Exercise as Recovery: Part I

It’s an act of strength to put your wellbeing above your ego.

Welcome to our new series looking at exercise as recovery. Over the next couple months, look out for posts about the role that exercise, specifically group fitness and indoor cycling, can play in recovery from injury, mental and physical illnesses, pregnancy, and more.

We all know the benefits of exercise for your overall health and wellbeing on an ongoing basis, but what about those times when you’ve been forced to take a break? How do you come back from an injury or illness and safely reincorporate exercise back into your routine, and what are the benefits of doing so?

Returning to spin will bring you back into a community full of support.

Returning to spin will bring you back into a community full of support.

Today, we’re looking at exercise as recovery from physical injury. Whether you’ve taken a week off due to a busted knee or sprained ankle, or you’ve been spending months resting after a back surgery or broken bone, climbing back onto the bike can be daunting to say the least. Not only does your body feel a little bit shaky, maybe weaker than you’re accustomed to, but you’re probably nervous about the possibility of re-injury. 

Those feelings are totally normal, but here are some reasons why returning to the bike post-injury can be great for you:

  • It sets aside scheduled time for you to focus on your own health and healing.

  • It brings you back to a community full of positivity and encouragement.

  • It puts you into a setting that will guide you through work outs safely, with instructors who can help you gradually build and modify along the way.

  • It’s a low impact exercise that will build your strength back up with minimal opportunity for re-injury.

  • It gives you a great measuring stick for progress as you move through the stages of recovery.

  • It improves heart health, increases muscle and bone density, and reduces inflammation – all of which can help you recover from injury faster.

So, you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your doctor or physical therapist to return to exercise, and you’ve decided that the benefits outweigh the nerves. It’s time to clip into that bike. It’s important, though, to remember that you can’t, or shouldn’t, ride exactly the way that you did pre-injury, at least not right away. There’s going to be a learning curve for body and mind as you get back into the rhythm of the ride.

Here are some general rules of thumb for returning to spin class after an injury:

1) Take it slow.

Do not jump back into your regular routine of spinning multiple times a week. Ease back into it, a little at a time. This is not just because your muscles have weakened while you’ve been away, but also because the communication between your body and mind needs to be built up again. This takes time, and requires breaks in between work outs.

2) Hold yourself back a little bit.

This is easier said than done. When the music gets going and your instructor starts telling you to crank the dial to the right, your instinct might be to try to keep up with the group around you. But remember, this is your ride, and you’re here to do what’s best for you. To help keep you accountable to easing back in, talk to your instructor before class. Let them know that you are recovering, and your priority today is to simply get moving rather than pushing to your 10/10. Your instructor will be happy to support you in this, and it will help to prevent you from re-injury.

3) Listen to pain.

Drink extra water as your body acclimates to sweating again.

Drink extra water as your body acclimates to sweating again.

Always, but especially after recovering from an injury, pain is your cue to pull back. Work on being extra attuned to your body and knowing when to stop. There’s no shame in that; in fact, it’s an act of strength to put your wellbeing above your ego.

4) Pay extra attention to nutrition and hydration. 

Drink extra water as your body acclimates to your sweaty work outs again. Eat leafy green vegetables and nuts, full of magnesium to help with sore muscles, and lots of anti-inflammatory foods, like turmeric, ginger, garlic, salmon, flaxseeds, and hemp hearts.

We hope these tips help you to get back on the bike with confidence if you are recovering from an injury. If you have any questions, please comment below, and let us know if you have any questions you would like answered in upcoming posts about using exercise as recovery from mental illness, surgery, pregnancy, etc.



To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse?

It’s a launching pad for clean eating,
a stepping stone towards optimal health.

We all know that to be “healthy” we have to eat our fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, exercise regularly, and sleep deeply. If we do these things, we’ll probably feel pretty good most of the time. But what a lot of us don’t know is that it’s possible to feel more than pretty good. It’s actually possible to feel great, a lot of the time, and what’s crazy is that so many of us don’t even know what that might feel like. We’ve gotten used to feeling pretty good.

