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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kuhn

Dealing with Overwhelm as an INFJ

It seems like every year I start the new season by talking about being overwhelmed or burned out. And yet, here we are again.

Is it common for INFJs to be overwhelmed? How do you overcome this feeling? What works best? I’ll answer those questions and more on this episode of The Quiet Ones.

Welcome to Season 5 of the Quiet Ones! I’m so glad you’re here!!

When I started this podcast in August of 2019, I never imagined that we’d be here for 5 seasons, 129 episodes with more than 200,000 downloads! I know that I wouldn’t be here without you. I really want to say thank you! Thank you for listening, for showing up for me in every new venture that I dream up. It means the world to me.

I want you to know I’m here for you too. I’m here because I really care about you and I want to help you as much as I possibly can. We’re the same, you and me. We have the same struggles and the same challenges. And we’re not satisfied just being in the same place forever. We have hopes and dreams that keep pushing us forward, to something more, something better. We’re here together to learn and grow and I’m so glad that you’ve chosen me as your coach and mentor!

A lot has changed for me this past year.

  • My niece moved in with me in April

  • We moved to a new apartment in May

  • I started a new job in June

  • I was sick with Covid, again, this summer as well.

  • We got a Goose in August, he's not really a goose. He's actually a golden retriever puppy.

I realized in August that I had been angry all summer and I couldn’t figure out why. It took me that long to finally slow down and realize that I was overwhelmed. While I love my niece, I’ve lived by myself for years, so it was a really big change having someone in my space who wants attention all of the time.

I love my new job as well, but it’s very demanding. I went from a job where they wouldn’t let me do anything for more than 3 years to a job where I was leading meetings the second week I was there. I have so many projects going at the same time that I can’t keep track of them all. I have 7 am meetings and global conference calls. I’m important again, and I like that feeling. I’m needed. But I’m also stressed and feel like I have little support, if any. Most of the time I’m left to figure out massive projects by myself.

It’s common for INFJs to feel overwhelmed rather than feeling specific emotions. We’re not great at naming our own feelings. That’s the last thing we think about. If we look at INFJ functions, Introverted Intuition is at the top. This is how we sort things out, how we know things about people and things around us.

Our second function is extroverted feeling. This function helps us to relate to others. Since the function is extroverted, meaning it’s directed outwards, we are more concerned with the thoughts and feelings of others than we are with our own thoughts and feelings. We’re connected to them. We can feel them just like they are our own feelings.

Introverted Feeling (Fi) - looks at their own feelings and focus on their own values and inner harmony, doesn't show up in our primary functions. It’s our second shadow function. According to Carl Jung, shadow functions make up the dark side of our personalities. They are instinctive and irrational, the things that we have the least control over and know the least about. Shadow functions are the opposite of our primary functions.

There’s a link in the show notes for more information about functions and shadow functions.

So for INFJs, we rarely think about how we feel ourselves.

Every time I feel overwhelmed I go back to where I think the source of my intuition is: my brain. I push and pull and try everything I can think of to get the inspiration, the intuition to come out again. But of course, it doesn’t because this isn’t the source of it at all.

I’m very good at thinking my way out of problems. I look at the challenges that come up in my life and my work as a puzzle that I know I can figure out. So I take it apart piece by piece and turn it over in my mind a million times until it makes sense and it works. This works for my job. I’m an amazing problem solver at work. It also works for my personal life, for most problems. I’m trying my best to teach my niece how to do it too. There’s always a way to get the thing that you want, even if you think it’s impossible.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with inspiration and intuition. The rational part of the brain has almost nothing to do with inspiration.

For INFJs, we can’t outthink our intuition. In order to connect with it, we have to get out of our heads and into our feeling and sensing. Here’s a few things that will help:

Listening to music

Doing something with your hands

Things like:

  • Art, painting, drawing

  • Cooking

  • Gardening

  • Anything that requires you to use your 5 senses

Make sure you’re spending time alone, even if it’s difficult

Get back to the things you like to do - stop stressing about what you have to do and enjoy some things that you like to do.

Remember that you are a person who needs help too. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed sometimes. It’s ok to feel lost. It’s ok to take a break and recharge however you recharge.

I like to sit and watch TV for a while. Sometimes I go down to the beach and watch the waves roll in. I just sit there and let the thoughts run through my head without wandering too much on them.

Whatever you do, please know that this feeling will pass. It doesn’t last forever.

Once I’ve rested a bit, I start to try and name the things I’m feeling. When I get to this point I know what I’m getting back to being ok. I can step back from the overwhelm and start processing how I’m feeling and then moving through it.

I’m positive that you’ll get there too!


People send me questions quite a bit, so I want to dive into a few of them now.

Steve sent me this question on Instagram. It says: I’m an INFJ. I feel people’s emotions and I see the future. How can I live?

  • Meeting last week at work

  • I could feel the energy radiating off of the guy next to me

  • I was exhausted when I got home

  • While there are times like this that this special gift is exhausting, I think of it more like a gift. We have this amazing talent that very few people have. We can feel what other people are feeling and help them more than others can.

  • I want to help. I want to make the world a better place.

I was wondering if you had any tips for developing boundaries. I really suck at boundaries and I know this isn’t something new to most INFJs. I’ve read books and I can’t quite seem to put this into practice. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks, Kathryn

  • Decide what you want your life to look like

  • Decide what you will put up with and what you can’t put up with

  • Start with enforcing small boundaries and work your way up to bigger ones

  • Remember that Boundaries take practice, especially if you’ve never set them

  • When you start setting them, some people will be thrilled for you. Others will be mad and will try to push you to not have boundaries. These are the people who benefitted from you not having any boundaries and the people who you should hold to the boundaries the most.

  • It helps to prepare yourself for these conversations ahead of time and know what you will say

  • It’s not easy, but it’s certainly worth it

If you have a question you can send it to me on Instagram @infjwoman. I’ll be answering your questions live on Instagram every Thursday, during a live video that’s exclusively for my Instagram subscribers. If you’re not a subscriber, make sure you head over there and subscribe now. Subscribers get access to exclusive content, like these live q&a’s, a small group social channel and much more. Head over to my Instagram page @infjwoman and hit the “subscribe” button on my profile page to subscribe today!

Next week we’re talking about MBTI preferences and Carl Jung’s functions.

That’s it for this week. Make sure you subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen. It helps other people find us. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you again next week.

Show Notes

Subscribe to my Instagram Subscription here:

Information about Functions and Shadow Functions

Episode about self-love

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