What are the best ways to relax as an INFJ? It’s easy for us to get wound up and start feeling uptight with some many thoughts, emotions, and ideas coursing through our minds. How do INFJs generally unwind and enjoy themselves?
While you no doubt already have relaxing routines and favorite downtime activities and hobbies, seeing what others do for fun and relaxation may introduce you to another life-giving exercise or activity you haven’t yet explored. To that I end, I offer you 11 ways INFJs relax.
Let me be clear: This is NOT a comprehensive list. And while I’ve observed many INFJs enjoying the following activities, these are some of my personal favorite ways to relax in no particular order. I encourage you to share your favorite ways to relax in the comments so that we can all benefit. Let the conversation begin!
1. Listen to music.
Music is a great escape. Instruments, chords, a voice – music expresses thoughts, ideas, and emotions like no other medium can. It can capture all of the sound and the fury of an INFJ’s mind and mirror it back, validating and affirming you all at once.
New songs are also a way to explore and exercise extroverted sensing. One of my favorite pastimes is searching for new artists and songs on YouTube. The related videos feature has helped me discover excellent folk and ambient artists.
Even while I’m working – and especially when I’m forced to fight through the details of daily life – music stimulates my mind and helps me to relax. As a teacher, I grade on a regular basis. Pandora and YouTube have helped me power through many reading and spelling tests. And when it’s time to pay the bills, you can count on my music being on.
2. Play an instrument.
Like all NFs (ENFJs, ENFPs, INFJs, and INFPs), INFJs enjoy learning to play instruments. Some of them even go pro.
But even if you just play avocationally, strumming a guitar, beating a drum, or tooting a horn is a wonderful way to unwind. For one thing, you’re learning new skills and stretching your sensing function, since you have to manipulate the instrument with your fingers and/or feet. But you’re doing in the service of your intuition and creative faculties. Learning an instrument also gives you the ability to play favorite songs, the ones that speak to you like few other things do, over and over in an intimate way.
Music theory can capture your interest too. INFJs see patterns and are drawn to the emotions expressed in different tones, pitches, and chords. And if you enjoy creating and crafting melodies and lyrics, composing your own songs may bring you to life.
3. Head outside.
Just walking around the block can breathe life into you when you’re feeling overwhelmed, lethargic, weighed down, or a bit depressed. A walk offers you a chance to escape from noise and distractions and frees you up to think.
You can head out with a friend or family member to have a deep conversation and share what’s on your mind. Or you can go out alone, leaving yourself ample time to think or pray.
Where you go is up to you. If I have the chance, I love to hike a new trail, explore a new outdoor environment, or stroll around a city. But a walk around my neighborhood can be just as invigorating.
4. Talk about something interesting.
Most days, we hold conversations about concrete, practical matters and the things other people observe with their senses. We discuss WHAT and the HOW, spending little time investigating the WHY and WHAT IF. The main reason is that most people are sensors and prefer to discuss the hear and now.
That’s why a conversation with another intuitive introvert can be so refreshing. Talking with an INFP or another INFJ gives you the opportunity to open up and reveal what’s really on your heart and mind. Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about feeling weird or being rejected because you know the other person understands you and appreciates you for who you are: They want to hear what you have to say.
And conversations with INTJs and INTPs will stimulate that big-picture, deep-question-asking side of you. These highly logical introverts are amazing storehouses of ideas and knowledge. They too are voracious, highly curious researchers. Get together with one of them, and the two of you will surely exchange many interesting ideas.
It goes without saying that most INFJs love to create, so one of the best ways to relax as an INFJ is to take an hour – or a couple hours- and do just that. Paint, draw, write, film, record, design – the form of creativity doesn’t matter.
The act of bringing to life what has never been before will energize you as you give your introverted intuition (Ni) freedom to work. If whatever you make serves others, that’ll be icing on the cake. Helping others in an original way is one of the main reasons I enjoy writing, podcasting, and creating videos.