As a holistic nutritionist-in-training, one of the epiphanies I keep having over and over again is that we’ve given up on optimal health. We’ve decided that feeling fatigued, sleeping restlessly, having digestive problems, experiencing debilitating PMS, and more is normal. These things might be common, but they don’t have to be normal. There’s so much more contributing to your health than vegetables and water, and when you start to nurture these other areas – like relationships, time in nature, a diet rich in local and seasonal foods – and when you start experimenting with possible ways to lend your body a hand – like with supplements, different food preparation techniques, and cleansing – you might notice that you feel better than you thought you could.

Cleansing is the practice that scared me the most. I eat a lot. My days are long, typically keeping me on the go from about 6am to 10pm, and I work out for work, teaching 10-12 spin and barre classes a week. Those two factors combined mean that my calorie consumption is probably much higher than it is for other women my age and size (although I’ve never counted a calorie and couldn’t begin to guess how many I consume and burn in a day, sorry not sorry). I also love food. I see it as fuel, I see it as medicine, but I also see it as the most fun and creative part of my day. I like to cook, I like to eat, and I did not like the idea of not doing those things for a few days.

In school I learned that one of the major health practices missing from Western culture is fasting, or cleansing. Plenty of ancient traditions and Eastern cultures have fasting built into their customs and rituals. And guess what? They have much healthier digestive systems than we do. (There are other contributing factors, of course. For example, fermented foods are missing as a staple in most Western diets. And we eat a lot more sugar and refined carbohydrates.) Digestion is the bodily process that takes up the most energy. If your digestion is sluggish, it could not only be stopping you from absorbing necessary nutrients, but could be contributing to that overall feeling of fatigue that seems to plague so many of us. We abuse our digestive systems, pouring in tons of processed foods, alcohol, dairy, and other foods that are tough to break down, but, what’s almost worse is that we never give our digestive systems a break. While it’s still working on the ice cream from last night, we’re up again and giving it some coffee to contend with.

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I knew all of this, but I was still resistant to try a cleanse myself, because I didn’t want to feel hungry. I couldn’t imagine having only water or juice for several days in a row. Then, a local smoothie company called Blended For You approached me and asked if I would try one of their smoothie cleanses. This sounded like the perfect fit for me: I could give my body the break from food that it needed, but still get all the vitamins and nutrients I craved for fuel, and enjoy different blends of flavours and ingredients throughout the day.

I tried the Trainer Cleanse, which consists of five smoothies a day for three days. I loved that each smoothie was so different, and that I was given an order in which to enjoy them – it took out the guesswork and made me feel supported along the way. I started my day with the Greens Daily Dose, had the Greens Detox, The Athlete, and The Remedy on-the-go throughout the day, and ended my day with the Blueberry Boost. Each one was packed with a hearty base of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like coconut oil or almond butter, and had different therapeutic boosters such as dandelion root, spirulina, turmeric, and more.

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The smoothies come to you packaged and frozen. I would simply move tomorrow’s smoothies from the freezer to the fridge, and when I was ready to enjoy, I would add the smoothie to a mason jar with either coconut water or just filtered tap water, shake it up, and drink. It was quick and easy, and delicious. My favourite smoothie was definitely the Greens Detox. It’s a spicy smoothie made with spinach, kale, lemon, avocado, cucumber, cayenne, vegan protein blend, turmeric, ginger, dandelion root, and chlorophyll. Wow! That’s a good pre-work out smoothie. I hadn’t felt that energized in a long time.

What I love about Blended For You, aside from the fact that they’re a local company making health more accessible, is that they really aim to use the smoothie cleanse to set you up for success moving forward. This cleanse is not about taking a break from bad habits so that you can return to bad habits with more vigour; rather, it’s a launching pad for clean eating, a stepping stone towards that state of optimal health the we were talking about. They provide an awesome ingredient guide that gives you plenty of ideas for how to structure your diet after the cleanse so that you can continue to feel great.

So, how did I feel on the cleanse? I felt good! Mornings were the best part. I had more time, I had a kick of fresh vitamins, and I felt motivated by my healthy choices. I also probably taught some of the best classes I have in a long while, because I felt lighter, more focused, and more energized. By dinner time, I was hungry. I ended up steaming some broccoli and carrots for a small meal, just to get the sense of my stomach feeling full. But in terms of energy levels, strength and endurance, mental focus, and mood – I was feeling better than usual.

