England rugby pros Josh Lewsey and Wasps team mates James Haskell and Paul Sackey, are backing Samaritans' Stress Down Day on Friday 1 February to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of stress in the workplace.
Samaritans is asking people to give their feet a treat and wear their slippers to work on Stress Down Day or take part in a stress free activity in return for a donation to Samaritans to help the emotional support charity continue its 24 hour emotional support service for people in distress.
Josh Lewsey said: "Everyone needs goals and challenges in life but putting yourself under too much pressure can be damaging. If you are coming home irritable, exhausted and unable to sleep you need some breathing space. Samaritans' Stress Down Day is a light-hearted campaign with a serious message that people need to look after their health. By getting involved and wearing your slippers to work on February 1st you will be helping Samaritans volunteers continue to offer vital support to people in need."
To get your hands on Josh's slippers and a supporter pack log on http://www.stressdownday.org/ and find out more about how you can help stamp out stress in your workplace and take better care of your health.
Why Stress Down Day?
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for an estimated 13.8 million reported lost working days per year in Britain in 2006/7  .
A third of UK workers are unable to get to sleep at night through anxiety and three-quarters are unable ‘switch off' when they leave their office  .
Stress in the workplace is frequently cited as the number one issue affecting employee productivity with the cost to the British economy being estimated at £3.7
billion per year, but added to this figure is the immeasurable amount of personal cost that stress and economic inactivity brings  .
The European Union (EU) says that work-related stress affects 40 million workers in its member states and costs the EU at least €20 billion a year  .
Ways to support Stress Down Day include:
- Encourage everyone to wear their slippers at work or run a range of other ‘stress down' activities and donate £2 to Samaritans for taking part.
- Soothing smoothies: The new coffee morning! Sell smoothies for £2 a glass!
- Stress free zone: Dedicate one suitably-furnished room in the office to chilling out for the day and charge £2 for 20mins.
- Email chill-out: Sponsor people to turn their email off for a few blissful, email-free hours.
- Confess the stress: Set up a post-box where people can drop off their secret stress confessions. £2 a confession.
- Run a stress auction: Stress-busting activities like a massage or even a free day off!
Samaritans is a registered charity, founded in 1953, which offers 24-hour confidential emotional support to anyone in emotional distress. The service is offered by 16,800 trained volunteers and is entirely dependent on voluntary support. Across the UK, you can call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland) email, write to Samaritans at Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA, or if you are deaf or hard of hearing use the single national minicom number 08457 90 91 92.
Log on to http://www.samaritans.org/ for more information. Calls from BT will be charged at up to 4 pence per minute at all times. A call set-up fee of 3 pence per minute applies to calls from residential lines. Mobile and other providers' charges may vary.
 2006/7 Survey of Self-reported Work-related Illness  Tickbox.net survey for Samaritans 2006  HSE/Labour Force Survey  European Union