Investing in stocks and shares can be an excellent moneymaker for both speedy cash injections and long-term steady growth investments. However, investing at the right time and getting out when necessary doesn’t come without its stressors, especially if you’re relatively new to the game.
Whether you’re a new investor or an old-hand, you might reach the point where looking at all those figures day in, day out gets a little too much.
This is called the ‘burnout’ phase. Burnout can put you in a difficult situation as it causes your attention to lapse and, ultimately, could cost you a lot of money.
How Do You Know You Have Trading Burnout?
It’s important to avoid trading burnout to keep you making those crucial decisions and avoid mistakes that could cost you. The first step in avoidance is recognizing when you’re starting to experience burnout so that you can put yourself on the right path again.
Stress Vs. Burnout
Being stressed at the time of trading is completely normal, especially if there’s a lot at stake. However, there are a few differences between natural stress and burnout that you’ll need to learn to recognize.
It’s normal to feel a heightened sense of anxiety and urgency while trading. You constantly have your finger on that button, ready to pull out if needed.
However, once you’ve stopped trading for the day and removed yourself from the situation, you should feel some relief. When you’re away from trading, you’ll feel that buzz and need to get back into it because it presents a sense of excitement for you.
On the other hand, burnout is a sense of emotional fatigue that doesn’t go away when you’re not trading.
You feel anxious, just like with stress, but you also feel constantly physically drained and have a desire to shy away from people and may start to appear very distant.
When you’re away from trading, you might not want to trade at all, but instead, you will feel that it’s a necessity, like it’s become something that you have to do.
You Start Questioning Yourself
Even if trading has been going well, you might start to ask yourself whether it’s all worth it. Despite the money you’re making, you might think that it’s just not worth the anxiety and the time you spend trying to make a profit. These thoughts are usually not brought on by a failure in trading and can occur even when you’ve had a big payout.
If trading is a huge part of your life and you make a living from it, you might start to look at other hobbies or ways to make money, even if trading seems to be going well for you. You might begin to look for a way out or a reason to try something different.
Regular headaches or migraines are a sure sign that you’re approaching the burnout stage. You might start to feel like trading doesn’t make sense to you anymore, and headaches come from the stress and frustration of not motivating yourself or by decisions going wrong.
You may also find it difficult to sleep, even if you’re tired, or potentially oversleep for no good reason. This is because your emotional burnout has started to affect you physically. You might even notice muscle or joint pain, even if you haven’t done anything to cause it.
Making Wrong Decisions
If you’ve been trading for a while, you’re most likely on top of how trading works, and you’ve probably had some big successes before now to get to where you are.
If you suddenly find that you’re making a lot of careless, wrong decisions, it might be because you’ve lost motivation for trading and you’re not paying it the attention that you used to.
What Causes Burnout?
Trading burnout can be caused by multiple factors, which add to a bad experience while trading. Not dealing with your burnout as soon as you begin to feel it can lead to money loss and, ultimately, a downward spiral in your thoughts and abilities to make sensible decisions.
Some of the leading causes of burnout are:
Being a One-man Band
Usually, people who trade for a living do so alone. It’s typically something that people can do from home, so they sit alone, feeling all the stress and strain with no one to share their concerns with.
This isolation creates a feeling of loneliness and reinforces that you’re the only person in the world that’s going through the issues that you are – which obviously isn’t true. People are naturally sociable, and it’s OK to share and ask for help when needed.
Planning No Downtime
Trading, depending on what you’ve invested in, is a 24-hour business. The market changes overnight while you’re asleep or while you’re out and about doing other things.
For this reason, people feel like they need to watch the market at all times, planning in no time at all to have fun and taking their phones out everywhere to watch what’s going on.
This makes you a very dull dinner guest but also gets addictive. If you have no time away from trading, you’ll start to feel guilty when you take time away and not see the fun in it anymore.
Failing to Set a Schedule
Although trading can be done at any time, that doesn’t mean it should be done all the time. People who experience burnout can do so because they’re accessing their trading platforms at different times of the day.
People actually like to stick to a schedule – that’s why most 9-5 jobs are between those hours. It gives you a reason to get out of bed.
However, if your schedule is all over the place, it won’t give you enough structure, and you’ll start to feel stressed, scattered, and disorganized.
Having Unrealistic Goals
If you’re a new trader, there’s bound to be a learning curve. So it would be best if you didn’t have really high expectations immediately.
