Stina Helenefors: Do I Want to Live Like This for 20 More Years?
After an eye-opening experience with burnout and taking the courageous step to leave an abusive relationship, Stina Helenefors was left asking the question, do I want to live like this for 20 more years? After facing numerous wake-up calls, this life-changing thought propelled Stina to revisit and reflect on her inner thoughts. Taking the time to finally reflect on her vision of life, turning her negative thoughts into positive ones, Stina decided to pursue a career as a stress therapist, mindset coach and business developer. With her mission to help 10 million young adults live a purposeful life free of stress, Innerflow was born.
How was your early career before you delved into the world of therapy and mindset coaching?
When I had graduated from International Business School in my 20s, I was highly committed to building a career and sent out numerous applications without any structure or plan. As an ambitious young adult, I had only my professional career in my mind – I was not reflecting on my path in life and my inner child’s wishes. Within a week, I got a phone call from Sweden, and as I was living abroad at the time, I was planning to move back to Sweden to be near my family. It was exciting to be welcomed back to Sweden for an interview, and my professional confidence just skyrocketed. So, the next week I boarded a plane to Sweden to attend the interview. That same day, in the afternoon, I was in the middle of Gothenburg looking up at a huge building, and I said to my parents, ‘I don’t dare to go up there.’ I put on a courageous front, walked to the building and pressed the button on the elevator to the 5th floor.
I was too busy sending out my resumes that I realised that I had forgotten to reflect upon myself. I was nervous as I stood outside the interview door, expecting to be greeted by two people. But when I opened the door and went in, I saw a whole delegation of people in black and blue suits – I almost fainted, and my legs felt like they had turned into spaghetti.
Today, I know that day was a wake-up call. At the time, I was living in an abusive relationship that had changed my self-image and aura, and I was filled with negativity. I stayed in this relationship for too many years after this first wake-up call – I became dependent on him. I did not think that I was pretty and intelligent enough to get a better man than him, and at the same time, I felt sorry for him. If you have an addiction, you become someone else, you have so much self-hate that you need to get rid of, and the first in line is the person you’re sharing your life and home with. I understand that now, and I hope the best for him on his future journey. Many people say that I was brave to choose to end the relationship, and I remember the day as it was yesterday. It had such a huge impact on the rest of my life. I asked myself the question, “Do I want to live like this for 20 more years?” and my inner voice said, “No, because if you feel like this today, imagine how you would feel if you stayed in this relationship. I need to choose myself and my wellbeing first”. And I did.
How did your professional and personal life help you become the person you are today?
I always say that my true self was something I was born with, but I had to go through challenges in my job and private life to be ready to be that true self. I always knew that I needed to get a good job and be independent, and I had my own values and beliefs, but I had never reflected on that. I had many wake-up calls where I needed to take time to reflect. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know this period of my life is dedicated to becoming my authentic self.
During my career, I started out as self-employed and worked on matchmaking activities between the Nordic countries and European countries where clients sought markets. I was the matchmaker. I had created intricate plans, but the lack of income changed my path, so instead, I decided to work as an employee. That experience taught me how to work with self-leadership and become a driven and goal-oriented professional.
During this time, I was struggling with negative feelings and challenges in my private life. I had constant thoughts of “has he been drinking again”, “where can I find a box of wine this time” and knowing that an argument was pending. I deepened my knowledge of yoga, meditation and the law of attraction to keep myself in balance. It was my medicine to the destructive relationship I lived in at that time. I knew deep down that I was meant to do something else, that I was meant to help others, but I never had the time to sit down and understand how.
How did your career in stress therapy and mindset begin?
The final wake-up call that made me change my life path was when I experienced burnout and crashed at my job one day. I had worked long hours and at double the speed for a long time at a new job as I had the responsibility for the expansion of a business area within healthcare. I had ignored my thoughts and what I was feeling inside. That constant overload of work with no time to destress left me on sick leave. That was the final wake-up call that changed my life forever.
