I’m only 25, but I was feeling mentally and physically drained. I felt tired and I wasn’t sleeping well. I had bad headaches almost every day and then I’d be irritable. I’d yell and snap at any little thing that bothered me. And I wasn’t eating well; my boyfriend Jordan and I would eat fast food five days a week. I needed to make a change to boost my self esteem. I’m a Walmart manager, and I wanted to improve my productivity at work. 

Jordan is also a manager at Walmart and he’s joined me on the Challenge.

It’s great having moral support — we encourage each other. It also means we’re connecting more. We’re cooking together. We’ll have choline-rich food like eggs for breakfast. We’re not expert cooks, but we’re enjoying trying new recipes, and we have my family over for dinner. We recently made parmesan crusted chicken with veggies, and it is my new favorite meal. 

My new favorite snack is a handful of mixed nuts.

It’s so easy to just keep a container handy when I get a craving for something to eat. I’m eating smaller portions more frequently, and I drink a lot of water instead of soda. I feel less bloated and I don’t seem to get so hungry all the time. And one of the Microsteps I like is not eating late at night.

We’ve been taking our three dogs for walks every day.

I have a goal of walking 8,000 steps a day and I’ve been reaching it. My mood has changed; the fresh air, even when it’s freezing outside, makes me feel more awake and energized. Also, taking my dogs for walks tires them out and I can get more done around the house when we get back.

Next, I focused on improving my sleep.

I have a new nighttime routine. After dinner I shower and do my skincare. I leave my phone  where I can’t reach it when I go to bed and I don’t keep my computer in my room — I always used to lay in bed and scroll for hours and hours. I’m making sure my room is clean and distraction free. My routine helps my mind unwind so I can fall asleep faster. I’m getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. 

When I wake up in the morning, I feel ready for the day.

I don’t have a pounding headache and I don’t have big bags under my eyes. Getting the right amount of sleep means I’m less moody and more aware of the world around me.

Now that I’m sleeping well, I’m more productive.

Microsteps are helping me focus; I write down what I want to get done for the day, like laundry. I do this for work too, like writing down sales goals for our team. It makes me feel calm and I get things done. And I’m spending more time talking with my associates since I’m in a better mood.

I’m feeling happier and hopeful.

I’m really looking forward to continuing on the Challenge with my boyfriend. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.

— McKenna Grasser, Walmart Supercenter #1765, Somerset, PA; $5K Winner