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.
“I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
I love to sleep for the exact same reason. I also need to sleep. I literally cannot function without an adequate amount every night. Many INFJs struggle with going to sleep because we can’t shut our brains off. We love the quiet time when we’re all snuggled up in bed and there is nothing to distract our minds. We love to let them wander in this time. I look forward to it every single day.
The problem arises when it’s 3 am and I still haven’t slept, knowing that I have to get up at 6:30 am. That’s when the panic sets in. I start thinking about being a zombie the next day and everything that I’ll want to eat just to try to stay awake. Then I want to make myself go to sleep. Have you ever tried to force yourself to sleep? Not only does it not work at all, but it’s super frustrating. I wouldn’t suggest it.
There are several things that I do every day that help me sleep. These are not a cure-all, as I still have problems from time to time, but they do help immensely.
Make your bedroom dark
Your sleeping environment should be as dark and cozy as possible. Start with blackout curtains. (These are the ones that I use that work great. They even block out the street lights that are right outside of my window) Make sure they are good quality curtains so that no light gets in. This is especially important if you live in the northern part of the United State (or any place really) where the sun comes up at 4 am in the summertime.
The next step is to look for any other lights in your room. I have found quite a few on things like my TV, cable box, WiFi router, computer, microphone, etc. Anything that has one of those tiny little lights that seem like nothing during the day, but cause a problem when it’s supposed to be dark. Find a way to cover them up. I use tape.
I used to use my bed for everything, but then when it came to sleeping it didn’t feel very sleepy. When you are only using your bed for sleeping then your body will know that it’s time to rest when you crawl into bed. It’s almost like a mind trick really.
Write it down
One of the biggest problems that I have, when I lay down to sleep, is I start to think about things that I need to do or want to do. Then I worry that I’ll forget them. The next morning I’ll remember that there was something that I didn’t want to forget, but can’t remember what it was. *facepalm*
To fix this problem I started to keep a journal or a notepad by my bed to write things down. This way I can get it out of my head and I know that I won’t forget it. It helps a lot.
Reduce your screen time
Reducing your screen time when you are in bed and right before going to bed will help you a lot as well. The very least you can do is switch your phone to night shift, where the screen is black instead of white at night. This helps reduce the strain on your eyes.
Get some exercise
I know it’s a bit hard to get outside and exercise right now, but getting your blood moving will help you sleep so much. Any time you are getting exercise you are increasing the endorphins in your brain, which makes you feel good. You are also physically exerting yourself which will naturally make you tired, hopefully enough to sleep well.
Yoga and meditation
Another great form of exercise for sleep is yoga. It combines gentle physical exertion with calming meditation, which is very relaxing, not just for the class, but for the whole rest of the day. There are special kinds of yoga classes designed to help you sleep, like this one from Glo.
There are so many herbs that you can get to help with sleep. I want to make sure you know that you can’t take them one day and instantly fall asleep. That’s not how they work. But if you take them consistently every night, then you will notice a difference. I noticed a difference after about a week.
I want to make sure you know that I am not a doctor and you should certainly reach out to your doctor if you are concerned about any interactions with medications you take. Everything mentioned below can be purchased legally, over the counter and most at either Walmart, Whole Foods or on Amazon.
Melatonin is the most common herb mentioned for sleep. It works like a charm if you use it consistently. If you have tried it and it didn’t work for you I would encourage you to try it again. And as I mentioned above, take it consistently every night for 2 weeks before you decide it doesn’t work. I just buy whatever brand is at the store I’m at when I need it. Like this one.
Magnesium is also important for sleep. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, talked about it in an article from Psychology Today.
“I’ve seen many patients benefit from increasing their magnesium intake, through diet and supplements. It’s not uncommon for people, especially women, to have less-than-optimal magnesium levels. Because magnesium plays such a widespread, critical role in the body—it’s one of the 24 essential vitamins and minerals—low magnesium levels can throw many of the body’s functions off course, and raise risks for chronic health problems.
Healthy magnesium levels protect metabolic health, stabilize mood, keep stress in check, promote better sleep, and contribute to heart and bone health.”
I took melatonin and magnesium for a while and then my stress levels when up and they didn’t work as well as they had in the past. So I went looking for more. That’s when I found Valarian Root. This is a God-send!! It works so well. It says on the bottle that it promotes tranquility and relaxation and I can testify that it really does.
This one you’ll have to find at Whole Foods or on Amazon. I order it from Amazon because I can’t with Whole Foods right now. Here’s the link.
Ashwagandha is more for anxiety relief than sleep per se, but I struggle with both so I added it to my nightly vitamins. I know a lot of us INFJs have issues with anxiety and this certainly has helped me. You can get it here.
