PLN Portfolio

As our world changes, technology and social media have become inconceivably important. We have developed abilities to connect worldwide with taps of our fingertips. As we continue to go in this direction, networking is becoming more and more important. Networking isn’t only useful for getting jobs, but allows us to connect with like-minded individuals to further our learning and share our own expertise. A PLN (personal learning network) is personal; you can create, design, and adapt it to fit whatever YOU want. A PLN involves learning; you can share knowledge, resources, really just about anything you want or need. A PLN is a network; you can connect with anyone anywhere in the world with any academic or professional background to expand your knowledge in any way you’d like. A PLN provides opportunities to learn, share, and grow. It empowers students to take control of their education and pursue what interests them. It also allows driven students to connect with each other and learn/work together. In my first IDS class, my PLN was exclusively through my use of Twitter. I used it in a rigid and diligent way. This semester, I decided to let go a little bit, and be a little bit more fluid. I used Twitter, LinkedIn, and even found myself using the Instagram page I created for my applied project. In the past, I thought as the PLN as a school assignment, but this semester I used it more as a tool for myself (not just for class). Through Twitter, I connected with fellow IDS students, through LinkedIn, I connected with professionals in my field and in fields I’m interested in pursuing, and through Instagram I connected with a much wider audience (all the way from family/friends to yoga clothing brands). I learned through experience that a PLN doesn’t have rules to follow; you can cater it to what you want to do and your needs. I learned to do what seemed to speak to me. I didn’t want to do random tweets if it didn’t feel right anymore just to get something out there, if I wasn’t feeling it one day, I wouldn’t engage on my Instagram page. If I felt drawn to use LinkedIn instead of Twitter one week, I would do that and skip tweeting that week. By approaching the PLN this way, I was able to connect with others on multiple social media sites.

On LinkedIn, I was able to market myself and share some of my accomplishments, as well as find people in the field I am interested in. I reached out to some of these people and businesses, but unfortunately, I have not heard back from them. I was, however, able to share some accomplishments and find potential jobs.

On Twitter, I engaged with our IDS family. I wanted to maintain interaction with this network throughout the semester to share what I study, my thoughts, etc.

Putting together some Twitter activity for my IDSSem course! ⚡️ “IDSSem Twitter”— amanda downs (@shmaaands) April 23, 2019

On Instagram, I engaged with a larger population. I shared with family and friends as well as strangers as my page grew. I was able to find people running accounts with interests similar to mine, and I was able to get people to engage with my posts about health and wellness. I even connected with a fitness clothing company who wanted me to be a sponsor for them.

Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands
Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands

Overall, my more adaptive use of the PLN this semester allowed me to engage with a larger audience of people. Not only did I network with students and faculty within our program, but I networked with other academics/professional and even the wide world of Instagram. I believe that my use of the PLN this semester was more useful to me on a personal level, and still has potential for helping me on a professional level.

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IDSSem Summary Synthesis

It has been a long journey over the past four years. I’ve transferred schools, spent time abroad, and changed my major more times than I can even remember, but I’m happy with my final product; my Bachelor of Science in Promotion of Wellness and Healthy Living.

Coming into IDS, I wanted to gain expertise in health science as well as communications, to be able to guide large populations in living healthy lives. I wanted to take my knowledge of health science and be able to share it in ways that everyone can understand. However, as my personal and academic journey continued, I have continually found myself being pulled into the world of holistic health. I am intrigued by things like subtle energies, energy healing, and the relationship between mind, body and spirit (especially in regards to health). This is why I went from “Communication and Media for Wellness and Exercise” to “Promotion of Wellness and Healthy Living”. I integrated courses in the PSU PATH program to get a more holistic point of view on health. So not only have I studied exercise science and nutrition, I have studied spirituality and Eastern approaches to health which focus on the mind-body connection. Throw in some communication and marketing courses, and I rounded out my major. With my education, I have become in expert in sharing and promoting holistic approaches to wellness and healthy living.

For my applied project, I decided to create an Instagram page focusing on health and wellness. I wanted to do this because I believe social media is an incredible tool that could be hugely beneficial to wellness promotion. I didn’t want to pose as one of those “Instagram fitness models”; I wanted to be honest and down to earth in my approach. Instead of sharing posed, photoshopped photos like we see all over Instagram, I wanted to share videos of myself working on handstands in yoga (including the many falls), recipes that are reasonable for college students, etc. Social media can be a great tool for health promotion, but I feel as though sometimes it is done in vain with unrealistic approaches, photoshopped abs, etc. I learned a lot from this project. I now understand why social media is a full-time job for some people. It was a lot more difficult and time-consuming than I expected, and I have much more respect for people who are able to get “Insta-famous”. I learned through trial and error how to get more engagement and reach more people through social media.

