Has foreign exchange trading left you feeling tired, frustrated and exhausted lately? Some might feel that trading is easy work. After all, all you have to do is sit down at your computer, make a few trades, and sit still while the money comes in, right? True forex traders know this is far from the truth. The reality is that trading can actually become very stressful with the constant risk, adverse market conditions, over-trading, pressures to succeed and the failure of your own expectations all present.
Mental exhaustion is something no one wants to deal with, but it can be particularly harmful when it affects traders. Indeed, we must be awake and vigilant in order to be able to make the most judicious financial decisions. Once we get tired and frustrated, our cloudy head can cause us to overlook certain things, enter trades we shouldn't take or leave open for too long, over-trade, revenge-trade when we lose - you get the picture. Think about the things you were told when it was time to take a high school exam. You have been advised to get enough rest, eat a big breakfast, and be energetic to get the best results.
Step 1: Recognize burnout
Mental exhaustion is not something that will hit you as soon as you start trading. In fact, you could go a long time without feeling it. Indeed, it is a phenomenon that sets in over time, once various stressors begin to accumulate on you. Did you know that some signs of exhaustion can even be physical, not just mental? If you want to avoid becoming a real zombie trader, you can start by recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental exhaustion:
You have started to deviate from your trading plan and you no longer care about your rules.
You experience headaches or other physical symptoms such as muscle aches or, more generally, you feel sick without any real explanation.
You fall into a depression that leaves you tired and unmotivated.
You feel frustrated with everything and everyone for no real reason, both in everyday life and while trading.
You begin to doubt your abilities as a forex trader, even though you have been successful before.
You don't care much about negotiating anymore and you consider giving up despite your past successes.
If this sounds familiar, you're probably already dealing with mental exhaustion. Luckily, there are some things you can do to clear your mind and overcome these debilitating symptoms.
Step 2: Start over
Do you remember how you felt when you opened your very first trading account? Were you an enthusiastic, starry-eyed newbie with big plans and dreams? Try to bring yourself back to those feelings. Think about how you felt the first time you opened a trading account, made money and made your first withdrawal. Over time, trading probably became a habit and you no longer felt the excitement of these little things, but that doesn't mean you can't renew your happiness by trading. Every dollar earned is worth celebrating, so give yourself some credit for going this far and try to soak up the small wins.
Step 3: Find other traders to confide in
If you have to deal with burnout alone, it only makes the situation even more overwhelming. Being able to talk to other traders who can tell you they've been through this too and give you advice on how they overcame it is a great way to remind yourself that you're not the only trader to have experienced it. It can also be reassuring to talk with someone else who has experienced physical symptoms related to stress, as you may feel more valued. If you confirm that it happens to other people and they have overcome it, then you can feel more confident that you can pull yourself out of the mess as well.
If you personally know someone who trades, you should ask them if they would like to become a fellow trader. Don't worry if you don't know anyone in person, as there are online forums and communities designed specifically for this purpose. You should have no problem finding a trader(s) that matches your trading sentiment and style. You can probably even find a more experienced trader who will also give you good advice that goes beyond managing burnout.
Step 4: Relax and Refresh
Whenever you are faced with the stress of trading in the forex market or any other event in your life, the best thing you can do is take some time to relax. Of course, it looks different for everyone. Some of us prefer to sleep in or take a nap, relax on the couch and maybe watch a movie. Others prefer exercise, yoga, or meditation activities. Sometimes a night out can really do the trick, so consider treating yourself to a nice dinner, going to the movies, or doing whatever else you find fun. The key is to find something you really enjoy doing and do it often enough to stay calm. If you start to feel stressed, just take a break from your activities, relax and come back with a clear mind and without frustration. It may seem counterproductive to stop trading, but you'll find that you get better results because you won't be making trading decisions out of sheer frustration.