Challenging the age-old stereotype of the fun-loving Aussie larrikin, new research from Carnival Cruise Line in conjunction with The Happiness Institute reveals the nation is in a fun crisis.
The 2019 Fun Report reveals Australians are no longer letting the good times roll:
- Aussies give the country a mere 5.6/10 ‘Fun rating’
- 3 in 4 Aussies feel guilty when they have fun
- Only 4 in 10 Aussies say they try to find a balance between work and play
But were we more ‘fun’ in the past? Yes, according to many Australians, with almost half of respondents stating that life used to be more enjoyable in the past, when life was simpler.
Aussies reported a handful of major barriers impacting their ability to have fun, predominantly not having enough money to enjoy themselves (56%), followed by feeling burnt out or exhausted from not having a holiday in a while (39%) and tied down with chores (39%).
Lacking connections with loved ones is another pain point, with more than a quarter of Australians (27%) stating they aren’t spending enough quality time with their family, if any at all.
Dr Tim Sharp, aka ‘Dr Happy’, from The Happiness Institute and co-author of the report, is at the forefront of the positive psychology movement, and said it appears the nation is in a fun crisis.
“Plain and simple, Aussies have forgotten how to have fun. With people’s lives getting busier and busier, Australian families aren’t prioritising having fun or spending time with each other, and when they do enjoy themselves, they feel exceptionally guilty about it. Regardless of who’s to blame, all this signposts that something is out of balance in our lives.”
Times are tough on parents in particular, with research highlighting:
- An overwhelming majority of parents feel guilty when having fun (84%)
- Parents report more barriers to having fun than non-parents, including: everyday chores (50% compared to 35%), feeling burnt out (44% compared to 37%), lack of time generally (44% compared to 33%) and family commitments and responsibilities (41% compared to 20%)
- Parents are also more likely to say that they only have fun while on holiday
Parents aren’t alone. Almost two thirds (63%) of Australians believe that there is so much pressure on children and young people these days, between school and extracurricular activities, they no longer have time for fun.
Dr Happy said Australians should consider how moments of fun can have a positive impact on overall health, happiness and wellbeing for all family members.
“There are so many benefits to letting your hair down at no matter what age – it’s great for your mental wellbeing and it’s proven to enhance productivity. Doing an activity you enjoy or getting away on holiday is a terrific way to get some good times back in your life. For kids specifically, fun and playtime is especially important for cognitive growth.”
While Australians aren’t prioritising having fun, they do agree on its benefits:
- Three quarters of Australians feel having fun helps you relax and de-stress (77%)
- 3 in 4 state that fun improves your mental health (73%)
- Two thirds of Australians believe fun promotes a positive attitude (65%)
- 3 in 5 Aussies feel that fun is a good distraction from day-to-day pressures (62%)
And more good news? Australians still know how to have fun. In fact, Aussies reported that the number one activity they’d find the most fun would be taking a holiday.
Dr Happy concluded: “I would encourage everyone to plan opportunities for fun in their lives – it doesn’t have to break the bank or be extravagant, it can be as simple as taking the kids to the park with a football. Change your mindset to prioritising fun, and you’ll reap many of the rewards.”
Here are Dr Happy’s tips for getting some fun in your life
- Always have something in the diary to look forward to – whether it be a family holiday, or a weekend away
- Allocate separate time for chores and personal or family time
- Schedule in some quality ‘family time’ once a week
- Do something different with friends or family to break out of your comfort zone
Jennifer Vandekreeke, Vice President Carnival Cruise Line Australia, said: “In today’s hectic world, having fun is more important than ever. That’s why Carnival delivers a great value holiday experience that is fun from beginning to end.
“With the arrival of the ultimate FUN ship in December, Carnival Splendor, we’ll be taking this to a whole new level. Guests can leave those nagging worries and boring chores on land and re-fun themselves with days of endless good times shared with family and friends.”
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