I went back and forth about whether or not to add this one to the list. I know that CBD oil is a bit controversial, but just hear me out.
First of all, it’s not illegal in the United States, technically. It’s not technically legal either though. It’s this weird gray area right now. The laws vary from state to state, so you’ll have to check with your state (or country if you are outside of the US) to see what the current law is. Make sure you’re checking from a recent and reputable place as a lot of these laws have changed in the last couple of years.
Secondly, it’s not drugs. All of the THC is taken out of it, which is the part that makes you “high.” That’s also the part that gives you the munchies.
The part that’s left has lots of benefits including reduced stress and increased relaxation. It’s helped me a lot, as much as any prescription for anxiety ever has. Though it’s a bit expensive, I would really encourage you to give it a try.
I would really encourage you to find a distributor that is legitimate and sells a good quality product. Make sure they are willing to share their certificates of analysis.
Any of the things that I mentioned will help you sleep a little bit better, but if you combine all of them I’m sure you’ll see a huge improvement.
WHAT IF ONE BOOK COULD CHANGE YOU’RE LIFE?
Whether you’ve just found out you’re an INFJ or you’ve known for a while, diving into your personality traits will have a profound impact on your life. It will change everything!
There’s a terrible pandemic that’s all over the world right now. We’ve all been affected by it, some of us more than others. For some, the worst part is yet to come.
Most recently it’s shown up in the United States. The powers that be are preaching social distancing and isolation. “Stay home to save the world!” they keep telling us. The government is advising and in some cases requiring the postponing of any large events, closing restaurants and banning anyone from gathering in groups larger than 10 people here in Boston. And those of us that have day jobs are working from home for the foreseeable future.
Some people are required to stay in their homes at all times except for absolute necessities, like going to get groceries and medications.
This is a very scary situation, especially if you watch the news, which I suggest you don’t. More on that later. It’s hard to wrap your mind around it because the smartest people in the world don’t have any answers for us. They are doing the best that they can, but there are still a lot of unknowns.
It’s hard to know how to handle something like this. There is no precedent, no set of guidelines to go by, nothing really to compare it to. We’ll all just figuring it out as we go along.
Feeling overwhelmed is normal
It’s easy to be overwhelmed right now. A lot of people are. It’s completely normal and totally ok. As INFJs, we like to feel like we have a plan and a goal. Right now there are no long-term plans because we don’t know how long this will last. That’s the hardest part for me. But it’s important to remember that this will pass. There will be life after this situation. It will come to an end and things will go back to being normal, though you might still stockpile toilet paper for a while because we all know that the trauma of not having any will not wear off soon.
It’s also ok to be ok
We are classic introverts who love to stay home and hide in our rooms. While some of my friends and co-workers are panicking about the “please stay home” warnings, I’m over here in my room thinking that not really much has changed for me. I’m completely ok with being at home for 2 weeks and not really going out much. I have a whole list of things to do and don’t really need to go out much.
If this is the case for you too, try not to feel guilty about it. It’s ok if you’re ok. You don’t have to panic just because everyone else is. Keep on carrying on. Work on your projects and check in on your friends every once in a while. We got this!
Like what you’re reading?
Sign up here to follow my blog! Get updates on new blog posts and anything happening in the INFJ Woman community!
As INFJs our first instinct is to worry about how everyone else is doing. I’ve checked on my friends over and over again, especially the extroverted ones because they really are struggling right now.
It’s important to check in on them and make sure they’re ok, but you don’t have to take on what they’re going through. Some people are having a really hard time managing their stress and anxiety about this situation. Because they are not used to this type of anxiety it’s spilling out of them in waves. Remember that their anxiety is not your anxiety. You do not have to take that on and own it, even though you might feel like you should. Offer your support as a good friend would, but don’t take their feelings and emotions to heart.
It’s not your responsibility to make sure they are ok to the point where you are not ok. Remember that. You have enough to deal with on your own.
Make time for yourself
When you’re quarantined in your home if you’re alone, you’re good to go. You have all the time to take care of yourself. Just remember to take breaks from you work and your projects and spend some time resting and recharging.
If you have other people in your home, especially if you have little people, this will be a little bit harder. But it is still important for you to make time for yourself. You still need the same amount of time to recharge, in fact, you probably need more than usual because of all of the stress of this situation.
Here are some self-care ideas to help you recharge while at home.
1. Let yourself feel icky
When we are in really stressful or overwhelming situations it’s easy for us to try to push out those feelings and want to feel better right away. When we do that we are just prolonging the icky feelings. The best thing you can do is to let yourself feel icky. Know that it’s ok to feel whatever you are feeling. Give yourself some time and space to really feel them. Cry if you need to. Get your anger out like you need to. Whatever you are feeling, feel it. It’s ok.
