During the pandemic, my mom caught COVID and barely survived. I was so relieved that she made it through, but just a few months later, she was diagnosed with cancer. Just like that, she was gone. My mom was a huge part of my life. She took care of my kids while I was at work. Within just 4 months, my life was turned completely upside down.

I was in a dark place.

I just wasn’t happy. I was working myself to death, and I wasn’t taking care of myself anymore. Around the one year anniversary of my mom’s death, I felt like I needed to reset. I needed to do something to be happy for my kids, and everything was just burning me out. 

I had heard about the Thrive Challenge from our HR Manager.

Her name is Shaneese Hernandez, and she was a previous winner. She always talked about it in meetings, and I could tell it was working for her. Then one day I grabbed one of the Thrive Challenge Entry Books in the breakroom and started reading the stories. It was the push I needed to get started.

My first step was declaring an end to my workday.

I needed to set better boundaries with work. I work 12-hour shifts to begin with, but as a manager it’s more like 14 hours. So I just started setting a timer, and every night when the timer goes off, that’s when I walk out the door. I realized that the one small step of setting a timer helped me prioritize everything that I would have put off until the end of my shift.

A few months ago, my manager told me he noticed a change.

When he met me I was super positive and happy, but he’s seen everything I’ve gone through. He told me he’s seeing my old spark back. I’m happier, and it’s having a positive impact on my work. 

My husband sees the difference in me, too. 

We were high school sweethearts and have been married for 17 years. He’s noticed that I’m going outside to play with the kids instead of isolating myself. We’re doing more as a family and we’ve saved at least $2,500 in the last 4 months alone, just from cooking at home and preparing dinners at home instead of going out to eat.

Once a week, I take a few hours for myself.

Sometimes I read a book or watch a movie I’ve been dying to see. It helps me find balance. I’m also taking time to listen more and be there for my associates. It’s important to me to be conscious about connecting with them. It means a lot to me that my coworkers can see the difference in me!

I like how the Thrive app helps me reset.

In our hustle-and-bustle world, it’s easy to ignore notifications, but I love how the app helps me take a moment to reflect and reset to focus on my goals. Having healthier boundaries is giving me more confidence, and the app helps me maintain all the effort I’ve put in so far. I’m happy that I can look back on the dark place I was in before, and see where I am now. I’m very appreciative of everything I have that life has given me.

— Ann Carter, Distribution Center #6020, Brooksville, FL; $5K Winner