Reducing Stress to Live Large


Even when we’re Living Large, there are just some weeks that requires special stress reducers.

My week began on Monday morning with my work computer acting funny and then completely shutting down. For a mere $74.95, I could get the thing up and running again, or so a box kept popping up and telling me.

That was the first clue that I had finally, after 20 years of having computers, caught a virus. Thankfully, I didn’t fall for that scam and input my credit card infor. It’s actually a malware called the “Windows XP Restore” malware and it is a nasty one.

After several friends tried to give me advice and directions for removing it, none of which immediately worked, I took my system into the computer shop.

The malware was so bad, I still don’t have my work computer back, even after our town computer guru said it would be done by Wednesday morning.

This all happened right after we were denied by yet another bank for a refinance on Our Little House due to the comps.

Needless to say,  it’s been a little stressful around here this week and I’ve had to do some extra things to help reduce the anxiety.

This has included:

  • More time outdoors just enjoying the quiet. At night, the lightening bugs have added that special summer feel.
  • Extra time gardening. My tomatoes are full of blooms and tiny tomatoes and they are growing by the day. Even the cucumbers look great this year.
  • Listening to music. Thankfully, I took the time to move all of my music from years of CD collections to my iTouch last week. I can sit for hours just listening to some good old Classic Rock and even a few classic country and alternative tunes.
  • Yoga.
  • Taking the dogs on long walks on our beautiful country road.

The upside to having extra stressors is that it forces me to take extra time to do the things I enjoy.

What do you do to reduce the stress when there’s extra in your life?


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37 Responses

  1. Donna Hull says:

    Gardening has always been a stress reliever for me. There’s something about putting my hands in the dirt. Hope you’re stressful issues are resolved soon.

  2. My best stress reducers: a cup of rooibos tea (organic!), an extra hour of sleep, exercise, or talking to a compassionate friend.

  3. merr says:

    Computers have become such an extension of ourselves and our lives that to have it not working or missing or corrupted really affects us! I hope once the problems are completely solved they stay that way, Kerri. This sounds like it was a valuable learning experience on many fronts, nonetheless.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, it was a valuable lesson, Merr! The computer is corrupted beyond repair and it is sitting here waiting for me to back up and retrieve everything else I can from it. Right now, it is rendered almost useless to me. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m looking at it from the point of view that I just needed to buckle down and learn this new computer, Windows 7 and the modern version of Word. 🙂

  4. Debra Jordan says:

    Hi Kerri,

    I just found your site, and have been relishing in the salve of your beautiful life. I need your blog….you see, we live in a tiny home (three of us) and were recently featured by *Faircompanies – a great blog about sustainability. You can see it here:

    We love our home, and lifestyle, but so many people do not understand why we are doing this. In the video I speak of how we came to this conclusion financially, and we plan on doing another regarding the environmental pluses of a small home. If you look at the comments under the video, some of them are just terrible. The video went viral, in two weeks we had over 1,000,000 views. I would still do it again, because (maybe I am a martyr?) people need to see our message. I need your help, can you please rally the forces and have your readers help me with supportive comments? My family would so appreciate it, I will be forever indebted!

    I am off to check out the Mother Earth article!



      • Kerri says:

        Hi, Debra. First of all, congratulations on your video going viral. I watched it previously as I keep an eye on news in the Small House Movement. I’m so sorry about the comments, we writers run into this all of the time. For some reason, people feel it is ok to blast someone annonymously from a computer and say things they would never say to us in person. I have written in the past about people’s judgement of our lifestyle and really, what does it matter what others think. It is ourselves we have to make happy! I know these comments can be difficult, but try to keep in mind that these people have really something deep inside of them that makes them not happy with their own lives. That’s why they must judge others. In my comment at uTube, I included the quote, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Gustav Jung.
        I will post a link to the video on our Facebook page and encourage our community to post some supportive comments about Living Large in a Tiny Home! Good luck, Debra and please do come back. We have a very nice and supportive community here and as I’m sure you already have, please browse the archives. Lots of good advice and support!

  5. See my challenge is this … we’re 2+ years into non-stop weeks and days like yours (and worse). I did great early on “taking care of myself,” but at some point … a girl runs out of time and energy to do more than the mere basics. So, often I end up setting BRUTAL priorities, where many things (including myself) don’t get the attention they deserve.

  6. tammy says:

    I am sorry about the PC. I got the SAME Virus and it took my Whole system down. Causing it to reconfigure Everything. You are right, it does not stop regardless. Shoot, you got off cheap from what I paid. Praise GOD for PC repair Techs. I hope you can work out the Finances for ease of Stress. Nothing worse.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, no, the $74.95 was what the people who devised this evil virus wanted to charge! And once you input your credit card info, they have that and you still have a computer that is broken. Unfortunately, my computer guy said this virus just did way too much damage. I brought it home to retrieve some stuff I still need from it and then he will have to completely wipe the hard drive clean and start all over. It sucks, but that’s part of the technological world we live in. Sorry about your troubles too.

