Mental Health Tips for Striking Workers 

Black man and two women hold blue and white signs saying UAW ON Strike

UAW workers in Bowling Green KY, Shutterstock

Striking workers often face a range of stressors and emotional challenges during a strike, such as financial instability, uncertainty about the future, and potential conflicts with employers or colleagues. Maintaining good mental health is crucial during this time. 

Here are some mental health tips for striking workers:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about the progress of the strike, negotiations, and any developments related to your cause. Knowing what’s happening can reduce anxiety and uncertainty.
  2.  Build a Support Network: Connect with fellow strikers and build a support network. Sharing your feelings, experiences, and concerns with others who are going through the same situation can be comforting. This can be as simple as chatting on the picket line, having a potluck lunch together, participating in a group text, or being part of a phone tree.
  3. Stay Organized: Create a daily or weekly schedule to structure your time. This can help you stay focused and avoid thinking about negative things over and over again (rumination).
  4. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies you enjoy. These activities can help reduce stress and promote emotional well-being. Some Self-Care information here.
  5. Financial Planning: If possible, create a budget and financial plan to manage your finances during the strike. Knowing you have a plan in place can reduce financial stress.
  6. Stay Active: Physical activity can help reduce stress and boost your mood. Even a short walk or stretching break can make a difference. YouTube and other platforms have free, fun activities and movement breaks for all ages and abilities. Take a walk in nature.
  7. Limit News Consumption: While staying informed is important, too much exposure to news, especially negative news, can increase stress and anxiety. Set limits on your news consumption.
  8. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques can help you stay grounded and manage stress. Try deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation.
  9. Stay Connected with Loved Ones: Maintain connections with friends and family who are supportive of your cause. Talking to loved ones can provide emotional support.
  10. Engage in Creative Expression: Expressing your thoughts and emotions through writing, art, or other creative outlets can be therapeutic and help you process your feelings.
  11. Advocate for Your Needs: If you need specific accommodations or support from your strike organization, don’t hesitate to ask for them. Your mental health is important, and requesting help when needed is okay.
  12. Plan for the Future: Think about your post-strike plans and goals. Having a sense of purpose and direction can provide hope and motivation.
  13. Stay Positive: Try to maintain a positive outlook and focus on the long-term goals of the strike. Visualize the positive changes you are working towards.
  14. Know Your Rights: Be aware of your legal rights as a striking worker. Understanding your rights can reduce anxiety about potential repercussions.
  15. Take a Mental Health Screening and ask your coworkers to do the same. You can track any mental health symptoms by comparing screenings from different dates. Additional information in our DIY tools can be useful too.
  16. Seek Professional Help: If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, consider seeking professional help. Many organizations offer counseling or mental health support to striking workers.

Remember that striking can be emotionally challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to stand up for your beliefs and improve your working conditions. By taking care of your mental health during this time, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the challenges and contribute to the success of your cause.

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