My biggest struggles in life were stress, and my mental health in general. I’m 40 years old and I’m supporting my family because my husband, Matt, isn’t able to work. We have a 9-year-old son, Dominic. Life hasn’t been easy. I was always beating myself up in my own head. I felt alone, like it was me against the world and I had no one to turn to, not even my own husband. I was eating badly, and weighed 240 pounds. I decided to give the Thrive Challenge a shot because my friend Lisa said it had helped her through some hard times.

I started by reading stories on the Thrive app.

Seeing what others were going through, I knew that I wasn’t alone, and that made it easier to get up and start my day. And I was so inspired by people’s accomplishments.

I switched to a high-protein, low-carb diet.

I drink a cup of coffee in the morning and a lot of water throughout the day. I drink protein shakes, and have a healthy lunch. For dinner, I might have rotisserie chicken and salad. I’m also trying new recipes like cauliflower crust pizza, and seasoned steamed veggies. 

On my lunch break, I go outside and walk around the store. 

If the weather’s bad I walk inside. Recently, I’ve actually been jogging at the park with the dog. I hadn’t been jogging since I was younger and played softball — though I don’t really know if I’m jogging or getting pulled along on the dog’s jog.

Years ago, l used to go line dancing, and my husband and I are dancing again.

I love all country music. Anytime I’m cooking, if there’s a song that grabs Matt’s attention, he grabs me and just starts to slow dance with me in the kitchen. He is so loveable and sweet. We have a sign up that says “We dance in our kitchen.” 

Microsteps are helping me connect more in my marriage, and be a better mother.  

I find things for us to do as family, even if it’s just watching a movie together or eating at the table together. Our son plays basketball so we go to his games on Saturdays and cheer him on. There are more smiles in our home, more helping each other out — and more hugs and kisses.  

At work, I’m smiling more, I’m having fun, and trying to get my co-workers to smile.

I get so much support from my team. My coworkers are like my family and we joke and laugh and sometimes cry together, but we have a lot of love for each other, and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. 

I feel so much better mentally and physically.

I am doing my best to stay present and positive and live for the day. And I’ve found that breathing exercises help me stay focused and relaxed. I have more energy and I’ve lost 20 pounds. Before I started the Thrive Challenge, I never had much self confidence. I never felt like I was enough for myself or for my husband and son. But now I’m starting to have more self-esteem. I tell myself that I am enough. I’m a better mom and a better wife.  

Checking into the app gives me something to look forward to every day.

I think more about how I can make myself feel better. I used to be so scared of everything. Now I feel more brave; I’m willing to give everything in life a chance.

— Sheena Holland, Walmart Supercenter #4483, White House, TN; $5K Winner