Learn to Last PHYSICALLY
With the exception of disc-jockeys, voice-over announcers and phone-sex operators, there probably isn’t a job out there that is not physical.
I know you’d think there is nothing physical about Trading (I didn’t think so too earlier on) so let me enlighten you a bit. In studying to Trade, we already have physical demands, squeezing it in busy days at work, taking care of family, travel/driving or even social activities. In actual Trading, we have to make timely and competent decisions and here lies a very common physical challenge to Traders and that is STRESS. A lot of traders get stressed with losses as well as constant pressure to absorb news or developments in the market (for the more active traders). Lack of energy is another problem that affect Trading. In making decisions or monitoring the market, your tiredness can also distract you or make you lose self-control. We do have to have a sound body to have a sound mind.
Here are my top tips to last physically in Trading:
- Healthy diet –Eat fresh!
- Rest and Relaxation
I think this topic needs no introduction so let me just tell you my favourite way to exercise : long walks. Besides the physical workout, when you walk your mind is set free. I use this time as well to think of what I learned, sometimes I am able to connect two ideas to help me in my trade. Sometimes it helps me plan what I need to do for example protect or build up my capital. Sometimes it makes me realize the risks more. All those thinking and physical process meet up when I walk, its multi-tasking heaven
OK so now in keeping with the rest of the articles here, I am going to squeeze in discussing shoes. Well because I have to warn you about wearing ‘WRONG’ ones! There was a time I was walking, doing all those wonderful thinking I told you about, when whooooops! I tripped, fell and sprained my ankle (no broken bones Thank God!). I think it’s caused by shoes that I had worn that day – one of those “new” ones on the market that elevate you or make you rock back and forth supposedly for toning muscles. (Don’t make me name names!) It’s probably OK to use in the gym because you really are not going anywhere. But when you are out in the street, or outdoors trail the path is likely to be irregular or uneven. Use shoes that are low, comfortable and let you balance easily.
HEALTHY DIET – Eat Fresh!
This one is another familiar topic and there are lots of resources already out there. So I’m just going to tell you my top tip : Eat fresh.
Long before, I’ve been planting herbs that I conveniently pluck and enjoy in my salads, stew or soups. This summer was the very first time we planted tomatoes in our balcony, and it was wonderful! The children love watching it grow and bear fruit in bunches and enjoy seeing it ripen changing color from green to orange and red. The very first time we ate those red ripe tomatoes, I can feel and taste the healthy goodness of it. So fresh, no chemicals. I feel like I can live to 150years old! :) I was thinking why I didn’t think of it before (well in a word, busy) . My mother’s family (she got sisters who are upwards of 80yrs old) are all still strong and spritely, they love eating vegetables and fruits most of which they like to grow around the house. My parents who had retired in dad’s island hometown enjoy fresh fish everyday and thankfully haven’t got much of the old-age illness from lifestyle factors like diabetes, high-cholesterol or liver problems. So all you people who want to live a long and healthy life, eat fresh. Nothing is impossible, grow some green vegetables or tomatoes in your balcony or window. There might even be community spaces where you can share a garden.
You actually get the most vitamins and minerals eating fresh food. Most vitamins “dissolve” with water, fat and when heated, so cooking and processing of things you eat rob you of the healthy goodness of the food. So have a diet consisting of a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. It helps to juice or put them in a blender and drink it when pressed for time or for the children to have a fun and learning activity in the kitchen. We also cut up fruits/veg in small pieces and eat it while studying or playing (my daughter calls this “munch and crunch”).
Now in the interest of time, I know many mothers out there “pre-cook” food on the weekend for the work/school days. I’m not keen on this idea. When I do this, I try and just cook for the next day’s food with tomato sauce or vinegar that helps preserve the food like vegetables and meat (just judging from what the food is like – I think this is due to fermentation). Think of the usual practice of pickling. In Vietnam, and in the Philippines we have all sorts of pickled vegetables (we call “atsara”), green papaya, mangoes, carrots, mustard leaves. People from the Indian-subcontinent also have “chutneys”, while Koreans also have “kimchi” (cabbage with spices). Pressed for time, my weekly menu includes meat marinated that I just throw into the oven or grill coming from work and served with baby spinach salad (just washed and drained! No peeling, cutting or a lot of cleaning up hehehe). Come to think of it, pickled veg goes along well with anything from the grill!
I will separately post some fresh food suggestions and hope to hear from you if you got any to share
REST and Relaxation
During the summer here in Sydney, the sun is still up till 8pm. So oftentimes like yesterday we went to the beach around 6pm and stunned to find the parking is still full! People had the same idea as we did. And who can blame them, the wind from the sea is exhilarating and there is something just so invigorating sitting down to marvel at the power of the waves and sheer majesty of the blue sky. It was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
It took only 2 hours to travel and staying down at the seaside and yet I felt that I have another store of strength for the next 126 hours of my week’s waking life. Yes, a little time spent of complete peace and rest gives your body and mind more focus and energy with which to use in Trading and everything else.
Of course not everybody can go down to the seaside in minutes. Here’s a few other ways :
- Breathe. Slowly. Deeply….. One…. two….three …. combine this with relaxing your muscles and good posture. If you are sitting, pull your shoulders back and straighten up your spine.
- Soothing music. Just go for your slow favourites. Mine is instrumental piano and guitar .
- Meditation. Close your eyes and let your thoughts float.
- Sing. Dance. Laugh. Do it all together when you can and then collapse on the floor among the pillows. (I learned this from my children)
- Get a massage. Or you can do this to yourself throughout the day applying slight pressure with your fingertips on your forehead and shoulders. Use a scented oil like Jojoba or infused Virgin Coconut Oil if you like.
- Lie in a warm bath with herbs like rosemary, oregano and flowers. Aromatic treat and make you feel gorgeous.
- Look at pictures that make you smile. Happy faces, landscape.
- Hug someone. Preferably a small child, soak in that pure joy and innocence. But anyone else you love will be fine. :)
Notice that you can do this as quick or as long as you want do it. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, for example when US market breadth is negative (this means more companies fell than gained) and will likely influence your session’s trading. Before the start, relax yourself, do some breathing exercise, relax and just follow your System. Get out at the designated Stop or if the move is in your favour, be patient, follow the market don’t let your excitement cut your profit.
Your body will be more responsive to your thinking when it is rested and relaxed.
Right! How do we make it happen?
All these activities for physical well-being I listed above needs time. How do you make it happen? We all lead what I consider frantically busy lives, (humans are funny creatures, with modern transport and communications, it actually saves and free us more time than before, but we find other things to busy ourselves anyway!) My “brilliant” idea before is to “find time” to do them. I even made a schedule for myself on what I should be doing when and tried to follow it. But it seemed I just couldn’t find the time what with work, children, and chores. If you live in a place where available help for domestic duties is available, you are sooooooooo lucky! (No excuses for you! Hehehe) But if you are one of those people like me without much help available, you just have to do all that you can and keep moving forward. Stay motivated, be efficient and get others to do things for you when possible (I’ve taught my 6 and 4yr old kids to do their own beds now when they wake up in the morning). Also study or trade in the best time for your “body clock”. But that’s another article.
Till then, chill baby, chill….