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  1. #1
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    Default How do INFJ's deal with stress?

    First off, hi. I am not sure if this has been tackled before, so I apologize if it has (I sincerely request that it be moved if there is a similar yet older thread); but I took a job at a law firm nine months ago (I am an INFJ lawyer. Yes, I know.), and it seems as though I've been given a workload that should be taken on by three people. Preparing for trials, checking evidence, documents, etc., sometimes with a one-day working time--all of this seems to have taken its toll on me and I am now ready to admit, I am stressed. (Hard thing to admit really.)

    Anyway, I feel like when I'm this stressed, I tend to put off the work that needs to be done, procrastinate, and I think this is the worst aspect of my personality. Second to that is my almost complete inability to ask people for help. I don't mean to generalize of course, and in fact I would like to know how other INFJs might deal with this sort of physical and psychological stress. Usually, I would have liked to take as long as I needed to recuperate/repair my self, my soul, but the law is such a non-INFJ world, I guess, and everything must be compartmentalized. Which means even this, my "healing" so to speak, needs to happen as soon as possible. Help!
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  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I find that I need time and mental space to accomplish tasks as well. If I feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start or if I am unsure of what it is that needs to be done exactly or how to go at it, I procrastinate. If stress becomes worse it often manifests itself in other ways - weird dreams, muscle tension, poor eating or spending habits, extreme exhaustion (could just sleep and sleep because so much mental energy is being used up), or sore stomach.

    Probably it is important to build exercise into your day (I know, one more thing!) as a stress reliever and to also plan meals and snacks ahead and pack them the night before. It may seem like it is using up still more of your time, but I think it will result in you using your time more efficiently.

    I do think that sometimes INFJs are reluctant to be seen as not being able to handle everything and that they would prefer to be inconvenienced themselves than to inconvenience others. However, you are going to be more of a problem to someone if you cannot continue on at the pace you have started for yourself or if they were counting on you to get something done and you simply couldn't. It would be better to admit where you need help or even to admit that the load is heavy and access any help that may be available to you. I used to think our willingness to not complain was a positive thing, but it can lead to resentment or stress that you don't even know is building and sometimes you inconvenience others more by being over accommodating. Prioritizing is also important. If you look at it all at once, you are going to be discouraged and overwhelmed. Divide your tasks up into manageable chunks and don't allow yourself to look at everything else at the same time, or you will end up wasting the little time that you do have to get it all done. I tend to respond to the person who is demanding my attention most urgently. That can be frustrating to others who have been waiting longer. I am learning to say no to some things and to promise less but deliver more. I also am trying to prioritize in order of need and of who approached me first.

    Don't know if that's any help, but if you haven't considered some of those things, they may be of some use. I'm not perfect by any stretch, but I've sure improved at these things since my mid twenties, when I started working.

  3. #3
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    ^ +1 to setting some boundaries, knowing realistically what you can handle from a time/delivery perspective as well as emotional perspective, and doing some pushback, if possible, when more accumulates than you can handle. I think it's important to realize that it's OK to say No and to state that you can't do such and such due to X reason, and then provide an alternative timeframe or workaround if it's something you'd be able to do a few days later or whatever.

    Related to work, it's obviously more tricky and only you will be able to 'read' how much pushback can happen, but if it's a Fact that you have more than you can handle and physically don't even have enough time to accomplish everything you're supposed to be doing, then your boss needs to know that. If you never say anything or draw any boundaries, your boss/coworkers may be under the impression that you physically Can do all of it. If you say nothing, they have no way of knowing that you can't. Does that make sense?

    -------------

    Generally speaking, for myself I have always tailored my life in more of a preventative way - really forecasting things, blocking off certain days for free time, really monitoring what's going on so as to try to prevent stress in the first place.

