Off Air: Jo-Ann Roberts

Keep the change, I need the rest. Why a vacation is important.

Jo-Ann Roberts is an award winning, veteran journalist who is host of CBC Radio’s All Points West. She's married to Ken Kelly and they have four children.

When you read this I will be on vacation.

It’s long overdue. Not that I haven’t had time off from work. I’ve had lots of that. But, I haven’t had a vacation, a rest. They say “a change is as good as a rest.” I’m not buying that any more. Keep the change, I need the rest.

I don’t know if it is just me, or if this is common for women like me, but it seems I have a hard time stopping, or finding a way to let others know I need to stop. I can’t really blame other people here, because I am my own worst enemy.

Let me give you an example, so you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about. I had almost two weeks off work at Christmas, I was excited because our three daughters, our son and his wife were all coming home. There were presents to buy and wrap, the house to decorate, food to make and beds to change. I decided since our son was heading to his wife’s family’s home on Christmas Eve we would have a full Christmas dinner on the 23rd and then we’d have another one on the 25th. (What was I thinking?) Before returning to work in the New Year we also squeezed in a trip to see family on the mainland and a brief excursion to Seattle. I went back to work to recover.

I have trouble saying no. I was raised to put others’ needs before my own and it makes me happy to make other people happy. But, as a wise therapist once said to me, “Jo-Ann, you’re not going to be able to look after anyone’s needs if you don’t stop once in a while and look after your own.” It’s good advice. I am also of a generation of women who were told not only could we “have” it all, but we could “do” it all. It took me a long time to realize that maybe it didn’t all have to be at the same time.

I feel guilty having a nap. There’s always something that needs to be done. I worry if I stop, I’ll never start again. My only escape sometimes is to read a book and usually I can justify that because it’s for work or my book club. I have been known to have a glass of wine, so I’ll have an excuse not to drive somewhere, even if it’s to get groceries. But, more often than not I don’t have the glass of wine, just in case I need to go to the grocery store for extra ingredients.

So, this year, I’m on holidays, resting, reading whatever I like, having one or two glasses of wine. I deserve it. (If I keep saying it I’m bound to believe it.) I hope you get a chance to do the same.

Jo-Ann Roberts is an award-winning, veteran journalist who is host of CBC Radio’s All Points West, 3-6 pm weekday afternoons, 90.5 fm. Married to Ken Kelly, they have four children.

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