Vironika Tugaleva was born in Donetsk, Ukraine in 1988. Her family moved to Toronto when she was 8 years old. Her early years as a misfit began her painful struggle with mental health. As she struggled with self-acceptance, anxiety, and identity, Vironika found solace in words and music. She began writing lyrics and poetry in an attempt to express the tornado of emotions within her. She also began dabbling in various kinds of activism, trying to understand what was wrong with the society she couldn’t seem to fit into.
In her early twenties, Vironika’s suffering reached a pinnacle. In a haze of insomnia, drug use, and adrenal exhaustion, she became delusional and suicidal. This was her rock bottom. Instead of leading her into an early grave, this experience launched Vironika into what she later called a “spiritual awakening.” She began to question her thoughts, heal her past, and build a more loving relationship with herself. These experiences formed the basis of her first book, The Love Mindset, which won the Readers’ Favorite silver medal for Best Self-Help book of 2013.
Driven by an urge to spread light in the world, Vironika began to do life coaching, speaking, and writing in the personal growth field. She spoke about the importance of self-love, self-care, and authenticity. In self-help, Vironika thought she’d found the perfect line of work.
In 2014, Vironika and her partner, Jamie, sold all their things, left Toronto, and became digital nomads. While living in Costa Rica, Vironika created the 30 Day Self-Love Challenge program. She also launched The Real Us—a community blog where people share their real-life inspiring stories and poems about healing, courage, authenticity, and kindness.
Shortly after releasing her first book, Vironika began to write her second, which she intended to be a traditional self-help book about loving self-talk. But throughout the next few years, she began to see her work in a harsh, new light. She realized how often self-help perpetuated people’s suffering by selling them on quick fixes and “magical” solutions. She became aware of how many people were losing self-respect while trying to follow expert advice on how to build self-respect.
In these painful realizations, Vironika saw an opportunity for activism. She decided that her next book would not be a 10-step manual about self-talk. Instead, it would be a book that challenged the current practices in self-help and encouraged the people who were victims of those practices to trust themselves, build self-awareness, and discover their own answers (instead of always seeking expert advice). The Art of Talking to Yourself launched on June 17, 2017. Shortly after its release, Vironika announced that it would be her last self-help book.
Currently, Vironika is working on compiling a poetry anthology chronicling her journey over the last few decades. She also plans to publish some novels and share her music—both of which she’s quietly been working on since her teen years.
Apart from writing and reading, Vironika spends her days singing, playing guitar, doing yoga, exploring nature, going on adventures, and having long conversations. Thanks to housesitting and AirBnb, she is still a digital nomad. She often visits Toronto, which she has paradoxically realized is her favourite place in the world.