Australia No Longer A Fun Place To Live, Says Sad New Survey
Some three-quarters of Aussies feel guilty when they're enjoying themselves, according to a new survey which says Australia simply isn't a fun country.
Only 40 percent of us have a good work-life balance, one in four Aussies say they need to spend more quality time with their families, and 45 percent yearn for days when their lives were simpler and more fun.
But it's the 5.6 out of 10 ranking we've given ourselves in terms of how fun we are as a country -- the average of more than 1300 responses to a YouGov Galaxy poll -- which has surprised many.
"It's a happy place, definitely!" one shocked man told 10 daily on the street in Sydney on Wednesday.
The poll of 1321 Australians, carried out in July by leading poll company YouGov Galaxy, was commissioned by Carnival Cruises and the Happiness Institute to "understand if Australia really is still a laid-back, fun-loving nation" or if "modern life impacted our ability to choose fun".
That's according to psychologist Dr Tim Sharp, who calls himself 'Dr Happy', with a focus on positive psychology. While Australia is often billed by its residents and visitors as a country of larrikins and knockabouts, the report's findings show something different.
"Contrary to popular stereotypes, the report highlights that the nation isn’t having as much fun as we’d expect, with respondents giving a mere 5.6 out of 10 ‘fun rating’," Sharp said.
Australians raised time, money, household chores, family commitments, work and long commutes as the main barriers to them having fun. Despite 53 percent of people agreeing that "life is only fun if you make it that way", some 20 percent of people said their choice to waste too much time on mobile devices and electronics was a key reason they didn't have time for leisure activities.
Three out of four people said they felt guilty while having fun, battling nagging feelings that they should be doing something like chores, cleaning or household tasks instead of enjoying themselves.
A quarter of people said they spent time with family "rarely" or "not often enough". Conversely, another quarter raised family obligations -- like caring for kids or older relatives -- as a reason standing in the way of their fun.
"Australians have forgotten how to have fun," Sharp said simply.
"It’s not that we’re not fun people, but more so that with life getting busier and busier, we’re not making time for it."
Some 40 percent of people said they were left feeling burnt out and exhausted from everyday life; one-third put their lack of fun down to long or stressful work hours; while 16 percent laid the blame on long commutes.
Just last month, the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey found that our commute times were on the rise -- and quickly.
"On average, [Australians] had a commuting time of around 3.7 hours per week in 2002, and now we're up to four and a half hours a week," Melbourne University's Dr Inga Lass said.
The report showed people in mainland capital cities have the longest commutes, an average of 66 minutes a day to and from work. Sydney lead at 71 minutes a day.
With property prices still on the way up, more people are having to move out to the suburbs and further afield -- potentially putting further distances between them and the things they like to do for fun, like escape to the beach or country, visit shopping malls or movies, spend time at bars and restaurants, or meet family and friends.
"It's the money, family commitments and all that," one woman told 10 daily of the reasons why she sometimes didn't have time to have fun.
"But that's no matter where you live... you can't blame that on Australia," she added, also shocked that Aussies had such a low opinion of ourselves.
The HILDA report also found more people were reporting mental health issues like depression and anxiety, that household wages weren't going up, and young people were being forced to live at home with their parents for longer than before.
"I think it's how you balance it," one man told 10 daily.
"How you make the most of your time outside of work. That's subjective. It's completely how you make it."