What is Your Infradian Rhythm?

infradian rhythm

Did you know you have an infradian rhythm?

It’s OK, I didn’t know either…

Agh, when I think about all the things I never knew about my body until I was in my 30s I cringe… 

And then I get pissed. 

I learned about the menstrual cycle the same way I imagine most women do… as this inconvenient, totally embarrassing shameful thing that happens to girls once a month. 

The truth is though, there’s so much more to our cycles than just “that time of the month” (rolls eyes). 

We women have an entire rhythm all our own — think like your circadian rhythm (and what might happen if you just decided to start your day at 2am). 

This is the equivalent of what we’re doing in our monthly cycle — we completely ignore it. 

Because it was never introduced to us. 

Meet your Infradian rhythm. 

The infradian rhythm is what your menstrual cycle is. Yep, they never covered this part in that infamous “talk” in fifth grade.

Just like our daily circadian rhythm, our monthly infradian rhythm affects the brain, hormones, metabolism — virtually every part of our body.

And when we work with it, it can not only affect our health but make life easier — think more ease and flow, less stress, better energy. All just by working with our body instead of against it.

Consider this — 

For most of us we get up, we do the same things each day, we do the same workout, we do the same job or activities. Then we come home, wrap up the day, wind down, go to bed, then wake up and do it all again.

This works great for men. The way men’s bodies work they run on a 24 hour cycle. They don’t have an infradian rhythm. So going for the same morning run, drinking the same morning coffee, and following the same daily routine suits their biology.

Women are more complex (think magic vs. maintenance here)… stay with me… 

  • Have you ever felt like your body just wouldn’t let you do your normal workout? 
  • Are there times you feel more creative and inspired than others? 
  • Have you ever caught yourself instinctively cleaning out the junk drawer? 
  • Do you ever have days when you can feel your energy is turned inward – maybe you’re more reflective or feel “in your head”? 

OK, now, when you have these moments try asking yourself — where am I in my cycle? And notice…. 

The infradian rhythm is a 4-phase cycle. Depending on where you are in that cycle, your biology and energy is more primed for different things (think running vs. yoga). Here’s what’s happening in each phase…. 

The 4 Phases of the Infradian Rhythm

Follicular phase
(morning, spring) 

This is the time just after your period has ended. It’s the time of new beginnings (think spring or early morning energy). It’s when we’re best supported for planning and initiation. This is a great time to brainstorm, start a new project, try something new.

Ovulatory phase
(mid-day, summer)

This is when you’re ovulating (and also your most fertile) which means you’re also at your most attractive, most magnetic. This is the best time to connect and be visible. It’s when higher intensity workouts may feel really good and energizing. Communication and connection skills are on point so it’s a good time to make that pitch.

Luteal phase
(afternoon, fall)

This is when energy begins to shift more inward. We can become more focused, detail-oriented. It’s a good time to finish projects, tie up loose ends, get analytical (ie. analyze data or clean out your closet).

Menstrual phase
(night, winter)

This is when we’re designed to rest and reflect. Our right and left sides of the brain are most interconnected and we have the most access to our intuition. It’s a good time to make decisions, journal, meditate, and reflect on what’s going well and what’s not so you can adjust.

When we connect to this rhythm and use it to enhance our energy and our lives, magic happens. And burnout doesn’t.

THIS is how we protect our energy. And harness it to do the most good.

Obviously we can’t plan everything around our biological clock. But we can be strategic with it and organize some of the big things that are within our control. 

Here’s a few examples of what following the cycle looks like in real life….

  • Block off time just after your period (follicular phase) to brainstorm new ideas for work.
  • Plan more dinner with friends, nights out, and events during the first two weeks of your cycle (follicular and ovulatory).
  • Go to a networking event during ovulation (your energy at that time will draw people to you).
  • Take a kickboxing class during the ovulatory phase.
  • Tackle any at home organization projects (like cleaning out the junk drawer) in the luteal phase.
  • Opt for gentle yoga, meditation or skip the workout during the menstrual phase.
  • Review goals, assess your progress, and make adjustments based on what you want during the menstrual phase.

Cool, right? 

I can’t stop thinking about how different the experience of “the talk” would be if it was about THIS vs. how to hide a pad in your sleeve and get to the bathroom without anyone noticing. 

If we learned how to listen to our bodies instead of feeling shame about them.

I’m holding a vision for something so much more for or daughters — for future of generations of all women.

We’re taking back the keys, ladies. The keys to our bodies that have been hidden from us for so long. Here’s to handing them to our daughters so they can unlock their magic, just like we are.

If you want to learn more about the infradian rhythm check out the work of Alissa Vitti, a fellow health coach and women’s health expert who’s at the forefront of this research and education. I haven’t read her new book In the Flow yet – it’s on my list. Her first book Woman Code is still one of my favs. 

P.S. If this fires you up like it does me and has you feeling inspired and wanting to reconnect with your own body and your own feminine super powers, this is what we do in my functional health coaching practice. Interested? Best thing to do is schedule a strategy session with me here to get on the waitlist.

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