Stress was my biggest struggle. I love my job as an academy coordinator, but I juggle a lot of plates, and I wasn’t taking enough breaks. I’d let my worries build up until they felt overwhelming, like bills to pay and house repairs. I’m 58 and I live alone, and I felt like I had to do everything on my own. 

I began the Thrive Challenge and my first Microstep was taking tech time-outs throughout the day. I’ll step away from my desk and do some deep breathing, and I’ve found that unplugging, even for a short time, goes a long way and helps me to stay calm. One surprising Microstep I’ve found to be helpful is taking a break and spending a few minutes tidying or decluttering. When I feel tension building at work or at home, I’ll straighten up a counter or empty a waste basket. When I get moving doing ordinary tasks, I lower my stress and feel better emotionally because I’ve accomplished something. 

I’ve been easing my financial worries by budgeting and thinking before spending money on things I don’t need. I’m also reaching out to my older sister, Donna, for support, instead of thinking I have to do everything on my own. We’ve always been close, and just talking to her about what’s on my mind is a relief. Donna provides a shoulder to lean on and we support each other. I’ll go over to her house, we’ll get together with my nieces, have dinner, and play games.

I find nature very therapeutic and when things feel overwhelming, I’ll hit the water in my kayak and do some fishing, or I’ll head to the park with my pup, Bailey. It’s so peaceful by the creek, with beautiful flowers and all kinds of trees. There are frogs singing at the top of their lungs, which is sweet music to my ears — I can physically feel the cares of the day falling away. 

At bedtime, I’ll watch a Thrive Reset. I like the video with otters swimming inWhen things feel overwhelming, I’ll head to the park with my pup, Bailey. It’s so peaceful by the creek, with beautiful flowers and trees. the ocean, and the one with bees and flowers. They help me wind down and fall asleep. Everyone has some stressors, but I’ve found it’s possible to manage my stress by taking small steps. I’m learning to relax and enjoy life.

— Diann King, Walmart Supercenter #2312, Roanoke, VA; $5K Winner