Trading can be a very solitary and sedentary affair – with a distinct lack of exercise. Aspiring traders can overdo the screen watching and mouse clicking, with poor posture, eye strain, gritty eyes, fatigue, neck and shoulder strain leading to potential headaches, poor sleep patterns, snacking rather than eating properly, dehydration – poor diet and weight gain – you get the picture!
As you develop as a trader, your well being becomes more and more important, as a traders mental alertness, awareness and thus performance can be affected by one, some or all the above.
So try and focus in at the start and end and periodically, during your trading day to assess how you feel and if you need to take a break, re-group mentally, eat and hydrate, change your work station layout, exercise etc.
For some ideas and tips to improve your physical and mental well being as a Trader, we suggest the following:
- Set a (google) timer on your smart phone/laptop/pc for 45-50 mins and then take a 10 minute break.
- Use price level Alerts linked from your trading platform to your Smart Phone, so you are not a slave to your screen.
- Always take a lunch break where possible.
- Eat healthy snacks such as fresh fruit.
- Take Daily exercise:
- A long walk – I walk my energetic black lab and normally average over 10,000 steps a day.
- Do a Joe Wickes type HIIT at least 3 times a week
- Jog or Swim
- Play a round of Golf or get involved in some other team sport, maybe?
- Walk or Cycle to and from work if you can.
- You could consider a Personal Trainer (Covid-19) allowing, as this ensures accountability if you find it hard to motivate yourself to stay fit and healthy.
- If you work from home then try and exercise around your daily schedule as above.
- Maybe a regular massage is maybe what you need?
- Consider Tai-Chi, Quigong or similar (a form of meditation whilst exercising and increasing your bodies energy (Chi))
- Learn to Meditate – this should help your trading Mindset
- Check in with yourself before your trading day begins:
- How do you feel both physically and mentally?
- If your head space is not right then it is likely that you may not trade as well.
- If you are in the middle of a big life change such as a Wedding, Divorce, Moving House or having a new baby, then it is probably best not to try and trade around that.
- Use and maintain a Trading Journal to track your thoughts, progress, areas for improvement and well being.
- Start planning your Daily Diet and eat healthily if you can, as ‘we are what we eat’.
- Monitor how much water you actually drink and try and stay well hydrated.
- Consider joining a Traders Meetup or Network where you can find moral support and share ‘war’ stories. We recommend the London Traders Network Meet Up Group, which meets quarterly in London.
- If you do one or two things suggested above and make them a habit, you should feel the benefit and should see the results in your trading. Above all, be mindful of how you actually are and what you need to do to keep your ‘Mark 1 Brain’ in gear and functioning well, in what can be an extremely challenging and mentally tiring and potentially stressful occupation. An Holistic approach is really what we are recommending here.
- Stay well and safe trading.