For a long time, I felt like I was in a pandemic coma. I was living the same life, day in and day out. I didn’t have much energy and I always felt tired. I ended up getting sick, and I had to get an appendectomy to remove my appendix. After the surgery, they also found out I had diverticulitis, which meant I had pouches in the lining of my digestive system that were infected. There were changes I needed to make to my diet and my lifestyle, and I knew I needed a change. 

My family noticed I wasn’t acting like myself anymore. 

I didn’t even want to go on hikes anymore, which I’ve always loved doing. But the real turning point was when my niece approached me and asked why we don’t hang out as much anymore. That was when I knew I needed to do something. My surgery was over, and it was time to get my energy back in any way that I could. I remembered my friend from work, Ro Opinga, had told me about the Thrive Challenge, and I had heard about it in meetings, so I decided to give it a try and see if it could help me feel like myself again. 

I’ve always had trouble with getting enough sleep.

And ever since I had COVID, I felt like my sleep troubles were even worse. I would toss and turn, and eventually turn on the TV. I knew that had to change. I started reading the sleep Microsteps and made a couple changes. First, I reduced my screen time before bed. It wasn’t easy, and I realized I really was addicted to scrolling on my phone before bed. But I pushed myself to move my phone to the opposite side of my bedroom and bought a nice alarm clock to keep next to my bed instead of my phone. I also used the Reset function on the Thrive app to watch nature scenes before bed to help me get settled. That really helped! I even bought myself a rock lamp and an oil diffuser to diffuse lavender oil before bed. I started falling asleep faster and sleeping longer. And now, I don’t even feel the urge to look at my phone in the middle of the night! 

Once I was sleeping better, I had more energy to work on my diet and exercise. 

My routines gradually started changing. When I was recovering from surgery, I was given a list of foods I could and could not eat, so I started cutting down on sugar and adding fiber into my diet. It turns out, beans can be a substitute in almost any recipe, even brownies! I started having less stomach aches and I felt a lot better. I even started taking walks to get in some extra steps. I eventually want to step up my walking to running. 

I’ve started feeling like myself again.

My mind is clearer with more sleep, and I have the energy and drive to visit family and be with my daughter, aunty, and my sister. They have been so supportive and we’re spending more quality time together. I’ve really been trying to find the silver linings in my life. I can see now that my surgery gave me the push to start eating better, moving more, and being a better version of myself. My walking has even led to some dancing!

— Nina Migalski, Walmart Supercentre #3117, Winnipeg, MB; $2K Winner