In Regards to Taking Time Off when Stressed

December 27, 2014

Hello! I have been absent from my blog for quite some time due to my school-related obligations. Thank you to everyone who sent me PM’s on the site, asking questions and commenting and whatnot. I do apologize that occasionally I do delay my replies.

But I have a few weeks off in the meantime, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into some trading. It can be difficult to get back into a rhythm when you’ve been away from something for some amount of time. It almost feels as if a daily habit has been washed away in some sense and I need to apply the effort to personally re-establish it. Those familiar with my blog will realize that some pretty sizable lag times occur between some writings, which corresponds with long lag times in trading and general activity involving financial markets.

When I become busy and stressed with other matters I simply do not trade. I think it’s entirely counterproductive. For one, the most obvious reason is that time is hard to come by. And two, piling more stress onto pre-existing stress isn’t very appealing and can downright be a bad idea. So I have no qualms about putting my trading on hold when necessary. When I first began trading, I set profit targets to hit by certain dates, which is a terrible idea and almost always never works out. There will be some inevitable down periods in trading when the market simply isn’t falling in one’s favor. And if one is intent on hitting certain profit benchmarks by a particular day, it can very easily cloud one’s mindset from the central purpose of trying to trade well and lead to some very unfortunate and even ruinous trading decisions.

On the same token, I never recommend trading when you’re ill, fatigued, tired, or distressed mentally, physically, or emotionally by anything occurring in life. Trading is one of those things where it’s absolutely essential to be in good and calm spirits psychologically and also physically to an extent. Trading is a sedentary undertaking and requires a level of focus and level-headedness that can be easily undermined by unwelcome or confounding influences.

Theoretically, when I’m occupied to the point where I normally can’t trade, I could trade a few days a week if I cut my daily sleep down to five hours per night. But I am simply not an individual that can function properly in day-to-day activities by incurring that level of sleep deprivation on a regular basis. Accordingly, it would almost surely seep into my trading results in some fashion and lead to an overall unenjoyable daily routine. Moreover, I simply do not mentally function well if my nutrition isn’t up to par. It’s critically important to be in a good state with nothing else truly affecting one’s mindset to trade the markets with a strong level of competency. If I don’t have a clear mindset or have things going on that would even slightly undercut my performance results, I find that trading simply isn’t worth it.

For many I realize that working trading into the context of a full-time job, school schedule, or into a general daily timetable filled with other activities is difficult. I personally have come to realize the constraints first hand. And that may often entail many setting a very early-morning alarm in order to get to the markets for a reasonable amount of time before they need to prepare for the daily demands of their day job. This is a perfectly viable strategy, so long as one is sufficiently well-rested and up to the task of executing trades in a capable manner. But if you’re stressed or dead tired, it simply is not be worth it, in my own experiences, and can and will negatively reflect in your trade results.

Of course, it requires an individual to be honest with oneself to a large extent. I think many of us can attest to a situation where we believed we were fine only to understand that we truly were not. For example, being heavily sleep deprived and feeling fine some time after awakening only to realize that you are much more mistake-prone and cognitively dysfunctional in various ways than what you may have actually realized initially. So if you take time off for whatever reason, you can’t trade, can’t make any profit, and can’t develop your trading competencies. But at times one must understand that other matters in life must take precedence (difficult for the ultra-determined, resolute types) and taking time away from the markets may genuinely be the best decision. The markets will always be there when you return.