The key, as always, is to listen to your body. That sounds a lot easier than it really is. It takes time to build that connection that allows you to really hear what your body needs. If you haven’t yet gotten the message that you need to cleanse, then don’t do it. But if you’re starting to sense that your system needs a bit of a break, I highly recommend the Blended For You smoothie cleanse as a safe and approachable option. And again, when cleansing, be flexible. Listen. A cleanse is not about starving your body (at all!), it’s about supporting your body.

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Cleanses don’t seem so scary to me anymore, but I do think I’ll stick to a Blended For You smoothie cleanse next time my digestive system needs a break, rather than diving into a water cleanse (not for me!). Since my cleanse, I’ve been turning to their smoothies to supplement my diet. I love the Greens Detox whenever I need an energy boost midday, and the Maca Energy is a great coffee replacement in the morning. Blended For You doesn’t only offer cleanse packages; you can handpick your own selection of favourites, and sprinkle them into your diet, which is a great option if you feel like you need a boost of nutrients.

And guess what? All Cadence riders get a discount on their first purchase from Blended For You! Use code CADENCEVAN$15 upon purchase to get $15 off your first order, valid until March 31.

If you have any questions about the smoothies, or about cleanses or nutrition in general, feel free to reach out by leaving a comment below or finding me in the studio.

-Olivia

Couples Who Sweat Together

Working out together unites us around a common goal.

Our community is such a supportive place, and we especially love the energy in the studio when loved ones show up to support each other. Seeing families and friends ride together and celebrate each other’s successes is so special. So, in honour of Valentine’s Day, we are featuring one of our favourite Cadence couples. 

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Harper and Michael have been riding together at Cadence for over a year now, and they never fail to impress us with their positivity and determination. We sat down with them to find out a little more about why they love riding together and how they’re able to coordinate their schedules to prioritize their shared work outs. We are so inspired by them, and we know that they’ll inspire you, too!

Cadence: Tell us a bit about how long you two have been together!

Harper: We’ve been together for ten years. We met at UBC in the Greek system where we played on multiple intramural sports teams together. We just got married last year! We had two weddings – one in Canada last August and one a few weeks ago in Kenya!

C: Congratulations! Can you describe each other in a sentence or two? What stands out about the other’s personality?

H: Michael is the most outgoing, charismatic person I know! He’s amazing at connecting with pretty much anyone.

Michael: Harper is the most wonderful and loving soul with unlimited talents including delicious cooking and overly-competitive Catan!

C: So how and when did you find Cadence, and what has made you stick around?

H: We’ve been spinning together for about a year and a half. When we were getting back into exercise leading up to the wedding, we found Cadence and fell in love with the laidback, non-pretentious, and friendly vibes. Everyone at Cadence is so incredibly supportive and encouraging of our goals!

C: What do you love about taking class together?

H: We love signing along to the music and encouraging each other to push harder! The high five at the end of a class you’ve both crushed is super sweet.

C: Are you competitive with each other or mostly cheering each other on? Or both?

H: A bit of both for sure! We always compare average watts at the end of class. But we celebrate each other showing up every time because that’s what counts!

C: Do you have any tips for coordinating your schedules so that you can commit to making it to class together?

M: We have a shared workout calendar on iCal! Whenever one of us books a class, it shows up for the other. That’s really helpful in coordinating our schedules and it helps us to stay consistent. We usually book a week in advance so we never miss out on our favourite classes.

C: That’s such a great tip! Why does working out together matter to you and your relationship?

H: Working out together unites us around a common goal that is outside of our careers, which brings us closer.

C: What inspires you most about each other?

M: Harper is so goal-driven and holds herself and everyone around her to the highest standard.

H: Michael is absolutely fearless in pursuit of his dreams and never gives up.


Happy Valentine’s Day from everybody at Cadence!

The Scoop on Supplements

Usually a normal diet and lifestyle keeps your electrolyte levels
in check, but excessive sweating (due to, say, spinning)
can diminish your electrolyte store.