If you’re unsure of how the market works, it’s unrealistic to say that you’ll be a millionaire within a few months. People who set high expectations are ultimately disappointed and may find it difficult to recover when things go wrong.
Giving in to Negativity
Other people around you will naturally be negative about your new hobby/trading venture when you first start out. This can cause friction between you and family and friends and could lead to you also having those negative thoughts.
People don’t like the unknown; it’s natural. However, having no belief in yourself will lead to your failure.
Is it Possible Not to Burnout When Trading?
The truth is most hardcore traders do experience at least minor burnout throughout their trading career. However, if the signs are picked up early enough, you can recover and carry on as normal. Remember that most burnout is temporary, and it’s perhaps just certain practices that you have in place now that need to change to make your trading career a little easier on you.
The main thing to remember is that other people do go through this exact same thing, and it is normal; you just need to understand how to handle it correctly.
How to Avoid Burnout When Trading?
So, you’ve established what it is that makes burnout so common when trading. Now all you need to do is recognize when you’re starting to feel the effects of burnout and try to avoid them.
Share Your Concerns
Before you get started, speak to friends and see if anyone wants to come on the trading journey with you so you can share any concerns or frustrations. If not, there are also trading groups and forums out there to join, which will help you to feel a little less isolated.
Put Your Phone Down!
Stocks, shares, and cryptocurrencies fluctuate weekly, daily, or even hourly. The value of your investment will always be up and down – it’s the nature of trading. If you’re investing an amount that you know you can afford, what’s the worst that can happen?
Plan in exercises or activities each day where you leave your phone behind. Even if that’s just watching a 20-minute TV show or going or a 10-minute walk – you need that downtime to focus your mind properly. It will make you sharper when you get back.
Don’t go all-in when you first start out with trading. Instead, only invest what you can afford to. To get some low-risk practice, you might want to start with a Dollar-Cost Averaging scheme, where you invest a set amount each month to obtain assets, regardless of the asset’s value at the time.
The idea is that the asset’s average value will come out higher than you originally invested at the end of a year.
Though this is a long-term strategy, it means that you can use a direct debit to transfer money automatically monthly, and it only requires a small amount of investment.
Starting slowly in this way and building up to higher value, lump-sum payments will mean that you don’t have as much to lose if something goes wrong initially, and you won’t feel as emotionally involved or tied to your trading screen.
If you’re planning on taking up trading as a method of gaining an income, you should be treating it just like a job.
So, first, set yourself a schedule, so you know exactly when you’re going to be involved and when you’re going to ‘clock-off’ for the day.
This might take a little practice while you build up knowledge of the patterns in market dips.
For example, you might decide that the optimum times to be trading are between 6 am and 9 am and then later at 3 pm. If that’s the case, ensure you set a schedule so that you’re at your desk trading at those times and schedule other tasks or hobbies around them.
It’s important not to pin all your hopes on one lump-sum investment to make millions. It’s unrealistic and will probably lose a lot of money too.
Instead, invest wisely across multiple assets to ensure you’ve covered all bases and set yourself small, realistic targets to meet before you withdraw your money.
Remember, you can always put money back in if you’ve withdrawn too early. However, you can’t withdraw anything if you’ve placed all your eggs in one basket during a crash.
Start small and build up gradually – it’ll be more profitable in the long run and will reduce your stress levels as the stakes aren’t as high.
Recovering from negative thoughts from others is difficult, especially if those negative thoughts start to infect you too. Other people placing negative thoughts in traders’ heads is one of the main causes of motivation loss. Essentially, if those around you don’t believe in you, you won’t believe in you either.
To get around this, reassure those people that you’ve done your research (as that’s exactly what you’re doing now) and that you’re going to start slowly and learn from experience.
Thank them for their concern, as it does come from a place of love and caring but assure them that you have it under control.
Sharing your first big positive with them will also help them to get on board. All you need to remember is that they aren’t negative because they don’t believe in you, but rather because they don’t want you to get hurt.
No matter what their dream is, everyone will go through this stage but focus on your future, and you’ll come out of the other side unscathed.
Trading burnout is a normal reaction to disappointment, lack of proper scheduling, or negativity, and it’s important to remember that the state is only temporary if you catch the signs early and deal with it correctly.
Always focus on what you want to achieve in the future, not what’s happened in the past, and you can get through even the toughest burnout periods.