But even if you’re just creating and exploring a new medium on your own, the activity will still invigorate you and help you unwind.
6. Rearrange your environment.
While INFJ creativity usually manifests itself in the inner world of thoughts and ideas, it also influences our surroundings. I’ve met few INFJs who didn’t enjoy rearranging an office or room in their house, making it more efficient, simple, or functional. Most of the time, INFJs prefer to focus on the intangible inner world, but a real part of us enjoys optimizing the physical world.
I do this in my classroom periodically. A couple months go by, and I come up with a better way to organize student desks, situate my computer, and organize files. My best ideas are a combination of what I’ve seen other teachers do and solutions that I brainstorm. No matter the change, the end goal is often the same: an environment that eliminates monotonous, detail-oriented tasks and unnecessary, time-consuming work.
As curious intuitives, INFJs are often mulling over the big picture and deep questions about life and meaning even from childhood. It’s in our nature to ask and seek answers.
Finding the answers to our theoretical, existential, and psychological questions is energizing and life-giving. We have no trouble spending hours, weeks, and days researching.
Furthermore, how we go about learning and discovering takes a variety of forms. Podcasts, videos, books, movies, conversations – all these research methods and more – work to get the job done.
8. Study people.
Many INFJs are born counselors. It’s hard to not be when your dominant and auxiliary functions – the first two INFJ mindsets – fix your attention on what makes people tick.
We have a knack for seeing other peoples’ perspectives, listening to them, and helping them better understand themselves. We enjoy guiding them through challenges and helping them heal, grow, and change.
Part of what makes us natural counselors, coaches, and mentors is what we think about: We wonder what motivates others and causes them to do what they do. Observing how certain people act and behave helps us make sense of our world and learning more about the human mind, personality, relationships, and the like energizes us and helps us relax.
I’m rediscovering the beauty of a good night’s rest (and a Sunday afternoon nap). Ten years ago, I did a better job of getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, but in the last few years, I’ve let things slip. My mood was the victim.
Recently, I’ve begun prioritizing sleep, and I’ve been enjoying life so much more as a result. Several of my INFJ friends need at least 9 hours per night to be at their best. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the norm, considering we’re sensitive to and aware of stimuli more extroverted people miss.
In high school, I thought I was weird because one of my ESTJ friends could run on five and a half hours of sleep, while I needed at least seven. Since then, I’ve learned that many of the things that energize him drain me. This is the case for many of us who are more affected by loud noises, big groups of people, and intense activity.
In Essentialism, Greg McKeown makes a stellar argument for the value of sleep. Michael Hyatt says it’s made his top 10 books of all time list, and I commend it to you.
10. Get inspired.
Few things will pump you up or inspire you like the story of a down-and-out average Joe (or Jill) overcoming insurmountable obstacles and undergoing a personal transformation in the process. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy The Lord of the Rings Trilogy so much.
A good imaginative story that illustrates a powerful truth you believe in or moves you can refresh and motivate you. Even now, I enjoy reading C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. I love the symbolism and lessons Lewis embeds in each fantasy.
For the past few years, I’ve read mainly non-fiction, but I’m starting to rethink the value of reading – and watching – great fiction.
To be an INFJ is to experience ups and downs, highs and lows. Intuitive gifts come packaged with changes in our moods, whether we like them or not. Fortunately, exercise can help to maintain a more consistent mood and fight the inevitable down days and discouragement.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, exercising will help you relax. Combat negative feelings with endorphins and get your blood flowing. And if you have the chance to connect with other people through some kind of group sport, go for it. Team sports are a great way to exercise your extroverted loop as you cooperate with others (extroverted feeling – Fe) and push yourself physically (extroverted sensing – Se) as you strive to win.
But even if you prefer to work out alone, pursuing a health goal in order to improve your strength, flexibility, and energy levels is rewarding and relaxing.