I’ve spent so much of my life feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. I thought that it was actually just who I was, as opposed to something that I could change. After going to the doctors for high blood pressure and high cortisol levels (the stress hormone), I knew that something had to change or I was going to work myself to an early grave.
It wasn’t until my 30th birthday, however, that a slow hunch started kicking in… I knew I wasn’t the only person who felt this way, I was surrounded by those who I could see were burning out. When we measure our success only by the hours we work or the money we make, we never feel fulfilled. Instead, we feel tired and unsuccessful.
We chase goals that never satisfy us when we hit them; we never step back and appreciate how far we’ve come. We spend our lives comparing ourselves to the pastel pinks of Instagram influencers and wondering why we’ll never be that successful, or reading rags to riches stories and wondering why adversity hadn’t made us millionaires yet…
This slow hunch turned into a big “Yes!” moment, when I finally figured out my ‘Why.’ I knew I wanted to be more open about the burnout I’d experienced, but also help those who were starting to feel the effects of the hustle culture that permeates the media on an almost daily basis.
I started learning everything I could about success, mindfulness, the comparisons we make with others, stress, psychology, and so much more. It is this journey that I’ve started writing in a book, but I wanted more than that. I wanted to reach as many people as I could, and fast…
And so, The Anti-Burnout Club was born. Using everything I’ve learnt so far and am continuing to learn, my mission is to help people who are feeling the effects of hustle culture, those who are stressed or burning out, those who are anxious or becoming unwell and those who just want to take one big step back from the busy way of life they’re living now. I truly believe you can thrive and become a success, whilst still taking care of yourself, and that’s what I aim to prove through articles, podcasts, interviews and more.
So, if you’d like to join me on this journey of discovery, here are the ways you can get involved:
- My Podcast – which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and various others – is the best way to get involved. Here I’ll talk about everything I’ve learnt and bring in some special guests who are experts in their field. Make sure you subscribe to be notified when new episodes go up.
- My Instagram is full of self-love and self-care tips and advice, along with stories of me chatting away about things I’ve discovered that day. Please do give it a follow to fill your feed with inspiration.
- My Facebook page shares that same self-love, but also articles I find on topics that will help you thrive. Give the page a like to learn along with me.
- My Facebook group is brand new, but will be a safe hub for people to talk about their own experiences of burnout, give and receive advice, and learn so much along the way. Please request to join here – it’ll be launching officially on 10th August.
- You can also get in touch if you’d like to discuss other ways you can get involved, including being a guest on the podcast!
Hi, I’m Bex Spiller, and welcome to the Anti-Burnout Club. I wanted to use this first episode to just introduce myself, explain a little bit about my background and my burnout story, and what this podcast is all about.
I’m 30 years old, very nearly 31. I live in the South East of England, in the posh bit, if you couldn’t tell by my accent. I’m a business owner and have been for nearly a decade now, and I’m also studying to get my master’s in business, my MBA, with the University of Warwick Business School. Before I started my business, I worked in sales, recruitment, marketing, behind a bar. I was quite sociable person and had lots of social jobs. But in my early twenties I suddenly suffered from something called agoraphobia. Technically, it’s a fear of open spaces. In my case, it was leaving the house. I’d gone from this bright and bubbly person to someone who barely left her bedroom for the most part.
It was during this time that I decided to set my business as I needed a way of bringing money in that didn’t involve going outside, basically. So I started freelance writing for a whole host of lots of different clients, and it just took off from there. Luckily after a bit of a wait, I got something called cognitive behavioral therapy, better known as CBT. That’s where I found out that my agoraphobia was part of a greater diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, which they figured was due to losing my mum quite suddenly just before I turned 18.
So after quite a bit of therapy, I was able to leave the house again. This is when I really started pushing with my business. I started working with a business partner who is someone, sadly, I don’t work with anymore, but we got an office, a member of staff, then a bigger office, then more staff. It just grew and grew and grew. After my business partner left, I decided to expand the business even more, meaning a bigger office, more staff, and a lot more responsibility. At this point, I was working from around 7:00 in the morning, leaving the office around 7:00 in the evening, and then working on my laptop when I got home. I was working weekends, holidays, the whole lot.
I’d always been a bit of a hustle culture devotee, thinking the more hours I work, the more successful I’d become. I followed all those hustle culture pushers like Gary V, telling me, “You have to put in all the hours or you’ll never be a success.” But things really started getting out of hand, and I was burning out quite rapidly. I was constantly unwell. I was going to the doctors for things like high blood pressure – in my twenties, high blood pressure! – high cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, and my anxiety levels were going back through the roof, even after my CBT.
During this time, I also decided to apply for my MBA… I know, stupid. I didn’t actually think I’d get accepted because I didn’t have any previous qualifications. I left school when I was 16, so I didn’t have an undergrad degree. But I was actually offered a scholarship thanks to my business acumen. So I was really, really happy, but I now needed to add the crazy hours that I was doing at work to trying to do more crazy hours completing a master’s degree. I was just a complete mess, basically a complete and utter mess. It was around my 30th birthday that I realized if I didn’t take one massive step back and evaluate my life and what I actually wanted, I was probably going to end up working myself to an early grave.
My dad, who was someone who was constantly on it – he would have loved the whole hustle culture thing, he was so motivated – he was an entrepreneur. He’d passed away when I was 24 due to a heart attack. He was 60, and his dad also passed away at 60 from the same thing. I looked at it like, “Well, I might make a ton of money at this rate, but I’ll be dead before I get to enjoy it.” I started to realize that all of the hustle culture BS that I’d been buying into was very slowly killing me. I wanted to measure my success on something other than how many hours I could work in a week.
Another big moment was when I started studying the Economics of Wellbeing at Warwick, and I realized that actually even the experts were saying that happiness is something we should strive for more than anything. More than money, more than big houses and fancy cars. On top of this, politicians have also started talking about measuring and improving wellbeing. There’s something called the Behavioral Insights Team in the UK government which I’m fascinated by, and I properly nerd out over. They’ve been trying to measure wellbeing and just try and shift people to think more about our wellbeing than anything else.
There has been a big shift in the way we measure our goals and successes over the last few years, but I feel like we’ve still got quite a long way to go. There’s still people promoting hustle culture and burning out. And stress is such a massive, massive thing. There are so many people who are feeling stressed and burnt out. And so the Anti-Burnout Club was born. I liked the name because it’s ABC… So that was my very simple thinking. My aim is to kind of use everything I’ve learnt to help people thrive and become successes in their own right without feeling stressed or becoming unwell and getting high blood pressure or high cortisol levels.
I’ve already got a few exciting guests lined up where we’ll be talking about things like psychology, mindfulness, imposter syndrome, grief, stress, self-care, success, mental health, and also just individual burnout stories as well, and how people got out over their own burnout. Hopefully, we’ll all learn a lot along the way and improve our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others around us as well. Because I feel like when you concentrate on looking after yourself, everything else falls into place. Hopefully, what you learn you can either teach to others or just a better way of living can help improve the others around you as well.
That’s it for me today. It’s a very, very quick one. But please do get involved and subscribe if you’d like to come along on the journey. You can also find articles related to all these topics on my site, Bexspiller.com, just go to the Anti-Burnout Club, and over on my Instagram, antiburnoutclub without the the. So yeah, until next time, take care!