It can be really hard, can’t it? When you log onto social media, and feel instantly greeted by everybody’s perfect lives.

Social media is a collection of highlight reels – we know this. But sometimes it can still feel pretty difficult to navigate what’s actually real online, and what’s not. “Well, maybe they do just have it all? I’m sure SOME people really do live perfect lives… don’t they?”

This year in particular has brought up a ton of feelings for pretty much all of us. Some may be faced with exciting opportunities and growth, while others may be struggling to figure out which direction is up. That’s the thing about life – it’s different for all of us. We’re all unique, which puts us on our own journey, our own adventure, and our own page, of our own chapter, of our own book of life.

But before we get too far, let’s take a step back and recap what’s happened this year. Virtually overnight, the world changed in drastic ways that were outside of our control, and life as we knew it was completely stripped back. Most of us found ourselves spending more time at home, less time visiting our friends and family, and forced to slow down in at least one area of our lives. It was a huge shift – a pivot into a new reality. A change that we were unprepared for.

What happened this year was completely outside of our control, however, we all found ourselves with a role to play by staying home to keep everyone safe. But what you need to remember is that we all had our own lives going into this – we had our own likes and dislikes, wants and needs, goals and dreams, hobbies, initiatives, triggers, routines, and worlds. Suddenly being told that we weren’t able to do all of the things we once did is really, really tough to navigate – and something we all had to do for ourselves.

Also read: The Reason Why Your Mindset Matters

This brings us back to the comparison game. Whether we realize it or not, from time to time a lot of us are guilty for comparing our lives to what we see online. From how our bodies look, to our relationship status, to our careers, to our family, to the number of friends or followers we have, and everything else that life has to offer, we judge both ourselves and others, based off of nothing more than a snippet of life – a mere piece of the puzzle.

This year has been no exception.

The changes 2020 brought were pretty drastic, and a lot of us were left feeling vulnerable, lost, and confused. And since this was all so new, many of us found ourselves turning to social media to see how other people were spending their time. We saw people who are (presumably) thriving (ie: getting into the best shape of their lives, writing future bestsellers, starting a dream side hustle, learning a new skill, etc), only to ask ourselves “why can’t we be spending our time doing the same”.

But what we have to remember is that we can’t compare our lives to what we see online, especially during a global pandemic.

It’s okay if 2020 didn’t end up being the most productive year of your life. It’s okay if you’ve felt like you needed a little extra time to rest, to recharge, to move slowly as you processed life. Your worth is not tied to how much you accomplish, nor is it tied to what others accomplish.

Sometimes we’re super productive and eager to grow in countless areas of our lives, and sometimes we need to take things a little slower. Slower seasons of life do not represent failure, they’re not a sign of weakness, and they don’t mean that we’re less than, or that we’re not good enough. A slower season of life is nothing more than that – a season. A time in our lives that will one day be replaced with something a little more hectic and productive. It’s not something to feel bad or guilty about.

5 Things to Remember When You’re in a Slower Season of Life

1. We all grow at our own pace

Picture a garden filled with all of your favourite flowers – the different colours, smells, heights, etc – all different, but all perfect. A tulip will bloom in the spring, whereas a sunflower won’t bloom until the end of the summer, but we wouldn’t judge a sunflower for taking the time it needed. Sometimes, we’re the ones who are blooming and flourishing, but other times we’re the ones who are watching and cheering. And somehow we all come together in the end in this big, beautiful, garden of life.

2. Take time to actually process/work through what’s going on

Life loves to throw a ton of different things our way – the good, the bad, and everything in between. Sometimes when we’re right smack in the middle of things, and we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to feel the need to push all of our emotions and feelings as far away as possible so we can move forward as quickly as possible. But the fact of the matter is that you matter, and that includes how you’re feeling. Take a slower season of life as an opportunity to really check-in to see how you’re doing, what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, how to work through it, and what you need to move forward. This may look like journaling, meditating, long drives with the music blasting, or seeking a professional to talk to – it’s your journey, so do what works for you, simple as that.

3. Welcome the different seasons

Whether we like it or not, we’re constantly growing and changing, which means our needs are constantly growing and changing as well. What we need when we’re 16 won’t necessarily be the same that we need when we’re 26. Similarly, what we need when we’re single and living on our own won’t be the same that we need when we’re married with children. If we constantly held ourselves to the exact same standard, we’d never account for all of the changes that we face in any given day. What worked in the summer of 2019 when there wasn’t social distancing (and other) safety measures in place probably won’t work today because our lives are so vastly different. So instead of feeling guilty for the different seasons in our lives, what if we simply spent time figuring out what we need now, as opposed to trying to force what we needed in the past?

4. Trust yourself

Go deep down, past the surface, and trust yourself that you already know what you need. When you are tired, allow yourself time to rest. When you’re bored or stuck, welcome growth and new opportunities. Get so comfortable with trusting yourself and the timing of your own life that you’re not concerned with the timing of the lives of others. Never forget that you are right where you are supposed to be.

5. Love Yourself First

Your body is not broken, wrong, or weak for needing to slow down. Love yourself first because once you start to do all things out of love for yourself and love for others, everything else will start to feel much easier. Love yourself first to forgive yourself if you aren’t exactly where you thought you should be, to release any guilt for needing to slow down, and to take care of yourself in a way that works right now.

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