My lifestyle used to be way too busy, and it always felt like I had no time to breathe. I didn’t feel like I was spending enough time with my girls, and I was too tired to keep up at work. At home, I felt like I was often on edge and was very irritable. I was also on my phone too much, and it was taking away from time with my kids. 

I needed some help relaxing and recharging without my phone around.

My Store Manager, Cliff Drew, told me about the Thrive Challenge, and I remember saying to myself, “2023 will be the year I will finally learn to relax and take the time I need.” I decided my first step would be putting my phone down when I got home. I was on it too much and it was holding our whole family back from much-needed time together. 

I started putting my phone away when I was with my girls, and it made a huge difference.

Making that one change helped us spend more time together by cutting out all the unnecessary distractions. Now, whether we’re watching a movie or doing homework, we’re enjoying that time. We love watching a family movie with popcorn before bed. We also enjoy snowmobiling as a family. And we’ve been having more meals at home together, too. We work different shifts so we are still in and out all the time, but we decided that when we’re home, we’re spending time as a family. 

My next step was cutting out a lot of the sodas I was drinking before.

I cut down about 75% of the pop I had been drinking, and it really gave me more energy to play with my kids. I still eat three meals a day but I also make sure to only eat until I’m full and not overly full. I’m a very picky eater so it can be hard sometimes, but I find myself eating a lot of chicken and veggies, like broccoli. I also love having a little piece of dark chocolate. It only takes a tiny amount to quench a craving!

We’re saving $100 a month just on food!

I used to eat out three to five times a week, and then on the weekends we would order takeout because I was so tired from the week. Now that I’m finally giving myself time to relax, I have the energy to cook, which is helping us save. We’ve been working on looking at some of our purchases and seeing if they’re reasonable. For us, we spend a lot of money on concerts. So this year we decided to only do one of the two multi-day music festivals we usually attend. Cutting out just the one three day concert will save us approximately $5000 this year after you calculate everything to do with the trip!

Now, I do my best to put the phone down as soon as I get home.

I remind myself not to get caught scrolling for hours. Instead, I make a schedule for myself to have some tech-free time at night. I’d like to be better about this and really work on my sleep. I find I’m in a better mood when I get enough sleep. We do prioritize bedtime especially with our kids and stick to it. And I try to go to bed around 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m., but sometimes it’s hard because we work different shifts. 

I feel closer to my kids now, and I’m not as irritable anymore.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so grateful for my family and my job. It’s hard bringing a family up at such a young age but we did it. We brought two kids up, bought a house, and both have full-time jobs that we love. When they say “If you love what you do , you’ll never work a day in your life,” it’s honestly true. I’m grateful for every experience I gain. I want to keep up what I’ve been doing so I can keep up with my kids. I see how energized, rested and focused I can be and I don’t want to go back!

— Jillian Mercer, Walmart Supercentre #1052, Sussex, NB; $2K Winner