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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Chart Patterns: After the Buy
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Bulkowski on Burning Out

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Candles Chart
Small Patterns
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 04/20/2018
24,463 -201.95 -0.8%
10,579 -92.91 -0.9%
691 -5.96 -0.9%
7,146 -91.93 -1.3%
2,670 -22.99 -0.9%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 04/13/2018
25,300 or 23,400 by 05/01/2018
10,800 or 9,800 by 05/01/2018
670 or 710 by 05/01/2018
7,400 or 6,800 by 05/01/2018
2,750 or 2,600 by 05/01/2018

Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.


Wikipedia: "Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work." It often comes about when you push yourself too hard and for too long.

There are many symptoms that suggest you could be burning out. Take this quiz to find out.

Quiz Time

  1. Do you feel lethargic?
  2. Would rather stay in bed than trade?
  3. Do you wake frequently at night and then feel tired all day long?
  4. Does trading feel like a hopeless endeavor, just like everything else?
  5. Do you have a temper now but didn't before?
  6. Do you lose your temper over little things?
  7. Do you feel as if you are losing control over your trading?
  8. Do you need stimulants like caffeine?

If you didn't find enough energy to complete the quiz, then that suggests you are either burned out or a very lazy person. Answering more than one or two questions with Yes does not bode well either.

Stress Triggers

Trading is a unique profession since the pressure to avoid losses is a daily challenge that creates stress. Too much stress and you burnout like a rocket motor. But stress often comes from more than just losing money, such as these triggers.

  • Financial worries like too much debt or not enough money to pay the bills
  • Excessive losses and the need to "make it back"
  • Lifestyle changes such as divorce, job change, or even a death in the family
  • Conflicts with spouse, friends, or neighbors
  • Physical fights or even the threat of violence
  • Deadlines
  • Illness
  • Poor eating habits
  • Pain
  • Lima beans

Yes, I added Lima beans for fun.


When stress becomes too high and sustained for too long, symptoms of burnout appear. You may have difficulty sleeping, or your anger rises. This may lead to an impaired immune system, triggering colds, arthritis, and so on.

Trading triggers the flight-or-fight response, and that causes the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline. That adrenaline gives you instant energy, just as stepping on a gas pedal does to a car. But over time, the response gets sluggish. An exhausted adrenal system means the person will have difficulty falling asleep (insomnia), then sleep soundly, but wake up still tired and remain that way throughout the day.

Once burnout occurs, often a trading career is over. Many change jobs and others spend time repairing their bodies, minds, and broken relationships.

What's The Fix?

Picture of my dog with her ears up

What can you do to avoid burnout? Here are some tips.

  • Get plenty of daily exercise, just don't overdue it because too much exercise hurts adrenal function, too.
  • Take frequent vacations. They need not be long, but they should be as stress free as they can be (in other words, leave bungee jumping for another lifetime).
  • Eat better to help the body cope with stress. Avoid high fat junk food, salty snacks, and processed food.
  • Meditate. Learn a method to reduce stress such as meditation.
  • Plan the trade and trade the plan. Be a disciplined trader, one that follows his own rules. When you trade outside of your system, mistakes can cause stress and stress leads to burnout.
  • Lead a balanced lifestyle. Learn to leave your work at the office. Go have some fun.

The best cure for burnout is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

See Also

-- Thomas Bulkowski


Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.