It’s been a transformative year for Justin Bieber.
However, multiple sources told PEOPLE at the time the star was “exhausted” and needed a break. Indeed, Bieber has stepped away from the spotlight since and focused on his spirituality and emotional health.
“Having the last year off has been life-changing for Justin. People made fun of him when he canceled his tour, but he really was overwhelmed and exhausted at that point,” says a source close to the “Sorry” singer.
Though he “loves performing and genuinely enjoys interacting with his fans,” constantly being followed around and working nonstop took its toll.
“He can’t handle being pulled at or having phones and cameras in his face all the time,” says the source. “That drives him crazy. Emotionally, he’s now in a much better place.”
Getting to a positive mindset has been a journey, and Bieber has been receiving guidance from Hillsong Church as well as his pastor Carl Lentz.
“He’s spent most of his time off with his church friends and pastors to work on himself,” says the source. “It’s helped him mend relationships that have fallen apart. He was always very close with his mom growing up, but things got tough for them … now she’s really proud of how far he’s come.”
“They continue to get guidance individually and as a couple from their pastors and are trying not to go down a toxic route again,” says the source about the duo, who first began dating in 2010.
This time around, “his relationship with Selena is really different,” adds the source. “They’re not putting pressure on themselves. They have both been through a lot since the last time they dated so they’re getting to know each other again.”
RELATED VIDEO: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez Head to Jamaica for His Father’s Wedding
When they first began hanging out again shortly after Gomez split from singer The Weeknd last fall, the media and fan scrutiny was intense — and they made a conscious effort to be more low-key.
“Things were crazy when they first reunited with all the attention,” says the source. Now, “they have quiet date nights, go to church together and hang out with their friends. They are serious about making things work this time.”
Gomez’s family and friends weren’t thrilled when she began spending time with her ex-boyfriend again, but now her loved ones are less worried.
Says the source: “Even their friends who thought they were crazy to get back together think they’ve been good for each other.”