Via Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands

For my research assignment, I wanted to pursue a topic within integrative medicine. I decided to do research on the integration of Reiki healing in clinical settings. In my paper, I explained in depth what Reiki is including its history, theory, training, and practice. I then discussed where it is being used in clinical settings, who is receiving it as part of clinical treatment, why this is being done, etc. I discussed articles by medical professionals who are integrating Reiki in their own practice and share some of my discussion with a local Reiki master and registered nurse. I then discussed mind-body connection with health and healing through thought/belief. Overall, I focused on how and why we should integrate Eastern and Western methods, and how non-invasive therapies can complement traditional care. From my research, I gained a deeper understanding of Reiki (which is something I am interested in pursuing), and gained a deeper appreciation for the integration of Eastern and Western methods. As someone interested in pursuing a career in integrative medicine, my research assignment allowed me to learn more about what is being done in the field I would like to go into.

Building my education and figuring out what I would like to do after college has been a long, hard process that is still ongoing. However, as things have unfolded and as I have let the universe guide me, I have slowly figured out what truly interests me and what I am passionate about. I want to promote holistic and integrative approaches to health. I want to help masses of people lead healthy lives in regard to mind, body, and spirit. Interdisciplinary Studies has allowed me to learn about holistic and integrative health, and how I can guide others in living healthy lives. I have been able to gain a scientific understanding of the human body, study many aspects of health from exercise and nutrition to spiritual health, and learn the skills to effectively communicate with others to promote healthy living. My research assignment allowed me to study an example of integrative medicine in depth, and my applied project has allowed me to experiment with social media promotion and learn from my mistakes. Overall, I have been able to study many disciplines and aspects of health to gain a holistic understanding, while learning how to share my knowledge with other people to make our world healthier.

Me taking a break from my stress (emotional wellness) to go hiking (physical wellness) with people I love (social wellness), out in nature (environmental wellness), while connecting with my divine feminine energy (spiritual wellness)
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IDSSem Research Article- Integration of Eastern and Western Methods: Reiki in Clinical Practice

There is no such thing as a perfect approach to health; no one way to cure disease, no one way to workout or eat healthfully, no magical pill to achieve perfect health. However, combining Eastern and Western approaches to health could improve our health system and overall levels of wellness nationally. Western methods know the human body down to each and every cell; these methods rely on science through deduction, and rely on surgery, man-made science-based medicine, etc. Eastern methods, on the other hand, focus less on the scientific method and instead on tradition, unseen energy, and the entire universe (Tsuei). I truly believe that the understanding we’ve achieved of science and medicine in the Western world is nothing short of extraordinary, but what if we focused on more natural and holistic approaches? What if we took what has been practiced in the East for thousands and thousands of years and used it along with Western medicine? As Eastern healing methods such as Reiki have gained popularity in the Western world, some hospitals, hospice centers, etc. have begun to test the waters with an integrated approach to medicine by integrating Reiki healing into clinical practice. I decided to pursue this topic because I think it is a great start towards adopting a more integrative healthcare approach here in the US. Throughout my work, it is my goal to explain the interdisciplinarity of integrative medicine, discuss the background of Reiki, delve into the process of using it in clinical settings as well as the effects that have been seen, then talk about the future of integrative medicine as well as how we can use it in our own lives.

To read the full article use the following link. As always, feel free to share and/or comment!

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AP Reflection

To be completely honest, I’ve actually struggled with my applied project more than I thought I would have. It has been frustrating at times and things haven’t always gone as well as I thought they would, but I definitely have learned through it and through my mistakes.

I started an Instagram page (@wellnessbyshmands), for my applied project, hoping to share with the world about healthy and holistic living. I wanted to share about all aspects of health and wellness with raw honesty. I didn’t wanna pose as an “Instagram fitness model” with a perfect body and perfect life. I wanted to be real with my followers. For example, I recently made a post of myself practicing yoga (headstands in particular) including all the mess ups and falls because it takes practice and we don’t go into things like yoga already being great at them.

Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands

I want to promote going out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself; allowing yourself to make mistakes but keep going. I wanted to reach people and let them know that being healthy does not mean being perfect. I still treat myself to donuts sometimes, I don’t have a great workout every day, etc.

