On 12 May this year, I had the pleasure of attending the Primary Care and Public Health event at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. I was able to attend a number of interesting and varied talks on a range of midwifery related topics and also to browse the stalls at the exhibition and speak with several people from charities such as Positive About Down Syndrome and CMV Action and organisations including Public Health England.
I greatly enjoyed my time at the event. The talks I heard were informative and thought provoking. They included an exploration of the biomechanics behind birth and the prevention of obstetric anal sphincter injuries and a discussion on the importance of supporting fathers' perinatal mental health, as well as mothers'. As I was travelling back home, it struck me how much the change from my usual routine had boosted my mood. A week later, I attended the Biomedical Science Career's Fair at St George's University, to speak to the students about my experiences as an editor of healthcare journals. Once again, the departure from my usual day-to-day activities sparked a positive mindset and reinvigorated me for the return to my normal routine the following week.
Routine is an important part of our lives. There are many benefits to having a regular routine, including reducing stress, improving sleep and boosting mental health and stability (Arlinghaus and Johnston, 2019; Northwestern Medicine, 2022). Over the course of the pandemic, a lot of attention was given to the importance of developing and sticking to routines, particularly for children and families, to help people cope with the effects of the jarring changes that the pandemic wrought (Cherry, 2020).
However, in many ways, taking breaks from a routine can be just as important for your health, both physical and mental. A study conducted by Kuoni and Nuffield Health (2013) reported that breaking the work routine by going on holiday improved resilience to stress and sleep patterns, as well as blood pressure.
So overall, it's not surprising that taking the time to attend events recently was a positive step for me. As well as the opportunity to network and talk to researchers, midwives and subscribers to our journal, it also gave me a mental boost, breaking my usual routine and giving me the chance to reset. I'd encourage all our readers to change up their usual routine when they can, whether by going for a walk or attending a conference, the positive effects will be felt.