My thoughts at the moment seem scattered. In fact, I think what’s happening right now may lead a lot of us to feel a bit scattered and uncertain. How are any of us supposed to have clarity given what has happened and is happening around us?

While our individual challenges may look a little different, over the past few months we – as a global community – have faced fires, floods, deaths of icons, wars, changes in climate, disease and viruses already existing in countries around the world – and now a global pandemic with COVID-19.

These moments in life are what should truly define us as a global community. As a species, have we lost our way? Have we prioritised unimportant agendas, objects and behaviours?

Are we, in fact, slowly diminishing the beauty of Mother Nature and the happiness and well-being of our people blessed to be given a chance to flourish on Earth?

I’m not an expert and will not claim to be. All I have is my values, beliefs and my own set of life experiences – something that we can all relate to.

Now is a time for us to re-evaluate the things we hold important as a society, and the decisions we make that affect each other and the earth. Now is a time we can check in with ourselves, and those around us. Now is an opportunity to remove the stigma attached to mental health, address the actions we make that impact nature, and adjust decisions and behaviours that affect those both close to us and afar.

We can define what happens on Earth; we all have choices we can make. We can create a new order of priority: we can put nature and the happiness, health and well-being of ourselves and others first. This is a time where we can create new rules, and all exist together on Earth in a more pure and natural way.

It’s time to reconnect. Let’s come together. Let’s protect those vulnerable from a mental health standpoint with openness. Let’s protect the physically vulnerable by making the right choices in the days and months ahead.

Draw on past inspirations and view the challenges we have ahead as an opportunity to enact change. We can all take time for ourselves and those around us during these times indoors. This is a chance to check in on our mental health, strengthen human-to-human connection – even if virtually – and work on our connection to Mother Nature while she takes a break from our demands and tries to recover.

We can all draw on past experiences in our lives to find inspiration. We can find inspiration in this present moment. For me, my inspiration has come from the passing of my partner. There isn’t a minute, hour, day, week or month that goes by where I don’t miss her. I wish she was here during these challenging times. I wish she was here as she saw how we were moving forwards in this world, and how her pure connection to the world, nature, and people could have inspired all of us to make changes.

While going through the personal pain and grief of losing my partner, we shortly thereafter as a community also suffered the loss of Kobe Bryant. Working through these combined experiences, and there different impacts on my own life, inspired me to draw an analogy to basketball – a coping mechanism to survive in the face of challenge, grief, adversity or vulnerability.

The idea is simple: in basketball, the success of the team and any individual on that team can be defined, nurtured and controlled by the ‘starting-five’ players. We can only be as strong and successful as those around us and we can only shine bright and reach our utmost potential by working together. I created a starting-five support group around me. Such examples of my starting-five at any point include family, friends, professionals, meditation, gratitude journals, reading, exercise, self-growth, and openness to my emotions and vulnerabilities. These all play vital parts in working through my recovery.

Create your own starting-five. These can be people or practices to help you remain strong, remain the superstar in your own life, and help your star to continue shining brightly. My starting-five has changed over time, as I’m sure yours will too. I found it to be a great starting point and it is something I reflect on daily.

And finally – what are your inspirations? Draw on them, take time to connect with yourself by doing what it is that helps you connect with your emotions and improve your well-being. Help others around you by keeping in contact and sharing what it is that you’re doing. If you have a self-care checklist, share it – while not all items on there will work for others, some may.

Share your beauty, vulnerabilities, kindness, selflessness, and openness. Let’s be there for ourselves and each other!

Written by Paul Elderkin