I also wanted to share about self-love and the spiritual side of health. I think spirituality is something we all ponder but don’t really understand. I know a lot of people want to be more spiritual but don’t want to just hop into a new religion. I share about my own spirituality and share examples of what integrating spirituality into real life can be like. I share practices, quotes, explain concepts from the Eastern world, etc. For example, I created a post sharing about my spiritual full moon rituals.

Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands

With this AP, I wanted to share about health and wellness in a more personable way. For example, when I shared a recipe on my page, I did it from a college student point of view understanding that a lot of my audience doesn’t have all the kitchen tools in the world and such. I also talked about how it is okay to make mistakes when cooking, and that it is more about enjoying healthy food with those you love.

Instagram: wellnessbyshmands

I wanted to connect with others to continue networking, and I didn’t have any set goals for followers and such but I do hope to get to 100 followers (I’m currently at 95 and have started to grow more). I knew I wasn’t going to get “instagram famous” in a matter of months, but I was disappointed with the lack of engagement throughout certain points in my work. My personal instagram has over 1,000 followers and I typically get over 200 likes and plenty of comments per post, so it was frustrating starting from scratch with no followers and not many likes. It was definitely discouraging at times.

Some posts and engagement attempts went well, but others not so much. For example, I did a “chakra week” theme where I posted about each of the 7 major chakras of the human body for a week, and that got almost no engagement. I did, however, learn from my mistakes. I realized I dragged it out way too long and could have made it a single post that would have been more interesting and would have left more time to talk about other aspects of wellness.

Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands

I wouldn’t say I failed this aspect because I learned from it. Some posts went well and got a good amount of traffic for such a new account, others didn’t go well at all. I also learned a lot about how to get more engagement out of posts. People like photos of people more than graphics, etc. for this kind of page. It also is important to use hashtags and ask engaging questions so people are more likely to comment and such. Luckily, I did connect with a lot of health and lifestyle accounts. Just now while writing this I realized that tagging some of these accounts in my posts can be a great way to get more engagement and reach a bigger audience. Overall, I have both succeeded and fails at times with this project; which I both expected but was surprised by. I still have more work I want to put into this and have more to do, but I have learned a lot throughout this process, shared all about healthy living, and connected with other like-minded people.

Instagram: @wellnessbyshmands

UPDATE 4/24/19: As of today I have reached my goal of 100 followers!

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Acupressure Self-Care

I’m sure almost all of you have heard about acupuncture, where a practitioner sticks tiny needles at certain points of your body for healing. I wanted to share with you all about acupressure, which is a similar practice without the needles that you can use on yourself for pain relief or incorporate into your daily routine as a preventative. 

To understand how these modalities work it is important to understand subtle human energy. This is energy that affects our health and wellbeing; it cannot be seen or measured but can at times be felt. Meridians are essentially rivers of energy flowing through our bodies; there are 12 main ones, 11 of which cross a major organ and are named after such, and the 12th is called the triple warmer which is kind of like a master meridian. Six of the meridians are partnered with yin energy, which is feminine energy, the other six are partnered with yang energy, which is masculine. When there are imbalances, blockages, or slowing of this energy, things like pain and disease can arise. Acupuncture and acupressure stimulate certain points along the meridians to restore balance and keep energy flowing. 

To practice acupressure, apply pressure in a gentle but firm way between 40 seconds to 3 minutes. Make sure you are centered and breathing deeply. There might be slight discomfort but you shouldn’t feel pain!

Here are 5 acupressure techniques to try.

He Gu- Fleshy part between thumb and pointer finger. Apply pressure with thumb and pointer finger like a gentle pinch. Helps with headaches, neck pain, painful periods, stomach pain, toothaches, stress. Warning: can induce labor in pregnant women.

Tai Chong- Soft fleshy area between the bones of the big toe and 2nd toe. Apply pressure with middle finger. Good for stress relief, low back pain, menstrual cramps, depression, anxiety, insomnia. Liver meridian.

Regelmatig je voeten laten masseren is een super gezonde ...

Nei Guan- About 2 inches down from the wrist crease between 2 large tendons. Apply pressure with middle finger. Helps nausea, chest tension due to stress or anxiety and hiccups.

frequent vomiting - Advice

Yin Tang- This point is located just between the eyebrows at your third eye. Apply pressure with your middle finger. It’s a great point for stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and sinus congestion.

Dan Zhong- Near your heart center just below the middle of the sternum. Press with your middle finger. Helps restore a sense of calm and relieves anxiety, nervousness, depression, hysteria and other emotional imbalances. It also helps boost the immune system.
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