O’Donnell: IC loneliness, do you


A.J.K O'Donnell, [email protected]

Late one evening last week I sat alone on a cracking, sidewalk curb. Peering up at the green lush of summer oaks fading into spirals of auburn majesty, autumn’s presence is slowly heralding itself throughout the atmosphere.

For many people, a shift in season is accompanied by a transition of psychological, physiological, and emotional experiences. Days brimming with less sunlight, breezes of frost and flurries, through beautiful processes of seasonal progression, can bring a palpable experience of loneliness. In an almost poetic sense, our bodies feel as hollow and silent as the night sky during these colder weeks. Throughout the subsequent months, it is vitally important that we translated this physical display of loneliness in nature in a healthy and mindful manner.

Dormant living can feel stifling and cause a sense of dread when engaging in daily life. Coursework, making lectures on time, and mundane movement throughout your day leaves a hefty burden on an already weary body. Many might find refuge in what some call “cuffing season.” This is the time which individuals seek the need to entertain a relationship during the winter months in an effort to combat feelings of loneliness and singularity. While for some this practice may prove beneficial, others maybe in search of more substantial, long-term relationships. Whether you are entering the upcoming seasons with a partner, solo, or with a close group of friends, it is important to maintain interpersonal relationships, and not succumb to the loneliness of continued solitude.

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of “lonely” weather and atmospheres is being apart from individuals, homes, or places of great importance to your heart. Continuing to speak with those who encourage, build, and enrich your soul is essential to surviving the cold times. I would encourage you to allow yourself spaces of self-care, authentic appreciation, and places which validate and continue nourishing your very being.

The melancholy silence of fall and winter nights is not always as frightening as it may seem. While I would consider myself a lover of these seasons, I have often found myself needing to sit near someone and feel the warmth of another’s energy. Humanity is a very fickle, yet powerful, entity. We must understand there is no shame in seeking and needing comfort or escapes from loneliness. A designated “cuddle buddy,” warm showers, candlelight, hot chocolate, and other modes of comfort are all aspects of surviving lonely season.

If it is an activity that allows you to feel safe, secure, and stable, then by all means, perform these activities throughout the rest of the year. It is important for us to cherish one another and work to make sure everyone feels validated during a period known for lonely symptoms.

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