Are you someone who just can’t stop? Is a laser focus both your greatest strength and worst weakness? Do you suffer from FOMO — the fear of missing out? Veteran day trader Ross Cameron feels your pain. At certain times in his career, he’s suffered from these maladies, too. In a recent blog post he addressed these very serious problems that many day traders face.
Ross Cameron says one of the biggest challenges he’s faced as a full-time day trader is switching off and taking a break. He admits a certain amount of irony in the situation because as long as they have an internet connection, day traders can do their job from anywhere.
The whole time he’s been a day trader, Cameron’s traded about three hours daily but has always hesitated to take days off or long vacations.
“Any day that I take off from trading is a day that I’m potentially missing great trading opportunities,” he wrote in his blog, adding that not only do you spend money on your vacation, but there’s also the cost of missing out on trading profits while you take a break.
Don’t Fear the FOMO
Ross Cameron recently took a vacation in Antigua, but he shared that for him it “didn’t really feel like a vacation” because he spent time trading. He worried constantly that he’d miss out on a big winning trade.
While he’s big on “showing up” to trade every day, he admits the dedication can lead to a higher burnout rate.
“When it comes to trading, you can become frustrated and stubborn because you feel that if you don’t stay on the pedal, you might become rusty or disconnected from the market,” Cameron wrote. “The tendency is to keep on going.”
But burnout can lead to decision fatigue, he warns.
“You might start taking trades that you would not take otherwise, and they might lack the strategy or discipline that you typically maintain,” Ross Cameron explained. “If you are suffering from that, it is important to ask yourself, ‘Would it help to do a one-week trading detox where I just take time off to press the reset button?’”
The first time he took a decent amount of time off from trading, Ross Cameron admits he felt a little antsy.
“I honestly felt like I had a withdrawal because I didn’t know what to do with myself in the morning,” he wrote.
Watch for Burnout
About a year-and-a-half ago, Ross Cameron took a week off for a vacation in Turks and Caicos. He remembers telling himself: “I should really take time off from trading because I’m feeling really burnt out.”
He recalls that it had been a crazy year for him and felt a break was something he needed.
“I remember I felt very recharged when I finally came back from the vacation. I ended up making some great trades in my first week back, and I felt like I had more than made up for the week that I was out,” wrote Ross Cameron.
The whole experience helped him realize the benefits of taking time off, and now he encourages anyone experiencing burnout to prioritize their mental health and take a break.
“That’s especially true if your trading is not going well and you’re making bad decisions,” Ross Cameron advised. “That is generally the time when it is worth taking a week or two to recharge so you can come back with more focus.”
Ross Cameron Understands the Double-Edged Sword
Ultimately, Cameron concludes, the freedom of being a full-time day trader is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s a gig that provides the opportunity for total independence from the confines of the rat race. On the other hand, it means you need to always show up and be present. There are no paid vacations. You only eat what you can catch. And burnout is a real danger if you don’t take time to recharge or regroup.
Ross Cameron thinks it’s vital for day traders to constantly perform their own self-analysis to determine whether they’re close to reaching a burnout point.
“Different people are going to be susceptible in different ways,” he wrote. “Some can maintain long stretches of continuous trading without needing a recharge, while others will need to take a break more frequently.”
Personally, Ross Cameron says he’s done pretty well with very minimal recharge windows.
“But I think it’s possible I might have done better if I had taken more time off,” he admitted. “I think knowing when to take a break is one of the most important traits I’ve learned to develop over time, and they have been instrumental in helping me combat burnout.”