Advocates (INFJs) and Mental Load: It’s Unavoidable

Advocates (INFJs) are pretty much destined by personality type to have a constant, ever-present to-do list. Floating through their mind might be everything from making sure that the day’s meals are planned out to knowing exactly how much money still needs to be set aside to pay rent for the month. They might also be thinking about the favor they promised to their neighbor and are probably wanting to check in with their partner to see how their big meeting went.

Mental load is the everyday thinking required to keep your life on track. It is the invisible cognitive workout behind everything you do. At home, at school, or on the job – you can’t escape it. As we discussed in this article, how a person handles their mental load has a lot to do with their personality traits.

As Judging types, Advocates usually work off of a plan. As Introverts, they’re unlikely to ask for help unless it’s absolutely necessary. As Intuitive types, they have an uncanny ability to anticipate what needs to be done in the context of the big picture of their lives, and as Feeling personalities, they are driven to take on responsibilities that will lighten the load for everyone around them.

It’s no wonder that most Advocates say they get easily flustered. They tend to put a lot on their plate.

But if you ask, you might be surprised to learn that most of them probably wouldn’t have things any other way. For certain people, there’s a level of comfort to be found in the predictable nature of attending to both the big and little details of life. Most Advocates fall into this group, and if pressed, they would probably admit to enjoying many of the things that they do that fall into the “responsibility” category.

As purpose-driven personalities, Advocates thrive when they feel like they are doing good through their deeds. Whether they are focused on their work, dedicating time to an altruistic project, or simply taking care of the mundane tasks of everyday life, they feel a sense of conviction and confidence when their efforts support the greater good. It’s this intentionality that fuels them to power through much of the stress that their mental load may cause.

Details, Details, Details

Advocates are goal-oriented but have a strong tendency to focus on details. If their aim is to have an artfully arranged home that feels inviting and relaxing, for example, they’ll probably spend a fair amount of energy on all the tasks that come together to create that reality – carefully arranging the decor, cleaning, and organizing on a regular basis.

This attention to detail – and, frankly, their tendency for perfectionism – could become problematic if they live with a partner or friends. For Advocates, it may be frustrating to deal with other personality types who don’t maintain shared spaces to their level of expectation. But rather than voicing their concerns, they may just assume other people’s responsibilities, adding to their already weighty mental load.

This same dynamic can easily play out in all areas of Advocates’ lives, impacting the cognitive workout required to keep things up to par at home, at work, at school, or within their roles in the community.

The Identity Factor for Advocates and Their Mental Load

Having a heavy mental load is one thing, but how we feel about that mental load is a whole different ball game.

Some Advocates manage to take their high expectations and intense sense of responsibility in stride, moving ahead through their to-do lists like well-trained athletes. They might break a sweat, but that’s the point. They’re confident in the way that they tackle their tasks and feel like they know how to effectively handle the stress that their mental load may cause.

At the same time, other Advocates may end up struggling under the weight of everything, especially if they have to deal with something unexpectedly difficult or demanding.

This has everything to do with whether they have the Assertive or Turbulent trait and how it manifests for any individual with this personality type.

One telling example of this can be found in the results of our “Handling Stress” survey. More than 77% of Advocates admit that they often feel overwhelmed by life – one of the personality types most likely to admit to feeling that way. But if you break this down a little further, you’ll see that only about 45% of Assertive Advocates (INFJ-A) agree with the statement, compared to approximately 84% of Turbulent Advocates (INFJ-T).

This personality trait has a strong influence on whether Advocates feel like they are able to stay on top of their ever-expanding to-do list. It also impacts how they respond to the efforts of other people and whether they feel like they are able to live up to their own expectations for themselves.

A Natural Load to Carry

It seems like Advocates, by their very nature, have a natural affinity for building up a mental load, even if they sometimes struggle beneath its weight. Considering their combination of personality traits, taking on responsibility and keeping track of the countless little details of daily life is nearly unavoidable.

If you’re an Advocate, what are some healthy methods that you have used to deal with your mental load? How do you walk that line between confidently carrying on and stressed-out overwhelm? Let us know with a comment below.

Further Reading