Balancing everything has always been tough. My husband and I are both in the military, so my family has had to separate, and managing military and civilian life was a challenge. I was not being the best I could be in all capacities. My close friend Alecia Thomas had been encouraging me to participate in the Thrive Challenge since early last year. I was diligent with participating at first, but when my daughter began having seizures, I stopped.

My daughter’s health forced me to reprioritize — I was just trying to find my balance and ensure I used my energy wisely. I started the Challenge again because it helped me to focus on one area at a time.

I started with meals. 

This was a great way for me to also segue to other categories, such as looking at my budget. I saw how much I was spending on fast food and how many calories I was taking in. I saw what changes we could make to help my daughter’s condition through our diet. My goal used to be to lose weight, but I don’t think the number is what I need to focus on right now. I need to stay healthy. I am more fit now than before and I feel like I’m winning.

Sleep is high on the priority list. 

When my daughter had her seizure, I was not able to sleep well. I think I was only getting two hours of sleep. I was constantly checking on her and her brother. Since lack of sleep is a huge trigger for epilepsy, we’ve embraced a better routine. I don’t have a TV in any room and my cell phone stays in my office. It is close enough to hear it in case of an emergency, but far enough away that I have to be intentional around grabbing it. I am sleeping about four more hours a night!

I use the app to keep me mindful.

I’m learning not to sweat the small things. I do daily checks on myself about my energy and how my mind is feeling. We’re more grateful, and use the app to keep us focused on current steps and plan for our next steps. I have been through some hard things in my life and tried to compartmentalize it, but I don’t do that now — I address any challenges head-on. 

With all the changes to our family, we have become much closer.

I thought we were close before, but everything that happened last year really brought us together! We spend time walking, putting puzzles together, and playing Connect Four. The kids’ laughter is the best sound. We are not taking for granted that one of us could be gone so fast. The only thing I can be is grateful! I have my kids around me. I squeeze them both a bit tighter and am so grateful God blessed me with them. They have taught me so much about myself and about who they want to be.

— Dayna Threatt, Walmart Customer, Fredericksburg, VA; $5K Winner