Employees are told to stretch off workplace stress


A leading British charity is urging UK employers to allow staff the opportunity to de-stress from the workplace in a bid to promote emotional wellbeing.

FirstLight Trust, a charity offering practical support for veterans of the emergency services and Armed Forces suffering from high levels of stress, is calling for bosses to recognise the implications of stress within the workplace and the knock-on effect this can have on productivity and life outside the office.

Stress Down Day UK takes place on 26 October, the Friday before the clocks go back, and this year’s campaign focuses on how stretching and yawning can help reduced stress.

“The Health and Safety Executive says over 11million days are lost at work a year because of stress at work,” said Dorinda Wolfe Murray, founder of FirstLight Trust.

“They estimate the costs to society of work-related stress are around £4billion each year. There is a lot of talk around stress and its negative impact but not much in the way of achievable actions – that are fun.

“Taking time out to recharge (even for a minute) can make a huge difference to individuals and companies. Happy people make for a happy, and therefore productive, community and workplace.”

Researchers have proven that when the brain is focused on a specific task it ignores how stress and tension are building up in the body.

Stretching helps release stress in the muscles, and emerging research suggests that yawning, when done purposively, could help reboot your attention, focus and mental acuity.

Supporters are encouraged to post photos of themselves stretching and yawning using #StressDownDayUK. People and companies are also being urged to give a donation to the charity, in return for information to help with their stress issues.

Money raised will help FirstLight to support those suffering from extreme stress within the emergency services and Armed Forces.