I got married earlier this year. My husband, Houston, is a Walmart mechanic; he was friends with my first husband who passed away in 2010. We’re happy with our kids and grandkids, but I had struggles with time management. I had too many irons in the fire. I’d stay up late watching T.V., eating chips and candy. My foot hurt, and I was sleep-deprived. I’m 57, and I had high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. 

My 25 year-old son Colton is disabled and I take care of him.

He has a skull defect, and he’s blind in one eye. I also take care of my mom who has dementia. I woke up one day and said, “If I don’t start taking care of myself, I won’t be around to take care of everyone else.” Kathryn Carpitcher inspired me to get started on the Thrive Challenge. She always has a smile for everyone.

I started watching Thrive Resets.

If I’m stressed, I click on the app and watch flowers swaying in the wind, or I do my breathing exercises. My bestie at work, Cara, and I are doing the Challenge together. She’s my accountability buddy. 

On days off, I set aside time to meal prep.

I have a huge lunch box and fill it with chicken, cabbage, cauliflower rice, and a fruit medley. And I don’t get tempted to buy fast food. 

For dinner I make enchiladas or tacos, but I just eat the meat and veggies.

I make stromboli with almond flour, stuffed with meat and veggies. When I take my mom out to eat, I’ll have chicken fajitas or a hamburger, but I don’t have the bread. 

My time management has improved.

I schedule all the appointments for my mom and my son for my days off. I also do laundry on my days off so workdays aren’t full of chores. And I’ve dropped things that aren’t important, so I have more quality time with Colton. We talk and go to Marvel movies together. I have more energy for him, and I don’t get frustrated.

At work, I walk up to 20 thousand steps a day.

I’m a digital shopper and all you do is walk. At home, Houston and I go for walks. I also work out with light weights — I’m trying to build muscle. 

Here comes summer! 

We’re kayaking and we float the river in a row boat, it feels great. We have a pool and I love to swim, and now I don’t feel embarrassed putting on a bathing suit. I’m also wearing sleeveless tops. If I fix my hair, I say to myself “Oh my you’re pretty.”

I take my mom and her four sisters on ladies’ retreats. 

We’ll pile in my Dodge Caravan, drive to Oklahoma City, and spend a few days watching comedy, doing a painting class, and having dinner together. I’ve been doing this for years, but now I’m enjoying our time together much more. They love it, and we all get to take home great memories. 

On days off, Houston and I like to get away — just the two of us.

We’ll rent a hotel room for the night. My sister-in-law, Sally, will take care of my mom and my son. It gives us relaxing time together, away from all our responsibilities. We’ll have a nice dinner and just enjoy each other’s company. 

I also take time for myself.

To unwind, I’ll watch my favorite T.V. shows, like “American Idol.” Then I take a hot bath with soothing epsom salts. And I’m sleeping better.

My foot isn’t hurting and I don’t get out of breath at work.

I’m a friendly person, and I have more energy to help customers. Last week, I helped an elderly man in a wheelchair who was looking for lemon juice. I knew It was at the other end of the store, so I said “Wait right there,” and I put my work on hold to get it for him. He said I’d made his day.

I’ve lost 27 pounds.

I had an appointment with my cardiologist, and when I walked into the room he said, “Oh my gosh you look great.”

I feel happy — in fact bubbly is a better word!

I find a little silliness goes a long way. I have higher self-esteem, and my life has improved almost 100 percent.

— Cheryl Knox, Walmart Supercenter #103, Shawnee, OK; $5K Winner