In that year, I went from a stressed-out professional to a transformed person. I finally had time to listen to my inner voice. In March 2020, I wrote down the mission in my diary – to help 10 million young adults live a purposeful life free of stress. The first step I took to get one step closer to my goal was to enrol on a one-year program to become a Certified Stress therapist. I made the plan to change my life and win the battle against mental fatigue. I wrote down clear goals, and they slowly became reality over the next two years. Going from lying in bed with no energy in January to standing on a stage, being featured in media via an event in Stockholm, presenting my program Master in Sustainable Self-leadership in the middle of December, was a dream come through.
What inspired the launch of Innerflow?
I had no idea that my dream would continue. At the beginning of this year, I came into contact with Global Woman via a Facebook event, and I decided to jump on. At the same time, an old friend showed up on Facebook that I had not been in contact with for the last 20 years, and that was Tony Robbins. When I was 15, I wanted to buy his cassettes and CDs, but I never did. So, I was very glad to see him again and I decided to participate in UPW2021, the virtual edition, and that helped me to jumpstart my plan to start a business as a stress therapist and sustainable self-leadership expert. By participating in the Global Woman Business School, I will have my first Masterclass called “Master your Sustainable Self-Leadership in 10 days”. I have been a co-author of two books in one year, Tap into Your Power and The Inner Journey, where I share my story about my transformational year and one e-book where I give an introduction to the 10-day program on Sustainable self-leadership. So many people and situations inspired me to follow my dream to make an impact and influence others that need help. I hope to one day be able to complete the mission that I once wrote and contribute all my working time to influencing others. People ask me what is your why? And I always say, “I want to help people find a better life and create balance in life. Because I believe that if we humans have balance, so does the earth we live on.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in this career?
To acknowledge that I need to work on myself, my weaknesses and strengths. To realise that my thoughts were my enemy for 20 years, and I had to reprogram my brain by alternative thoughts and affirmations to become the person I truly am, the inner child that had been screaming to be listened to for so many years. Another challenge was to have the courage to stand on my own two feet and not hide behind other strong and manipulative people. Instead, believe in me and be true to my values in everything I do and speak.
How would you describe your approach to therapy and coaching?
I believe that everyone needs some kind of coaching in their lives and a mentor to learn from. We need to keep on moving and developing as human beings, and if you are stuck, you need someone to mirror yourself and your thoughts too. I also believe that clear action plans need to be set to avoid negative dialogues. Working with your thoughts is one important part as well as your values and belief system. I am specialized in ACT therapy which works more on creating a life where you identify your core values and reflect on those in every decision you make. I also specialize in my own developed method Sustainable Self-leadership where I help clients find ways to set goals and visions that are based on their true selves.
On World Mental Health Day, Oct 10th, WHO wrote that over one billion people in the world suffer from a mental disorder, that one in every 100 deaths is a suicide, and the pandemic will have an even more negative impact for the future. The side effects of last year with isolation, homeschooling and working from home have a negative impact on world health. I believe that if people gain knowledge and take action on Sustainable Self-leadership and start listening to their heart’s desire more, they can take control of their lives and feel much better. The therapy and coaching come as a helping hand. The future of health care holds a lot of preventive care because of the demographic challenges we face, and that is why people need to learn more about how they can balance their private and professional life by Sustainable self-leadership to stay healthy.
What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone struggling to manage their stress?
- Start your morning with a big smile on your face. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “how do I feel today?”
- Find time for meditation, and exercise outside in the fresh air
- Write down all your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Throw the negative thoughts in the trash can and put your positive affirmations in a frame on the wall.
What inspired you to participate in this book project, and how has the book project experience been for you?
At the beginning of this year, I did a vision board with Global Woman at their event on Facebook, and on that vision board, I put a picture of a woman sitting on the beach writing on a book and another picture saying published a book. I did not know that Global Woman would give me that opportunity, and I also got to participate in a Swedish anthology. So, it became two books in one year and one e-book. I was inspired by the dream of becoming a writer. I can see myself writing books and having masterclasses on a regular basis. It was a dream come true. And with the guidance and help from Global Woman, I was inspired and started to see myself as a writer. It is such a privilege to get the chance to tell my story to the world, and by doing that, help others help themselves. If I can help one person, that means that I have made a difference.