    Of course sometimes no matter how you plan so as to prevent stress, there will be stressful times. In those cases, it definitely does affect me physically - I start feeling physically ill, usually, and start worrying that I won't be able to keep track of everything. I'll sometimes write everything down so it's listed out and that alleviates the worry of my forgetting. Yeah, I do do the procrastinating thing if it's little tasks I find annoying to do, and I may wait until it's to the point where it absolutely needs to get done. But usually then I'm uber-efficient and just want to get it all done and behind me so that I can go back to 'relaxing' and it's not looming there.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Probably it is important to build exercise into your day (I know, one more thing!) as a stress reliever and to also plan meals and snacks ahead and pack them the night before. It may seem like it is using up still more of your time, but I think it will result in you using your time more efficiently.

    I do think that sometimes INFJs are reluctant to be seen as not being able to handle everything and that they would prefer to be inconvenienced themselves than to inconvenience others. However, you are going to be more of a problem to someone if you cannot continue on at the pace you have started for yourself or if they were counting on you to get something done and you simply couldn't. It would be better to admit where you need help or even to admit that the load is heavy and access any help that may be available to you. I used to think our willingness to not complain was a positive thing, but it can lead to resentment or stress that you don't even know is building and sometimes you inconvenience others more by being over accommodating. Prioritizing is also important. If you look at it all at once, you are going to be discouraged and overwhelmed.
    Thank you so much. I recently enrolled in Bikram Yoga clasess, something I think will be a good thing. And you're spot on with regard to the "not asking for help and not complaining." I thought then that complaining ALWAYS means whining/ranting, and I personally didn't want to be seen as that sort of guy.

    Again, I thank you immensely.

    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    I think it's important to realize that it's OK to say No and to state that you can't do such and such due to X reason, and then provide an alternative timeframe or workaround if it's something you'd be able to do a few days later or whatever.

    If you never say anything or draw any boundaries, your boss/coworkers may be under the impression that you physically Can do all of it. If you say nothing, they have no way of knowing that you can't. Does that make sense?
    It does make sense. I may have been so eager to do well in this firm (I'm only in my first year of law practice) that I have neglected some of the things I need to do (i.e., calming down, reading for leisure, exercising). I've been so eager to show everyone I can do it, that I just "grin and bear it," so to speak. I was also a bit scared that saying No to added work was a show of weakness and I'd be thought of as the weak one.

    Thank you so much.
    Yes, I take it with no cream and no sugar.

    And yes, some of us drink it bitter.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Schedule massage regularly.

    Eat well and sleep well as much as possible.

    Definitely just say your plate's full if someone approaches you with work and you're already fully occupied. Just let them know what you're doing and for whom, or let them know you might be available for a certain range of activities, or you can't do it this week but you'll be freed up by that week -- in other words, negotiate -- you don't have to blurt out "I can't!" or some such, you can have a conversation -- and tell them you hope they'll ask you again, you'd like to work with them. Try to work with as many people as possible rather than let someone corral you because when that case is over you want people having your name in mind so you can get work and make your hours rather than automatically writing you off as being so-and-so's slave.

    Know your resources and use them. If you've got a library and a secretary and a copy center, etc., use them.

    Make lists and check things off as you do them so you get a sense of accomplishment.

    Take regular breaks -- at least every couple of hours get up and walk around, go outside for a second and walk around the block.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    I tend to have unhealthy methods to deal with stress. I won't share them, but I'll try my best to think of alternatives.

    1. Ask for help. I know I have a HUGE problem with this. I'm fiercely independent, and really hate asking for other people to help. If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself, correct? Not really. Talk to your boss about potentially reducing your workload.

    2. Get plenty of sleep. Stress doubles, triples, etc, for me when I don't get enough sleep.

    3. Don't forget to eat. Okay, so this one is more for me. I'll become so busy, or so engrossed in thoughts, that I will go days without eating. Make sure you take time to eat, and eat foods that are good for you.

