5 Tips for Coping with Burnout
When you are trying to liberate yourself from your desk job by becoming a full-time binary options trader, you are facing a challenging journey which is going to be stressful at points along the way. There is a difference though between stress and burnout. Burnout is a very real danger for binary options traders. When you reach a state of burnout, the accumulated demands of ongoing emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion become too much to handle. This causes you to lose interest altogether in trading. At that point, you enter into a vicious cycle. Your burnout causes you to take a half-baked approach to trading, which causes poor results, which leads to more burnout, and so on. How can you prevent and alleviate burnout?
1. Learn to recognize the warning signs.
It can be very helpful to notice when you are on the road to burnout before you actually are fully entrenched in that state. Here are some signs that you may be on your way to real exhaustion with trading:
- You feel like you have no good days or productive days trading anymore.
- You question whether you are genuinely wasting your time and energy trying to trade—even if a part of you knows better.
- You constantly feel utterly drained of energy.
- You are bored with what you are doing and take no joy in it.
- You feel like your hard work is literally making no difference (even if it is).
Burnout is a dangerous place to be because it not only takes a toll on your trading, but on the rest of your life as well. It can cause you to be more susceptible to illness and to succumb to the same exhaustion at your day job, with other personal projects, and even in your relationships.
2. Learn the difference between stress and burnout.
But trading is always going to be hard work, isn’t it? That much is true, and stress is a regular part of any endeavor worth pursuing. Stress itself can be dangerous if you do not regulate it, but it is helpful to know the difference:
- Stress is a state which is characterized by over-engagement and hyperactivity. You feel a sense of urgency and possibly anxiety, but the majority of the exhaustion is physical. You still feel like the activities you are pursuing are worth your time.
- Burnout is a state characterized by withdrawal, detachment, and depression. Instead of being hyperactive, you will feel a tendency to give up. You may feel helpless and lose hope. You may question whether anything is worth doing at all.
It is important to try and reduce both stress and burnout, but burnout is generally the more damaging state.
3. Recognize the causes of burnout.
You may be laughing right now, thinking, “It is obvious what causes burnout. It is over-work and underachievement!” That is an oversimplification though which is unhelpful in resolving the problem. Here are some specific causes of burnout that you can actually do something about:
- Setting unclear expectations or goals for yourself, or goals that are unrealistic. If you are constantly aiming for the unachievable, you will always feel like you are getting nowhere. This also applies to the tasks you set for yourself. If they are poorly defined, you will be very frustrated.
- Monotony. Trading is a somewhat monotonous activity. You can try to remove monotony by arranging your research, testing, and trading schedule in such a way that you vary your tasks.
- Workaholic behaviors. Are you spending 100% of your time trying to trade? If so, you are probably sacrificing in other areas of your life. Your work-life balance is no longer in balance, and you are taking too much time away from leisure, other projects, and friends and family.
- Trying to do everything yourself. Isolation increases the risk of burnout. When you have others you can talk to about your trading and get fresh perspectives from, you are less likely to burn out. Check out accountability partners.
- Not getting enough sleep or taking care of your physical needs. Take care of yourself first!
- Unhealthy perfectionism. If you setting unrealistically high expectations and the energy you are putting into your work is continuously exceeding the payoffs, you will probably burn out.
- Pessimism. Negative perspectives on the world and on yourself can sap your energy and lead you into a cycle of despair.
- Uncertainty intolerance. Life is filled with endless uncertainty, and if you have a hard time coping with that, you are more likely to deal with burnout. Uncertainty tolerance is something you can build with practice. That way you can relinquish some of your need for control.
4. Prevent stress and burnout with healthy daily choices.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the chances of burning out. It is important to dedicate a lot of time and energy to learning how to trade, but you should never do so at the expense of a healthy, balanced life. Take time each day to relax and do things you enjoy. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise. If you have to, start setting boundaries for yourself. Give yourself set times in which to work on binary options, and then stop. Make sure you think about other things when you are not working. This can be a challenging thing to teach yourself, but it is worth it to develop that extra discipline.
5. Take time to recover.
What if you are already experiencing burnout? Start by slowing down your work, or even taking a complete break from trading and trading-related activities. You may think simply changing your attitude will be enough, but it never is. You absolutely have to stop or slow down for a little while. You may feel an urge to isolate yourself, but it is essential that you spend more time with people who care about you.
After that, it is time to sit down and evaluate your goals, daily tasks, and assumptions. Make the changes you need to come back to trading renewed and refreshed and on a better course. Here are some things you may wish to evaluate:
- What are my long term goals as a trader?
- What are my short term goals? Do I even have short term goals that are realistic and concretely established? Do I have a goal for this month? This week? Each day? Can I actually achieve these goals?
- Do the tasks I assign myself each day make sense, and can I do them in a reasonable amount of time without driving myself crazy?
- Can I join a trading community and get help from others?
- Can I schedule my time better so that I can work more efficiently, but also take time off for leisure?
- How can I get my mind off of trading when I am doing other things?
Burnout is an unpleasant experience that each of us goes through at one point or another, and it is a common plague for binary options traders. You are not helpless when it comes to preventing or recovering from burnout, however, even if it may feel that way when you are wading through the swamp of difficult emotions. If you are facing burnout, sit down with this article and go over your own behaviors, thoughts, and assumptions. Take a break, and come back to trading binary options when you have made some changes!