An ongoing conversation in the health and wellness industry is whether supplements should be recommended, or whether a well-balanced diet of whole foods makes supplementation a moot point (if you’re not eating a well-balanced diet of whole foods, then supplementation is less controversial). Taking vitamin B12 as a natural energy booster at lunch, magnesium to help you relax before bed, and vitamin C to improve your immunity could be daily occurrences as long as they fit certain criteria that work for you (namely, does doing so address a deficiency, does it make you feel better, and are you supplementing food rather than replacing food).

But what about supplementing under special circumstances? For example, when working out. Usually, consistent supplementation (daily) is necessary to see the desired benefits, but when it comes to exercise, you might need an extra something. In fact, you may be supplementing without even thinking about it. Do you bring sports drinks to class? Do you add any powders to your water? Do you crave a salty snack post-spin? If so, you’re supplementing with electrolytes.

Electrolytes are minerals, specifically sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and bicarbonate, that are found in your blood, sweat, and urine. They’re essential to the proper functioning of your body. Your body is constantly working to maintain homeostasis – the dynamic equilibrium at which everything from salt-fluid balance, to temperature, to pH levels is held within a very narrow window that keeps you ticking – and your electrolyte levels are crucial to regulating this balance.

Sodium is essential to proper functioning of your nervous system, potassium helps to regulate proper fluid balance, calcium and magnesium are needed for proper contraction of your muscles (that includes your heart!), and all the electrolytes contribute to the most important factor of homeostasis: regulation of internal pH levels. Usually a normal diet and lifestyle keeps your electrolyte levels in check, but heat, illness, or excessive sweating (due to, say, spinning) can diminish your electrolyte store. You feel thirsty as a result, but replenishing with water is replacing only the fluid, not the lost electrolytes.

What happens when you’re low in electrolytes? Well, a mild disturbance will go unnoticed. (You may just feel the need to crack open a bag of potato chips to curb the salt craving). But a more severe imbalance will result in fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, numbness or tingling, confusion, muscle weakness, cramping, headaches, or convulsions. If you’ve ever experienced these symptoms post-spin, it may be a sign that you’re sweating out more electrolytes than you’re taking in.

In the spirit of turning to food first, here are some foods containing electrolytes that would be great options for pre- or post-spin snacks: bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes (for potassium), nuts and seeds (for magnesium), leafy green vegetables (for calcium), and pickled and salty foods (for sodium and chloride). Making a green smoothie packed with spinach, bananas, and nut milk would give you a good dose of electrolytes.

If you’re still experiencing signs of an electrolyte deficiency as a result of your sweaty ride, then consider supplementation. Most people turn to sports drinks like Gatorade for this, but the additives like sugar and colouring are less than ideal. You can make your own electrolyte drink by adding a bit of salt (1/4 teaspoon), some lemon juice (1/4 cup), and some coconut water (about a cup), to your bottle of water. Or, you can add electrolyte tablets or powders to your water. There are plenty to choose from, so consider ingredients like added colour, sugar, flavouring, and so on, as well as additional nutrients, like vitamin C, when making your choice.

The key is to listen to your body. Excessive supplementation is not good (there’s such a thing as too many electrolytes), so if you’ve never experienced any of the signs of low electrolyte levels, then your diet is probably providing you with sufficient amounts. If you have experienced the signs, try altering your snack choices on the day of your work outs to see if that helps, and if it doesn’t do the trick, look for a supplement that fits for you. Everybody’s body is different and needs different support, so it’s all about tuning in and listening closely. Leave a comment if you have any questions!

Goal Setting

Spend time defining your motivation.

Lately it’s become trendy to reject the idea of New Year resolutions, in favour of the perspective that goal-setting should not be isolated to one point in the year. Whether or not you agree with this opinion, there’s no harm in taking the beginning of a new calendar year as an opportunity to refine intentions and priorities!

We also have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps the reason why people have turned their backs on New Year resolutions is that their goal-setting techniques are not as effective as they could be, and so they wind up feeling as if it’s all a waste of time. So, we’ve compiled some goal-setting strategies for you. You can take January as an opportunity to set some new goals, or you can wait until it feels more natural for you – either way, we hope these tips will help you to find success in achieving your goals this year.

1) Set yourself up for success, not failure.

