I have just returned from a very special holiday in the Maldives – it was incredible and an experience I will never forget.  I have shown you a photo of myself in our plunge pool.

I didn’t look at the markets and it was a great break away from it all.  I think all traders from time to time need a break from trading.

Many who have traded for an extended period of time would agree with the fact that traders can experience a wide range of emotions and often one straight after another. Traders can experience the whole range from the exultation of a winning trade that went very well to the despair of a string of losses where ‘giving up trading’ becomes a prominent thought in one’s mind.

There is no doubt that trading can often have a taxing effect on your mental health. You are constantly faced with decisions that need to be made and can easily go through a swing of emotions.  Some of you may also lack confidence in your own ability to trade well or lack the courage of your own conviction and therefore experience another array of emotions when trading.

Sometimes trading can be quite stressful and other times it may appear as if you can do no wrong. These emotional swings and emotional stresses do impact on your mental state and can ultimately affect your trading decisions.

I believe that it is prudent to sometimes schedule a break from trading. In this case, you would close all positions before your break or, for a few weeks out from the break commencing, open no new positions and allow your open positions to take their course in the time leading up to your break.

The time you schedule your break may coincide with the school holidays or your Christmas break from work. This may end up being the best trading decision you make as you are able to separate yourself from some of the emotions you have experienced, and recharge the mental batteries. The requirement for a break will vary significantly from trader to trader and will depend largely on your trading frequency.

Around the time when each of my three children were born, I made the decision to stop and separate myself from the market for several months each time. I did this for a number of reasons — obviously, there was something more important in my life going on at the time and they were emotional times. So, for these reasons, I decided to exit a few trades leading up to each time and not resume until a couple of months afterwards.

On reflection, I felt this was a great decision on every occasion. After all, the two to three months away was only a blip on life’s time line and, not surprisingly, the market was still there when I decided to return.

Other times you may consider exiting are perhaps when you are travelling or on holidays. Will you be able to concentrate on your open trades and monitor them while you are travelling? Will you want to spend time on them or not have to worry about them and enjoy your holiday? Will you be in a position where you can access prices and make decisions accordingly? Again, this is a personal choice and just some food for thought.

One of the things stopping people thinking about taking a break is that they may miss out on some good trading opportunities. Rest assured that the market you trade is a vital part of the corporate world and will always be open for trading. This means that when you finish your two-week break for example, the market will be open as if you hadn’t even had your break.

Next time you open your diary, I suggest you consider scheduling a break from trading. You will enjoy it.

Stuart McPhee
Stuart McPhee

Australian private trader for nearly 20 years, author, trading coach, licensed adviser and regular speaker at major trading events all around the world. Graduate of RMC Duntroon and former Australian Army Officer.