I used to work the night shift and I never got enough sleep. I’d get impatient and I was tired all day. I’m 45 and I was feeling bad about myself. I’d eat a lot of sweets and I weighed about 239 pounds. My husband Jason and I have a 14-year-old son, Korey, and a six-year-old daughter, Jaycee. And I have a grown daughter, Kalley. But I didn’t have enough energy for my family.

Two co-workers were Thrive Challenge winners, so I decided to get started.

I knew I’d have a lot of good support. What really helped me was transferring to a new position at Walmart. Now, instead of working nights, I work the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, which means I can go to sleep at a decent time. 

The first thing I did was set up a nighttime routine. 

After dinner, I’ll give Jaycee a bath and we’ll read together, like a Diary of A Wimpy Kid book or a Dr. Seuss book. Once the kids are in bed, I take a relaxing bath with epsom salts. I put my phone away to charge in the living room. Then I lie down in bed, read for a little while, and fall asleep.

I feel refreshed in the morning.

The first thing I do is write in my journal. I write about my feelings, thoughts, and my hopes. 

Every day, I post a positive quote on Facebook.

It might be, “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day” or, “Don’t focus on who let you down. Appreciate who lifted you up.”

I make sure I move throughout the day. 

That improves my mood. I feel more accomplished in my job because I have more energy — I like keeping busy and learning new things. I strive to do my best and just recently I won an award at work. The certificate says: “Jamie’s positive attitude has been a huge benefit in customer interactions.” 

Since my hours changed, I’ve been spending more time with my family. 

My kids are homeschooled. Jason does the majority of the work with them, but I jump in and I’ll help Korey with a problem if he needs me. We have a bunch of board games we play together. My daughter and I do art activities together. I take her to gymnastics, and we love to dance and be silly together. 

On my days off, I take Jaycee swimming and we go to the park.

She loves to ride her bike or scooter. As a family when the weather’s good, we enjoy going to Miller Woods for a hike. Jaycee and I look at the pond and all the different bugs. 

My husband cooks for us and we’re eating better.

He’ll make tacos with high-fiber, low-carb tortillas, or grass-fed, organic hamburgers with green beans. I’ve slowly cut most sweets out of my diet. For a good food swap, instead of candy I might eat a piece of cheese or fruit. I only have ice cream once in a while as a treat. One Microstep I’m taking is not eating late at night. My cut-off time is 7 p.m. I’ve lost 40 pounds and I feel much better. 

With Thrive, I’ve learned that I need to take care of myself.

I’m a mom and a wife, and I always want to take care of everyone else. Now I know it’s okay to put myself first, to give myself a break, read a book, or get a pedicure. I tell myself I’m worth it. I’m a good person who deserves happiness. 

My husband and I are connecting. 

I was in an abusive relationship years ago, and I never felt good enough. But Jason and I have been together for 18 years, and he treats me very well. We love spending time together. After dinner, we’ll watch a movie. I’ve just been watching all the Indiana Jones movies with him because he really likes them, and he’ll watch girlie movies with me. 

I tell my husband and kids how much I appreciate and love them. 

You never know when the last time will be to let people know how much you truly love them. Life is precious, things could change in an instant, and I’m so grateful for my life. It’s not perfect — but life isn’t perfect. And I feel so much happier.

— Jamie Saxton, Walmart Store #1843, Mcminnville, OR; $5K Winner