We all know that the number one rule of goal-setting is to be realistic. Don’t give yourself an insurmountable task that you’ve already, on some level, accepted that you will not achieve. When you do this, you’re setting yourself up for failure and all the crappy feelings that come along with it. Instead, create a goal that you know you can achieve. Then, identify the specific blocks you’ve had in pursuit of this goal in the past – the reasons why you haven’t yet achieved it even though you know you could. Once you’ve got those reasons, you can work towards setting yourself up for success by addressing those blocks.

2) Be clear on your why.

Spend time defining your motivation. Write it down if you have to. Before committing to a specific goal, be very clear with yourself on why you want to achieve it, and then remind yourself of this motivation whenever you need an extra push.

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3) Have an accountability partner.

Find somebody you trust to help hold you accountable! Let them know what you’re working towards and why, and ask them to check in with you once in a while. Your closest accountability partner and biggest motivator should be yourself, but if you have another person who can be there to surprise you with check ins, and to hear your successes and struggles, you’ll be a little more likely to continue down the right path.

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4) Celebrate your successes.

Know the stepping stones towards the bigger picture, and celebrate those small successes. Decide in the beginning what your treats to yourself will be. Is your goal to spin three times a week? Maybe after a month of consistent spinning you treat yourself to a new water bottle or go out for brunch. You should acknowledge your efforts and be proud of all you accomplish in pursuit of your ultimate goal.

5) Know that it’s not all or nothing.

One of the greatest downfalls of reaching goals is the idea that one misstep means that we’ve failed. If you want to spin three times a week, and one week you only make it onto the bike once, it’s easy to throw your hands up and decide you’ve already failed, so you may as well give up. Instead of buying into this “all or nothing” attitude, be gentle and remind yourself that it’s a learning process and a slow build towards your goal. You can try again next week to make it to class three times, and if you only go twice, well that’s still a step in the right direction!

Do you have any goals for 2019? Share in the comments below!

Defining the Cadence Ride

There’s a why behind everything we do.
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As we move into a new year and renew our fitness goals, and as more and more spin studios pop up around the city, we want to give you a clear idea of exactly what you can expect from a Cadence ride. It might sound silly to those new to spin to say that there are so many different types of rides being offered out there. Spin is spin is spin, right? Wrong. Each studio has its own philosophy, its own methods, its own goals, its own rhythm.

Let’s define the Cadence ride.

1) Power

First and foremost, Cadence offers a power-focused ride. This means that your Classic Cadence rides will be made up of lots of climbs. Hills will be longer and heavier than you might be accustomed to at other spin studios, and speed work will also have a definitively strength-based feel. (There’s no bouncing around or 130RPM sprints going on here; your legs are working the entire time.) Expect to become close friends with that tension dial and gear shift – you will be using them frequently throughout the ride, constantly playing with resistance to continue pushing yourself. We encourage you to use the console and track your watts so that you have a clear idea of your power output. (Read more on riding with watts here.) The result? You actually get stronger.


2) Music

Music is the driving force behind our rides. It guides our movements and provides much-needed motivation. (Read more on how music guides the ride here.) Every stroke of the pedal is choreographed to the beat. However, there’s none of that “left-right, left-right” nonsense. We find that kind of instruction intimidating and distracting, not motivating. Instead, your instructor will give you some “1-2” counts to help you find the beat and will let you know what RPM you’re aiming for to hit the rhythm of the music, all in an effort to encourage the group to ride together and to fulfill the intention of the exercise, but if you’re off the beat, it’s really no big deal. You do you. Just let the music help to push you up that hill!


3) Inclusivity

Our philosophy on music carries into our philosophy on resistance, movement, and everything else. That is, you do you. Your instructor has planned a ride with a specific intention in mind, and every instruction you’re getting is in service of that intention, but, ultimately, this is your ride. You don’t have to add tension every time you’re asked to, you don’t have to stand up when everybody else does, and you don’t have to take a recovery if you don’t need one. We understand that you might have an injury you’re working through, you might be new to spin and still figuring out how your body moves on the bike, your energy might be different than usual today, or you might be at your peak performance level and ready to push hard. Modifications and adjustments are encouraged, as your instructor will remind you throughout the ride, and we’ve specifically designed our rides to suit every fitness and experience level and to allow for those modifications. There’s no judgment here. Our goal is to set you up for success, not failure.


