Binda Kanayalkar had a corporate life for more than 3 decades working with ExxonMobil. However, she decided to take early retirement in 2010 instead of relocating to Bangalore. Since then she has been an active member of her community through service work, social activities, and consulting.
She started her own company WaW-Wellness at Work, where she is a one woman army. She has been conducting programs and workshops for corporates, small groups, and one-on-one to help with occupational wellness, and mental wellbeing. Plus she works as a professional Human Resource consultant and advisor for small and medium entrepreneurs on wellness at work, employee engagement, and learning engagement. Companies know that mental health affects work performance, so even when companies had employees working from home they reached out to her to conduct sessions for the employees on how to live life to their fullest, deal with anxiety, and the importance of ergonomics.
While Binda spends a lot of time consulting, she makes sure to maintain a balanced life and pursue her passions. In her free time now Binda likes to do arts and crafts like painting as well as reach out to assist NGOs by way of community service.
“I always loved doing these things but didn't have the kind of time when I was working. You want to, but you are stretching yourself.”
So Binda took early retirement to have more time to travel and focus on things she loves to do. She is passionate about Yoga and has been associated with her Yoga Community for over 27 years now. She is a regular practitioner and a Trustee of the Shri Ambika Yoga Seva Kendra, Kelve Road, Palghar District on the outskirts of Mumbai. The Institution has a small Ashram (retreat center), where they provide regular weekly medical aid to the local villagers and free education to the underprivileged children. She, at times, helps to train teachers and do programs for these children around safety and health or enjoys celebrations with them.
Binda first heard about GetSetUp through a close family friend.
“I loved the idea of GetSetUp because after my early retirement, I dedicated the first year to working with the youth and seniors - working closely with educational institutions and the community. I wanted to reach out to these segments because they do not get attention and tend to slide into loneliness and isolation. When this opportunity came to me, I thought this is great! This would certainly make it easier for me to help reach out to the community, the whole objective and the idea is something that I always wanted to do.”
GetSetUp India was launched 2 weeks ago with Binda as one of the Guides leading learners on discovery learning journeys.
“So far it is going well. We are getting participants and repeat participants who look forward to coming again and again. The fact they are coming again and again directly speaks that they are liking it. This is a welcome initiative for this age group.”
Currently GetSetUp is working with seniors 60+ but for many in that age bracket they don’t have access to tech or they depend on children to help them log in and connect.
“We also have non-English speaking elders who are just comfortable in local languages. I hope in the future we can offer classes in some regional languages or a combination of regional and English.”
Binda thinks languages are important as a form of connection, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai where her neighbors are all from different regions. She speaks a number of languages herself including Marathi, Hindi, English, Punjabi, and some Bengali and Gujarati. She feels this blend and mix is worth celebrating and revels in the connection and cultural events that she can participate in or volunteer with.
Binda believes that wellness starts with the individual.
“You need to be happy and you choose to be happy. No one else can choose to make you happy. External things are time bound and they will come and go. You have to appreciate the little things - even a hot cup of coffee can make me happy or watching the birds fly by my window is a joy in itself. Those are the moments that can make you happy and you don't have to look for them because they come from within.”
Individuals that do not feel good with themselves can’t truly be present with others and feel good. She tries to reach out to people who would want to help themselves and work towards their mental and physical wellbeing.
“I have to personally start within me. That requires self-reflection, self-awareness, self-love and improving self-image. When you start accepting and respecting yourself for whatever you are, life is enjoyable. You have to focus on yourself first, we forget that as we try to be a perfect wife, mother or employee. You choose to be happy. Once you are happy about yourself then share that with the others.”
That focus on sharing her experience and knowledge with others is why Binda enjoys facilitating these classes that help others to deal with anxiety and stress related things. She is passionate about wellness and enjoys anything related to mental and physical health. She offers classes on GetSetUp India like Healthy Lifestyle with Yoga, Social Hour- Meditating Together, Mandala Art and Easy Rangoli, Improv: Creativity and Laughter, and Managing and Handling Stress.
Binda thinks her purpose is to share the knowledge she has gained and continues to learn.
“I’m a learner forever. I am hungry to know more. What little I know I want to share with people and if I can make a difference to someone then I am willing to do that. That has been my way to go forward and continue.”
Make ‘me time’ for yourself at least an hour a day to do what you love be it reading, walking, cooking or join a GetSetUp class and learn from Binda or other great Guides, skills to help your wellness. Join the community!
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