    4. Set aside time, whether it's 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, whatever, to just breathe and relax. Try to clear your head as best as you can (again, I have trouble with this myself).

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    Honestly - I think you should get a job somewhere else, if possible. Abusive environments rarely change, and it really is OK to get a job somewhere else if you are able. I know someone who had the same sort of problem in medical residency. Most residency attending doctors are very military minded in how they treat people who are "below" them. There certainly have to be fields of law that would be more relaxing or INFJ friendly. I know one guy who only does social security law. He helps people who have real disabilities but have been denied social security benefits. Another lawyer I know went into the patent attorney field. It was much more relaxing than court law. I know you said you wanted to do well at this place, but maybe there are other places where you could do well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    Honestly - I think you should get a job somewhere else, if possible. Abusive environments rarely change, and it really is OK to get a job somewhere else if you are able.

    There certainly have to be fields of law that would be more relaxing or INFJ friendly. I know one guy who only does social security law. He helps people who have real disabilities but have been denied social security benefits. Another lawyer I know went into the patent attorney field. It was much more relaxing than court law. I know you said you wanted to do well at this place, but maybe there are other places where you could do well.
    I know. I've thought of quitting, but I also think I should stay for a year (seems as though it's a good time frame for a first job in legal practice).

    Truth be told, the reason why I went to law school is so I can practice human rights law. So I think I'm about as shocked as anyone else that I ended up in a law firm for my first job. But I've been planning to resolve all that, been on the lookout for some organizations looking to hire some human rights lawyers.

    There's a great likelihood that it will be as (if not more) demanding than my current job, but at least it's for something I truly want to be a part of. I think that if I am part of something like that, the stress becomes less (even irrelevant/nonexistent, perhaps).

    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Yes, I take it with no cream and no sugar.

    And yes, some of us drink it bitter.

  9. #9
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    It can be very frustrating to be trapped in a place that goes against your ideals--I'm glad to see you are looking for something else that is more in line with what you are passionate about. And even though it's difficult, it may be good to stick this out at least for the year, as you have planned, but don't become a lifer. You could learn a lot of coping skills by working this environment--Maybe you can temper the stress it causes by constantly reminding yourself that this particular job is just temporary. Then you can look back and any problem that shows up in future is under the umbrella of 'But I got through 'x' back at that awful place! This current problem is a piece of cake!'

    (I hope this makes sense. I haven't had my morning cup of coffee yet.)

  10. #10
    Another awesome member. Curator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatusername View Post
    I feel like when I'm this stressed, I tend to put off the work that needs to be done, procrastinate, and I think this is the worst aspect of my personality.
    I do the same thing when under extreme stress, some of the things I do to relieve stress, in order of what I find personally most helpful.

    1. Meditation, I practice Zazen, but there are many other styles out there that are helpful.

    2. Crying, it may sound silly, especially in a society that tries to teach men that they shouldnt cry, and that its a sign of weakness, but what is the point in our bodies being able to cry then? Every Biological function has at least some purpose... and crying greatly reduces stress, so sit back with a touching movie, and let the tears flow, youl thank yourself for it later.

    3. Baking, then giving most of what I bake to family members or my neighbors, I find making bread by hand the most satisfying and stress relieving, i really enjoy the process, but it takes a long time, so maybe not the best choice for a busy lawyer...

    4. Planting and caring for a garden, or even just house plants, or herbs... herbs are really nice, hard to kill, many are beautiful, and they are useful as well... Lemon thyme is a big favorite of mine.

    5. Strenuous Exercise, 3 times a week, I do mon,wed,fri... with some light cardio every day in between. except my weekend, I rest.

    6. Kava tea... brewed double strength... often shortly before I do any of the things listed above.

    7. Put at least a little time aside for any other hobby that you really enjoy... even if its like 15 minutes a day... if you really love it, that could possibly help...

    these suggestions may or may not work for you, they are just based on what works for me, hopefully at least one of them can be helpful.

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