2. Make cookies
My favorite thing to do is make cookies. When I get stressed or overwhelmed I generally make cookies. Baking is a great way to distract yourself and make your family happy too.
3. Binge-watch something
I love watching Netflix and Hulu. There is always another documentary or series that I’m going through. It’s a nice and welcome distraction for what’s going on in the world today.
4. Do that thing you keep putting off
You’re at home and you have a bunch of time on your hands. I know there is something that you want to do that you’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your office. Maybe you’ve wanted to start writing a book. Whatever it is, use this time to be productive.
5. Do something creative
You could also do something creative. Writing is a great way to express what you are feeling. Art is another amazing way to help you relax and express yourself. Whatever creativity you enjoy, spend some time embracing it.
6. Reassess what you’re doing with your life
This is one of my favorite hobbies as an INFJ, especially when I feel lost and unsure of the future. Now is the perfect time to ask yourself if you’re happy. Ask yourself if you only had a couple more months on this Earth would you be doing what you did today? Make a plan to make some changes.
7. Work on your resume
One of the biggest things we are unhappy with is our work and our jobs. Now that you have some time, if you are unhappy with your job, dust off your resume and see what needs to change. While right now may not be the best time to look for a new job, it will be here soon. You should be prepared.
8. Think about starting a business
Now is the perfect time to start a new business though, especially if you want to write a blog or start a podcast. There are so many people who make a full-time income from doing these things and it’s entirely possible for you too. You can read more about it here.
9. Don’t watch the news
One of the worst things you can do in a situation like this is constantly watch the news. This is especially true if you have anxiety. Remember that they make money by selling commercial space, not by reporting the news. What they report is a sensational version of what’s going on. I highly suggest that you find a reputable source of information and check it once a day for updates.
If you are in the United States you can follow these sources:
This is the perfect time to reach out to your friends and family to check in on them and reconnect with them. While you may not be able to go and see them, you can call them or message them to see how they are.
I highly recommend that you video chat with them. I know it sounds scary and awkward, but it makes a huge difference connecting with people when you can see them, even if it’s through a computer or phone screen.
11. Take advantage of all the freebees going on right now
There are so many people offering free chats and courses right now. You need to take advantage of as many of them as you can handle. You could learn so much from some AMAZING people!! Here’s just a few of them that I have seen:
Barbie ruined my life. She’s right up there with Hallmark and Disney. They put this idea in your head that every Barbie has a Ken and every Ken buys the perfect Christmas presents. They are thoughtful and meaningful and make Christmas this amazing and joyous time of year.
It’s all lies. It’s not like that AT ALL. And anyone who tells you it is is lying through their teeth.
Let me tell you what Christmas is actually like. It’s the pressure of buying gifts for people you hardly know. It’s fighting through overcrowded parking lots and stores, just trying not to get ran over. It’s spending way too much money trying to impress people who don’t mean a lot to you. It’s trying to pack all of your love and admiration for your loved ones into one or two perfect gifts and failing miserably because that’s not even realistic or possible.
It’s spending a lot of time and care and effort doing things for others, decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping and that sinking feeling of disappointment when you realize that they haven’t done the same for you.
It’s wishing that everything was like it is in the movies. It’s wishing that your significant other cared for you as much as the Holiday Prince cares for the newly crowned Holiday Princess in those cheesy and terrible, but we still watch them, made for TV movies.
They are GREAT at marketing. They found our pain point, the thing that bothers us SO MUCH – that Christmas isn’t like that at our house, but we want it to be like that. And they exploit it to the extreme. They crank out more and more of those movies and play them for weeks on end, brainwashing us with unrealistic expectations.
You know what my Christmas was like? I spent it alone in my new, tiny and gross little apartment. I’m downsizing again because life is expensive and hard. I didn’t have money to go and see my family this year, so I stayed home. There was no prince to save me from myself, no last minute neighbor to invite me to their celebration like the movies suggest. Real life is just so much different.
The problem with Christmas is not that we have a bad day. It’s just not what we expect it to be. We expect magic and meaningful gifts, when it’s really just flashing lights and something someone else didn’t want or something they found on sale at Target yesterday.
When I look back on all of the past Christmases I see a lot of disappointment. I’m always hoping for a gift that means something to me, something that says to me that the person who gave it to me cares about me and understands me and loves me. But that’s a lot of expectation to put on a gift. I don’t even know what would say that to me honestly. Most of the people in my life don’t know me well enough to even understand me to that level anyway.
