Lesson # 6 – Stress-Free Hosting

Here are some tips that have helped hosts keep stress to a minimum. They are not in order of importance; each person will place different values on the various suggestions.

  1. Have a support system in place. This can be online (hosts, chatters, friends) or offline (family, friends).
  2. Decompress with a host after a really tough time hosting. Talk to them, vent, get your feelings and frustrations out. It can be by privately messaging them or posting to the Facebook page.
  3. Keep private chats (pcs) to a minimum. These seems to be the most stressful part of hosting to many.
  4. Talk to other hosts for feedback, ideas, explanations, question, etc. Use the hosts as a resource, too.
  5. Know your limitations and triggers. If you can’t handle something, tell the chatter. If there is another host present let them handle it. If there is no other host present see if a chatter can assist the individual in need.
  6. Don’t host when you are under the weather, either mentally or physically. Give yourself time to rest and heal.
  7. Take “mental health” days or time off from hosting when you are stressed.
  8. If you are hosting and the room becomes too stressful take a break.
  9. While we can always use hosts you have to be sure to limit your hours in the room. If you don’t you will burn out.
  10. Do something special for yourself after a tough hosting session. (Send Nancy the bill!)
  11. Leave when you are planning to. The room will survive without you.
  12. Set boundaries and limits.
  13. Host earlier in the day for less stressful rooms. Generally speaking, as the day goes on there are more chatters and the room gets crazier.
  14. Be prepared. Take notes so you will recall facts about the chatters and be familiar with situations.
  15. Discriminate on who and how many people you give your email or messenger name to. You don’t want to be on call 24/7.
  16. Do not allow yourself to be “on call” 24/7 via ims, emails, etc. When you host, you host. When you are off duty, you’re off duty. You need to separate your hosting from your personal life. To remain healthy you need a balance.
  17. Discuss your hosting job (not the details of the chatters or their stories) with family and friends so they will be supportive.
  18. Refer crisis chatters to the crisis numbers and the many resources we have. We are not professionals; let those who are educated and trained in mental health treat the chatters. You will be helping yourself and the chatter.
  19. Realize that you are NOT responsible for what any person does. They control their actions. You are providing a great service by listening to them but all you can do is listen and talk. They have to take action to help themselves.
  20. Always explain the reason for the rule; if you “tell” them they can interpret it as you ordering them. Refer to the “rules” as “guidelines.” It’s softer sounding.
  21. Don’t get personally involved with chatters. If that happens too often you will burn out.
  22. DON’T react. Think before you speak.
  23. Don’t take anything a chatter says personally. It’s the depression they are angry at, NOT you.
  24. Treat the chatters with great respect and kindness. Understand they are going through a very difficult time and struggling, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the room.
  25. Show empathy and compassion.
  26. When you speak to chatters always be positive, supportive, let them know you care, give them hope.
  27. Never refer to age or say anything about being a teen to a teenager with depression. They are very sensitive about that.
  28. Have lots of Xanax available (Thanks, Addy!)

16 thoughts on “Lesson # 6 – Stress-Free Hosting”

  1. Read. I have a question about point 5. “If you can’t handle something, tell the chatter”. How would you tell a chatter that it’s a topic you can’t handle?

  2. read. Good question Aleks. I suppose we could tell them this is a difficult topic for us personally, but we definitely want to help, so tell them we’re trying to find a host available to come chat? Although, if no one is available, then we’d have to either defer them to a later time or try our best to muddle through it. I need an answer as well i guess!

  3. Thanks for the question, Aleks. You can say, “I really want to chat with you but the topic is triggering me,” or “I really want to chat with you but this is a very difficult topic for me.” If there is another host pc and ask if s/he can help out. If no host is in the room and the conversation was on the open floor (vs. pc) ask, “Are there any chatters who can talk with XX about ?” If you’re in pc ask the chatter if you can ask the other chatters if there is someone who is comfortable talking about . If the chatter says no, then tell him/her that other hosts host during different days and hours so try the room another time. If the chatter is really upset you can post a note to the hosts and if hosts are free they can come into the room.

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