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ASNet Weekly Newsletter number 3, 25/03/2021

24th March 2021

How Stress Impacts Sleep

It’s only natural in this current climate to find things confusing, scary and difficult. And with clear indications that the Covid-19 pandemic is already beginning to have a significant impact on the nation’s mental health, stress has a knock-on effect on sleep.

Stress Awareness Month (April).

According to a recent poll by the Mental Health Foundation, over one in five (22 per cent) of UK adults had felt panicked and three in 10 (30 per cent) had felt afraid because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than six in 10 adults (62 per cent) felt anxious or worried. In times of stress, we may under- or over-eat, lose interest in activities, feel agitated and struggle to concentrate. You may also experience problems sleeping –with difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep. Stress causes hyperarousal which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness. It can be hard when you’re social distancing and isolating to get comfort and relief from the things you enjoy i.e. spending time with your family, going shopping or out for a meal. However you could use it as a good opportunity to practise some self-care and do things you never get round to doing –like indulging in a good book, experimenting with new recipes or trying new workout routines at home. You should also use this time to practise some sleep self-care too. Tips include:


It’s much harder to switch off in an evening if you’re constantly checking your phone! Avoid checking emails, the news or social media which may cause worry or stress just before bedtime.


Choose something like a chamomile tea, known for its relaxing properties, or a milky drink rather than be tempted by a tipple in the evening.


This is a room where you should feel calm and clear headed. Make sure you sleep on a comfortable, supportive bed, use luxurious bedding and keep the room cool, quiet and dark. Adorn the room with things you love but make sure it’s not cluttered.


When we start to turn down lights, our melatonin levels start to increase –this is the hormone we need to feel sleepy. Avoid using harsh, bright light in an evening, softer lighter or lamps are ideal in setting the scene. Candles also create an appealing ambience.


Writing down our worries or even a to-do list can be very therapeutic. You want your last thoughts at night good ones or visualise yourself in your favourite place –happy thoughts really do promote happy relaxed dreams.


Practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. Some may prefer to use guided meditation, mindfulness apps like Headspace or white noise to feel calm. Run a warm, foamy bath if you find it comforting and indulge with lavender scents. Do what makes you feel good.

It gives you an idea of how stressed or anxious you are. There is some helpful advice at the end. Remember low levels of stress are part of everyday life but high levels over a long period can be seriously bad for our health.Extract taken from

Virtual Coffee Morniing and Chat
Saturday 27th March from 11:30 A.M. for an hour.

Workshop and IT Help Clinic

Saturday 27th March from 1:30 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.

The Workshop subject for this week is ‘phishing’

Not catching salmon, but how to protect yourself on the internet.

Tuesday 30th March, from 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
A continuation of our programme with Joan Faria, Good Nutrition for Arthritis Sufferers

This week’s topic is ‘Blood sugar balance and a healthy bodyweight.

It’s not an April Fool1 Andy will be doing his usual chair-based yoga on Thursday 1st April from 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.

To join any of these sessions. Please email Phil for a Zoom link at [email protected]

RECIPE for the week


• 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
• 2 inches ginger (peeled and julienned)
• 6 cloves garlic (minced)
• 2 green chilies (fresh, stemmed and chopped fine)
• 2 large tomatoes (cored and chopped into 1-inch cubes)
• 2 teaspoons coriander (ground)
• 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (ground)
• 2 (15.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans (drained, rinsed under running water) • 3 cups warm water
• 1 pinch asafoetida
• Salt (to taste)e
• Garnish: fresh coriander (cilantro; leaves, chopped)
• For Serving: cooked rice and pickles
1. Gather the ingredients.
2. In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they stop sizzling, add the onions and fry until soft and translucent.
3. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
4. Add the green chilies, tomatoes, coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric and fry until the oil separates from the masala.
5. Add the red kidney beans, warm water, and asafoetida, as well as the salt to taste. Cook until the beans are soft, and the sauce has reduced a bit, approximately 10 minutes.
6. Mash some of the beans roughly to thicken the sauce.
7. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice.
• For an even better rajma, cook kidney beans from dried instead of using canned beans. Soak the dried beans in water overnight and drain. Add the soaked beans to a pot, covering with about an inch of water. Bring to a low simmer and check after about an hour, adding more water as needed. The beans are done when they are tender.
• For a less intense heat, seed the chili peppers before chopping. • Serve with your choice of store-bought or homemade pickles.
• Leftover rajma dal can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for later.

A drawer is hard to open? Rub some candle wax on the edges underneath the drawer, add more wax if necessary, until the drawer runs smoothly.

Hand sanitisers are here to stay it seems. Surgical spirit mixed 30% with hand cream is a good sanitiser and your hands do not get so dry.

Seneca was exiled to Corsica for an alleged affair with the emperor’s sister. This is what he wrote to his mother for her to deal with the loss of her son.

A stoic’s guide to ‘Peace of mind’
The mind at times fashions for itself false shapes of evil when there are no signs that point to any evil; it twists into the worst construction some word of doubtful meaning; or it fancies some personal grudge to be more serious than it
really is, considering not how angry the enemy is, but to what lengths he may go if he is angry. But life is not worth living, and there is no limit to our sorrows, if we indulge our fears to the greatest possible extent; in this matter, let prudence help you, and contemn with a resolute spirit even when it is in plain sight. If you cannot do this, counter one weakness with another, and temper your fear with hope. There is nothing so certain among these objects of fear that it is not more certain still that things we dread sink into nothing and that things we hope for mock us. Accordingly, weigh carefully your hopes as well as your fears, and whenever all the elements are in doubt, decide in your own favour, believe what you prefer. And if fear wins a majority of the votes, incline in the other direction anyhow, and cease to harass your soul, reflecting continually that most mortals, even when no troubles are actually at hand or are certainly to be expected in the future, become excited and disquieted.

We need your help! Please send your tips, recipes, or stories to [email protected] for inclusion in our newsletter.

Best wishes
The ASNet Team