As a very busy working grandma, I need my energy, but I was in a slump. I’m 53 and my husband Brad and I have two grown kids, my daughter, Desiree, and son Zachary. Zachary lives with us and I help to care for his 4-year-old daughter, Luna. We have her half the week. Because I was always tired, I’d drink way too much coffee hoping for extra energy — I’d easily have four to five big cups a day. I felt like I needed caffeine around the clock, but then I’d have energy dips, and I felt stressed. I ate fast food and I gained a lot of weight; I weighed 220 pounds. Being active for Luna was my big motivation to change.

I downloaded the Thrive app and began by tackling my coffee habit.

I switched to different types of tea. I’ll have chai tea in the morning and mint tea in the afternoon. For the first few weeks I found I’d get very tired at work, but soon those slumps stopped. I missed coffee at first, but now I’m enjoying my tea, especially if it’s nice and hot. I even got a plug-in cup for my car. One Microstep I like is drinking water if I feel fatigued to get an energy boost.

Since I stopped drinking coffee, I’ve had much more energy for my granddaughter.

I pick up my granddaughter after work on Wednesday and she stays until Sunday. I can play with Luna and keep up with her. We go to the park and race around; of course she loves to beat me. Or we’ll take a trip to the trampoline park. I can jump with her now! And at home we do a lot of dancing, which she loves. 

We’re not ordering take-out food as much and I’m doing more cooking.

I make delicious quiches with veggies and feta cheese, and I make chicken or shrimp stir-fries with broccoli — Luna loves broccoli. I might add sweet chili sauce to give it a kick. One of my favorite meals is a good burger, but now I have it with a salad and a big pile of green beans instead of bread and fries. It’s satisfying to be able to eat healthy versions of food you love. I feel lighter and so far I’ve lost 20 pounds.

Thrive Microsteps are helping me get movement into my day.

I might watch a short video on the app which will encourage me to go for a walk, or I’ll take five minutes of my lunch break to stretch out my neck and shoulders. It seems like a small thing, but it’s easy and it becomes a habit. At home, I go for walks in the woods with my mom. And I have a goal: I would love to climb some of New Hampshire’s mountains.  

To relax, I love to garden.

Gardening soothes my soul and it’s very rewarding seeing the flowers blossom. I love all kinds of flowers and morning glories are very easy to grow. It rained a lot last summer and my garden took off like a jungle. 

Taking time to be with my family is also great for relieving stress.

I’m enjoying family trips to Cape Cod, where we check out the seals in the ocean. It’s so pretty there, I can feel the stress lifting from my body. My daughter and I also love to investigate historical sites and cemeteries where famous historical figures are buried. And we love movie nights. 

To lower my anxiety I’m limiting how much news I watch.

We live in a stressful world, so watching less of the death and violence is helping me stay calm. I also shut down my devices before bed. As time has passed, I’ve found I don’t feel tempted to look at my phone. Cutting out caffeine and cutting down on social media is helping me get more rest and feel less stressed.

At the end of the day I reflect on what I accomplished and feel good about.

Mostly I look back at activities I’ve done with my granddaughter. I feel grateful for my family, and I have a more positive outlook on life.

— India Young, Walmart Supercenter #2369, Tilton, NH; $5K Winner