may not even notice how draining it is. But it actually is very draining, especially if you don’t have someone who you can tell your problems to. You carry everyone’s issues with no one to help you lighten the load.
Always looking for more
This is my worst problem. I am constantly seeing ways to improve. I always have a hundred things to do to make myself better. I have a list of ways to improve my blog and my YouTube channel and everything new project I want to start – I already know how to make it better.
But the constant need for improvement leads you to overlook the progress you’ve already made. It keeps you focused on needing more, rather than taking the time to stop and be thankful for what you have now.
How to Cope
This is the million-dollar question: how do you cope with burnout?
I’m sure there are a lot of articles and blog posts about dealing with burnout. I’ve read a lot of them myself. I’ve probably written some too. They all basically say the same thing: self-care, rest, exercise, take your vitamins. It will get better.
I’m not as good as they are at being all happy and peppy and positive. I’m more of a realist. And in my experience, these periods can last months for me. You may have noticed that I took a bit of a break. I’m not sure if it’s over yet, but I’m hopeful.
Along with being an INFJ, I also have depression. So I have a tendency to get stuck in burnout mode. I dive into self-care things like spending all weekend taking naps and watching movies. I indulge in my favorite foods until my clothes no longer fit right.
When this happens I have to force myself back out of self-care mode and back into “go” mode. It’s not easy, especially when it’s winter in Massachusetts and we’re still in this world of covid hell. Most of my friends are still scared to leave their house. I don’t blame them. I really don’t want to leave either, but I know that I need to get out and do something.
The best advice I have for when you feel burned out is to rest for a while. Take good care of yourself. Watch your favorite movies, eat your favorite food, take naps in your cozy bed. Do this for as long as it takes. I don’t know how long that is. You have to wait until it feels right for you. You’ll know when it’s time to go back to go mode. And when you do, take care to pace yourself a little bit better. You don’t need to change the whole world today. You can save some for tomorrow.