A day trading holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the 4th of July can make day trading the markets even more challenging than usual. For whatever reason, the markets typically slow down, and there are probably a million reasons why this happens.
I can’t speak to what the big shots on Wall Street are doing. But, it’s a pretty safe bet they are like me. When the volume is low and just not moving, I lose interest in trading.
The real question is when should we take time for ourselves to recharge? I don’t know about you, but I got into this business was for the freedom to take time off as I please. Let me make a suggestion. When the next holiday comes around, take a little extra time for yourself and take a break from day trading. You may be surprised at how much it helps.
A trader is never really off duty. When trading is your primary livelihood, researching nights and practicing on weekends is a regular part of life. But that does not mean you shouldn’t take a break. Stepping away for 1 or 2 days, or even a week just could be the key to keeping your trading business — and you — in good condition.
All too commonly, though, traders reject the holidays others grant themselves. In most work environments, employees enjoy two- or three-weeks off a year. In the meantime, “tradeaholics” pride themselves on staying connected to the Market, still checking their charts from an oceanfront hotel room or European getaway.
If you think you will miss out on some critical market action during a vacation, think again.
The Framingham Heart Study, a decades-long study into the causes and risk indicators for heart problems, found a powerful link between holidays and longevity. Even after making allowance for a considerable number of other life factors, people that took more vacations lived the longest. Go on holiday once or more a year and your possibility of death fall by twenty percent compared to people who keep working.
There is a tremendous amount of research to support the fact that purchasing experiences — like a holiday — increase contentment more than purchasing possessions. The memories of those experiences also last more than the satisfaction we get from buying an auto or flat-screen television. Think about your adolescence for a minute: Are you able to list all of the presents you were given for each birthday? Likely not.
But it is very likely you still have clear memories of family trips taken decades back. Are you making those memories for your youngsters? Travel reinforces family bonds by making shared memories. A holiday now is an investment in your family’s future.
Most traders are constantly trying to improve their craft. We can get stuck in a rut. The best way to get a new point of view is to get away – refresh your brain, and come back with a new creative perspective. That suggests at least a week off (not a quickie three-day weekend) and No occasional checks of the Market. Only when you’ve cleared your gray matter will there be room for new, innovative concepts to bloom.
Do you have a trading plan? If you are like many traders, the answer is an embarrassed “no.” It is one of those things we plan to get around to, but ultimately typically do not. A trading plan is not some hypothetical exercise. It is a practical component for success. Your trade plan will act as an anchor when you are rocked about by a series of losses, or get careless from a string of wins. A holiday is an ideal time to give yourself a rest and then come back focused on planning your trades, and trading your Plan.
Many traders keep checking the market while on holiday simply thru obsession (“I need to know what’s going on”) or fear (“I might miss something”). Know this – major trend days may happen, and you may miss some ‘great moves.’ But your trading business will not crumble if you take a week off.
No trader’s long-term success is set by what occurs over one week. Time off may help you to see that your life is composed of much more than just trading. Hopefully, it will also confirm that your trading is something that brings great satisfaction. If that is the case, it’ll make coming back from holiday a much less difficult experience.
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