5 tips on taking breaks and time off as a trader.

FX:EURUSD   Euro / U.S. Dollar
This topic is quite a sensitive one. On one hand we enjoy trading and have passion for it, thus we don't want to miss action/opportunities, on the other is balanced life and ability to enjoy fruits of our labor/decisions.

When I first started trading in December 2014 - I didn't take a full-week break from charts until February 2022. Almost 8 years of non-stop action. When on holidays I would still trade, do my daily analysis, and check charts. (Though at a time I was more of a swing trader and didn't need to check charts more than 2-3 times a day).

However, in February this year I took a week-long break from all work-related stuff and completely relaxed. When I came back - my results improved, mindset and psyche felt better, had more energy to pursue other things. The benefits were amazing. Now, coming back from another 10 day off-time is a prime opportunity to dissect this topic.

So, in this publication I want to discuss the importance of taking breaks like that, what they do to your mind and body, and how it all works. (I've been coached by ReThink Group on this topic as well).

1. The feelings of not wanting to take a break due to 'feeling behind', 'wanting to make money, 'speeding up education process', etc., are normal. However, when we experience these feelings - we inevitably bring them to markets and to our trading decisions. If our trading decisions come from that place - then it may create an environment in which we are not trading price action, but our own feelings and perceptions. This can be frustrating. Taking a break in this case disconnects us from that somewhat inadequate feelings and puts us in a different loop. And this loop is much more productive and beneficial.

2. Don't view 'missed trades' during this period as missed opportunities. Hindsight is 20/20. At a time - we have no idea if we would have taken that trade, managed it all the way to TP etc. If we beat ourselves up after a nice week of rest that we missed profits - then there was no point in this rest. Moreover, opportunities will be there always and thus we must operate 24/7 in order to not experience this FOMO. Therefore, taking breaks and practicing detachment from 'missed moves' disrupts FOMO and other similar feelings. You learn to be OK with it. Not only that, you realize that by taking much needed rest you are able to capitalize on the coming moves.

3. Decision fatigue is real. If we don't take breaks we become so decision-fatigued that we are not even aware that we are decision-fatigued. This is a very bad spot to be in. One of the reasons why I decided to stop trading activities after 4PM (in my timezone I trade Asian session + 3 hours of London session), is that I realized that after that time my results drop dramatically. This is a pure outcome of being decision fatigued. But that is a day-to-day fatigue. What we have is a weekly/monthly fatigue that we must also unload. If we don't do that - then we get stuck.

4. Sleep is an edge. If you are sleep deprived you misperceive risk. (That's a scientific fact). Meaning that you think that something more risky is actually less risky. Considering that our job as traders is to risk-manage and put ourselves in asymmetric risk:reward situations, if we misperceive risk then it means we create scenarios that are not skewed in our favor. By simply getting that needed rest we put ourselves in balance to capitalize on opportunities.

5. Trading while traveling in my experience is a fool's game, because instead of fully recovering and enjoying time with family - we disrupt that with our trading activities. What we get is worst of both worlds: we don't fully enjoy the experience of chilling and relaxing, while also not being fully present to trade like a shark. Dedicate separate time to each activity, and both activities will become that much better.

After much needed rest - I am back in the game. Not much going on for now on my charts, but it may change quick. 4.5 more hours in my session remain, if anything pops up you will see it.