This year I decided to stop with all of the expectations and just accept things for what they are. I bought my own presents, the best one being a new Kate Spade handbag that I LOVE. It’s the perfect size and color and it was on sale!
Just because the people I love didn’t buy me things that I think are meaningful doesn’t mean they don’t love and value me. They might just be terrible at buying gifts. That’s not their thing and that’s ok. Or maybe they show their love in a different way and that’s ok too.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different. Even INFJs have different love languages. Some of us value gifts more than quality time and vice versa. Different personality types also place different values on gifts as well. Some don’t see the point or value in gifts at all. And though it’s hard for us to deal with during the holidays and our birthdays, it’s important for us to accept them as they are and to understand that that’s just a part of who they are.
It’s so much easier to let go of those expectations and buy your own meaningful gifts.
How to Form Lasting Habits Ebook
Can’t wait to get your hands on all of this information?? I don’t blame you! That’s why I put it all together in this handy dandy ebook.
This 24 page PDF ebook is packed full of everything you need to know to transform your resolution into a long lasting habit.
It’s yours instantly through a digital download for just $4.95.
The INFJ User Guide is all about INFJs. It’s all the things I have spent years Googling and thinking through to figure out my personality. It’s every epiphany from “I’m an INFJ? Yes!!” to “This is how to handle communication problems.” And everything in between.
It’s a must read for every INFJ.
The book will be released April 6, 2020, but you can pre-order it now!
There are many misconceptions about INFJs. We are very rare and therefore very misunderstood. Let’s talk about a few of the biggest misconceptions.
1. We are super emotional
Every time I read this I think of someone who is outwardly emotional, who is always being dramatic and crying for no reason. That’s so not me. I don’t do outwardly emotional.
I am very emotional, but very few people ever see it. I have a killer resting b*tch face and I use it. I’m usually very stoic and work very hard to cover any emotions that might come across my face, especially when I am upset. I don’t want people to know that.
When my emotions run high, I retreat to my own space to work them out for myself. I need time to figure things out for myself before I can respond.
2. We are detail-oriented
I notice everything about people that I have some interest in, but if I don’t have any interest in you, you are as much above my notice as you are below it. I may not even realize that you exist.
My ability to notice details is also variable when it comes to work. If I’m interested in the project I can usually focus on details, but if my heart’s not in it and I can’t focus, then little things go overlooked.
3. We like being unique
I cringe every time I read this one. I don’t LIKE being unique, not this unique. Do I want to be different and individualistic? Yes! Do I want to be so different that NO ONE understands me?? NO! Not even a little bit!
I embrace it because that’s the only way that I know how to deal with it. But the notion that I feel like I’m better than everyone else because of my differences is completely wrong. I don’t think that one personality type is better than another. We are all special for different reasons.
I celebrate my differences so that I can make other INFJs feel loved and appreciated too.
4. We are fake
INFJs have a unique ability to connect with all different kinds of people. We can adapt our personality to fit those people. That does not make us fake at all. It makes us observant and adaptable. Our desire is never to fool people into thinking we are different than we are. Instead, our desire is to make those around us feel as comfortable as possible. We are only thinking of them.
We also only share certain parts of ourselves with other people. Some people see this as fake too. It’s not fake. It’s a protection mechanism. Like we talked about before we are very emotional internally. Because of this, many of us have been burned in the past. We only trust certain people with our emotions. And it takes a lot for us to trust someone.
5. We like people
My mom called me outgoing the other day. She told me that she thinks that I like people. I was kinda blown away by it. I like being friendly to people who are friendly to me in public, but most of the time I avoid people altogether.
I do like helping people so it’s complicated. I want to help people, but I don’t want to be around them. I can only be around people for a limited time and then I’m done.
INFJs are always going to be misunderstood because they are so rare and so different from other types. Most people don’t take the time to get to know us and appreciate our differences.
But the great part of that is that we can be there for each other. We, as INFJs, understand each other and have this amazing opportunity to connect and help each other feel understood.
Thank you for being a part of this community! I can’t tell you how much it helps me and I hope it helps you too!
There should be a user guide for INFJs!!! Oh wait, there is!
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of things that INFJs can’t stand. Because we are so aware of our surroundings and constantly analyzing what’s going on, we notice a lot. Nearly everything.
We are also introverts who generally like things quiet. Most of us are highly sensitive too, so things like loud noises, people talking, chewing, that buzzing noise across the room, get on our nerves pretty easily. That’s just a good starting place though.
I’ve often been accused of being brutally honest. My mom used to chastise me for being “so rude.” My honesty is never intended that way though. I think, as an INFJ, I see things in a different way than most people do. My honesty always comes from an authentic place. I want people to know the real me and to know the truth.