4) Goal-Setting

The Cadence ride is not about dancing on the bike. The Cadence ride is about getting a solid work out. We know that people flock to Cadence for all different sorts of reasons, and we love the diversity of our clientele, but we assume that each of you climbs onto that bike with some sort of fitness goal in mind. Whether you just want to sprinkle some sweaty cardio into your weekly routine or you’re training for a PB at your next race, we encourage you to have a specific, measurable goal that you’re working towards. Our rides are designed to help you reach those goals. While our sense of community is so strong that you’ll find people lingering long after class, sipping their coffee and chatting, and while the room inevitably turns into a sweaty, loud, pulsating space every single time, we don’t lose sight of the fact that our purpose is to help you reach your fitness goals. We want to see you get stronger over time, and we love celebrating those successes with you.


5) Intention

There’s a why behind everything we do. Every piece of the ride, every part of your experience, is in service of a greater intention. We want you to be able to give yourself over to the ride with the trust that your instructor has got your back. Every instructor has a ton of experience and knowledge behind each decision they’ve made; we’re not jumping now just for the hell of it or starting our ride with a climb for no reason. The Cadence ride has been carefully crafted. It’s why our riders do get stronger, and continuously set higher bars for themselves. Whether you’re jumping in Pauline’s Rhythm Ride or on the ninth minute of your climb in Jaclyn’s Classic Cadence Class, you’re there for a reason.


All in all, the Cadence ride is a power-based, music-driven, goal-focused ride, that has been carefully crafted to make room for every type of rider imaginable. If you have any questions about what to expect or want to know more about why we do what we do, leave a comment below. We’ll see you on the bike!

Wish List

There are two types of people in this world: those who start their holiday shopping in July and are done by Fall, and those who start their holiday shopping halfway through December and are scrambling for last minute ideas that still seem thoughtful and planned. If you fall into the second group, we’re here for you.

Cadence hoodie in blue, $65

Cadence hoodie in blue, $65

We have brand new sweatshirts at the studio that are sooo cozy, not to mention super cute. Designed by our in-house graphic artist, Emma Hands, they make the perfect gift for anybody on your list who loves riding with us, or who just needs a comfy cover up for their gym clothes.

Available in red and blue, they’re good for guys and gals. Grab one for your bestie, or better yet, put it on your own wish list! That’s what we did. Each sweatshirt comes with a custom pin designed by Emma as well, to make it extra special.

In addition to our sweatshirts, there’s loads of other merch at the studio right now, so be sure to take a browse next time you pop in for a ride. You might find the perfect gifts for the people left on your list.

What are we getting for our loved ones? The gift of spin, of course! Don’t forget that we have gift cards, so that you can treat your friends and fam to a ride and share your favourite work out with them. This is the perfect gift for anybody who wants to make spin a part of their regular routine in the new year, or who might just want to find a new way to move and sweat. With the gift of spin, you can’t go wrong.

Have fun shopping!

End of Year Resolutions

Finish your year strong

Have you ever noticed that when we hit this time of year, we tend to pretend that the next few weeks don’t count, because we’ll make up some New Year’s resolutions to counteract our December decisions? We decide that we’ll do better and be better come January, so it’s okay if we lose sight of all goals, intentions, and ambitions over the holidays.

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At Cadence, we’re all about living in the present and making the most of every moment. That’s why we want to invite you to join us in making some End of the Year Resolutions. There’s still three weeks left in 2018! That’s enough time to read a novel from start to finish, take yourself to a museum or gallery that you’ve been dying to visit, or to attend, like, ten more spin classes (maybe we’re getting a little too ambitious?). Our advice is to give yourself five minutes today to write out your “resolutions” for the end of 2018. It will get you feeling inspired and motivated.

It’s busy this time of year, we get it, but that’s all the more reason to resolve to focus on yourself. This is the perfect opportunity to schedule in some me-time, to make the final push towards your last New Year’s Resolutions, or to give yourself a project that excites you, and actually allow yourself the time to do it. Don’t let December be an excuse to lose sight of your goals – use these last few weeks as motivation to finish your year strong!