My wife Ginger and I moved from Utah to South Carolina for my job. I was asked to take on additional responsibilities and work toward a promotion, which was exciting. But the move has been hard because we’re now so far away from our two grown sons, Tanner and Trevor. I’m 52, and it’s been a challenge to find a new routine and feel like this is home.

I was feeling overwhelmed, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I was anxious.

I felt a lot of pressure to succeed at work and accomplish the goals I set for myself. I was worried that I was failing my family. 

Last October, I downloaded the Thrive app and I started by doing daily meditations. 

I go somewhere quiet and take a few minutes to breathe and think about what’s challenging me. Then I focus on a positive quality or word, which could be peace or empathy. If I’m feeling down the word could be energy. Or if I know I’m going to have a difficult conversation with someone, my meditation session will be focused on courage. Meditating is really helping me feel calm.

Thrive Resets are helping me relax.

I like the outdoor ones in the mountains. They work well for me because they’re short so I can pause and go to my office and watch them during the day. They help me stay centered and refocus during stressful times. I’ve learned to step back from difficult situations and breathe for a few moments. And every day I say this simple affirmation to myself: “I am worthy and I am strong.” 

Ginger and I are taking online yoga classes.

Yoga is a good way to stretch and lower stress. It’s a quiet time for me and Ginger to enjoy being together and slow down. I feel present instead of feeling distracted or worried.

We bought a Peloton bike and I ride it a few times a week. 

It’s a great workout. Ginger and I also go for walks around the neighborhood with our two rescue dogs, Jordan and Hope — and we leave our phones at home. 

We’re cooking together. 

We found some cool, healthy recipes on the site Lillie Eats and We’re having fun trying them out. We’ve been making turkey meatballs, sweet potatoes, and stacked chicken and cauliflower enchiladas, which are amazing. I’ve found other ways to deal with stress than comfort eating, and I feel much better about myself.

When we’re having dinner we put our phones in another room.

We’ve got into the habit of being without them while we’re eating, and we’re not missing them. We talk to each other and connect.

I’m grateful for my marriage.

After 30 years, Ginger and I still love being together. And now that my stress levels are down, I really appreciate our time with each other. I tell Ginger how much I love her. I realize now that time is precious — you can’t get it back.

When we spend time with our boys, we’re bonding more.  

We play games or do puzzles, and we’ll watch soccer together. My boys played soccer growing up and in college, and we all love the game. We also like to go camping and go for hikes when we’re all free. Both of them are married and as a dad it excites me and makes me proud to see them grow into good men.

One thing that’s really helped me feel good about my life is that my sleep has improved.

Ginger and I spend time reading (real books) in the evening to wind down. Right now I’m enjoying My Story by Steven Gerrard, a British soccer star. I like books about athletes and their journeys through life. They motivate me to achieve the goals I set for myself. When I’m in bed,  I’ll listen to a sleep meditation. I’ve been getting much more rest, a solid seven hours of sleep a night, so I feel more rejuvenated in the morning.

We feel settled in our new home and I’m doing well at work.

My goal is to become an assistant manager, and I’m on track. I know I can’t turn a ship on a dime, so I’ve been aiming for small wins and they’re starting to add up to bigger wins. I’m seeing the rewards of my hard work and I feel more confident and accomplished.

— Shad Browning, Distribution Center #6014, Laurens, SC; $5K Winner