  7. Sheryl says:

    A computer malfunction, much less a bad virus, is enough to ruin my mood. I find it so, so stressful; feels like being out of control. But I have to take a deep breath and remind myself it is NOT fatal, life will go on, everyone is healthy (well, maybe not the computer) and tomorrow things will look better. The major stress reliever for me? A good, long walk or bike ride. Absolutely transforming.

    • Kerri says:

      You’re right, Sheryl. It’s not fatal, it might have been for my computer, but I’ll figure a way around it. A bike ride sounds like a good stress reliever.

  8. Kerry says:

    I see you’ve got suggestions for listening to music and singing covered, to which I’d add writing and playing music.

  9. That does sound so stressful. Reading a good book helps me forget about stresses for a little while…

  10. Jane Boursaw says:

    You know, I didn’t make a point to play in my flower bed at all last summer, and I could feel it. This year, I’ve already cleaned out half of it and working my way to the other side. It’s just very relaxing to get out there, play in the dirt and when you’re done, you can actually SEE a nice, clean flower bed.

    I also love massages, but can only afford them periodically. And yoga, which I attend a class for at least once a week. Might boost that to twice a week during the summer. We’ll see.

    The malware seems to get more and more aggressive. I just had a scare this week, but was able to “restore” back to before the malware attacked me and all seems well so far. Thanks for the backup reminder. I do have a separate drive here for backups, but haven’t done it in ages.

    • Kerri says:

      I have to force to do my yoga at home for now. When I get my Blazer fixed, I will be going once a week again. I also love a good massage (yoga instructor is also my massage therapist), but like you, have to budget those in only periodically. You were lucky, Jane. By the time I realized I had the malware, it wouldn’t allow me to go back to restore to a previous time or install anything that might clean it. Talked with the computer guy today and it actually even deleted some of my programs, not just hid them. So, I’ll have to bring it home, get everything off of it I need and let him do a complete system reinstall. 🙁

  11. mat says:

    If it were ever easy, it would be boring…I so I try to convince myself.
    I like to destress by fixing, designing, or building something. And then there’s XBox…. However, my wife and I frequently find ourselves thinking of things that need to be done while we relax (being lazy) or get into bed–and these things keep us up at night. So we’ve committed to simply “doing” at least one thing per night. That might involve weeding the garden or fixing the front porch ballasters that our son enjoys kicking out, sewing new sofa pillows, or getting the house cleaned up. And although it isn’t theraputic in the sense that fixing my motorcycle is, it sure helps us sleep at night.

    • Kerri says:

      I’ll take a little boring at the moment, Mat! 😉 We used to be so good about doing stuff in the evening, but haven’t been lately. I think you’re right in that it does help one sleep better!

  12. Heather L. says:

    So sorry, your week has been so stressful.

    I find doing some kind of exercise whether it be swimming, yoga or walking, really helps get my mind off my worries. Stress also makes junk food much more appealing than normal and if I can push it away I feel more in control of my life.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, definitely, Heather, it can be very easy to willow into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s! That’s why we try not to keep too much junk food in the house. There’s advantages to living so far from town! 😉

  13. Yikes! I’m so sorry to hear about the virus. Computers are great until they break and your life falls apart without them!

    • Kerri says:

      Isn’t that the truth. I often forget how tied we are to technology these days. I think most of us do, until something goes awry!

  14. Take the watercolors to the river or some other peaceful place and don’t be too concerned with how the paintings turn out.

  15. I’m so sorry about your frustrations this week, Kerri. I hope your computer is up and running soon! My biggest stressor right now is the house we have for sale that continues to sit on the market and cost us money every single month. In addition to having two mortgages, housing prices keep declining, so we might have to actually lower our asking price once again. We are watching money literally evaporate each month. In the meantime, all of the projects I was so eager to tackle when we moved into the new place, are on hold because right now, I can’t even afford a bucket of paint to add to our expenses.

    One of the things I do to decompress, is go for walks on our prairie, and through a little glade with a beautiful cedar grove at its edge. That little glade and cedar grove are really my favorite places on earth, and sometimes I even stand on top of the picnic table and belt out a song. The forest creatures are my only audience and I appreciate their silent endurance of my vocal stylings. There isn’t a Simon Cowell among them and so I choose to accept their lack of applause as quiet approval of my singing ability.

    Another way that I can take my mind off of constant financial stress, is to throw my riding breeches in the car and go to my sister’s barn to ride my horse, Raven. She requires constant focus and attention while being ridden, and if my mind strays from the business at hand, she quickly lets me know that I need to stay in control. There is no way to ride that horse with a wandering mind, which is good, because these days when my mind wanders, it usually ends up settling on worrisome financial stresses to obsess about.

  16. Kim says:

    My favorites:
    A long, hot bath with stress-relieving essential oils.
    Baking (ok, and eating) something I probably shouldn’t.
    Long walks.

  17. Kerri says:

    Thanks, Alexandra. Oh, I haven’t laid around looking at cloud formations in such a long time! That’s a good one. We don’t have beaches here, but sitting on the dock just dangling feet in the water is a favorite of mine too.

  18. Alexandra says:

    A walk at the beach? That often helps. Looking at pretty cloud formations? Remembering how small we are in the scope of things?

    Sorry you have been going through these issues!