Australia is known around the world for its beautiful beaches, constant sunshine and warm climate. As a result, it can be easy to forget that, depending on where you live, winter in Australia can get seriously chilly!
We’ve all been there in winter, stuck in bed, binging shows on Netflix surrounded by a steadily growing mountain of tissues. To help you keep your health in check during the cold months, here are five tips for staying healthy this winter.
Get your flu shot
As mentioned above, Australia’s flu season is particularly nasty this year. Fortunately, a flu shot can help protect you from the flu, and it’s easy to access in Australia.
There are a number of reasons why you should get a flu shot this winter:
- It can help protect you from catching the flu in the first place, which also helps you avoid nasty complications of the flu.
- If you do catch the flu, the flu vaccine will likely reduce the severity of your illness (e.g. decrease your chances of being hospitalised).
- Getting a flu vaccine can help protect vulnerable people in the community who are at a high risk of complications or death if they catch the flu, such as young children or the elderly.
You can get a flu shot from most pharmacies or general practitioners (GPs). However, it’s important to note you may need to pay a fee to get your flu shot; if you’re unsure, you can always call ahead to ask. Search for your closest flu vaccine provider here.
Prepare healthy meals (while staying within your budget)
Trying to eat healthy when money’s tight can be a bit of a challenge. After all, it’s easier to hop onto Uber Eats than it is to step into the kitchen and channel your inner Gordon Ramsay. However, you don’t have to break your budget or be a world-class chef to make simple meals that can help boost your immune system. Cooking at home is an easy way to keep healthy – sometimes you just need a bit of foodie inspiration!
Some of the easiest and tastiest meal ideas include:
- Hearty stovetop shakshuka (a vegetarian-friendly dish of baked eggs dish in a rich tomato sauce)
- Chicken thighs with spiced jerk seasoning served with pineapple and mint salsa
- Healthy pasta carbonara
- French-style vegetable and lentil soup (vegetarian and vegan-friendly)
Ensure you have the right health cover
No one ever plans to use their health cover, but if you have a medical emergency or need medical attention, it can be a huge relief to know you’re covered as medical expenses can become expensive when you don’t have cover. It’s also important to remember that anyone living in Australia on a student visa is required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entirety of their stay, or Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) if you’re on a Temporary Graduate visa. So, not only is the correct health cover important for your peace of mind but it’s also vital for meeting your visa requirements.
Look into what your health cover provider offers, as there might be some handy services that can make your life easier during the winter months. For example, Bupa OSHC members can access Blua^, where you can see an Australian registered doctor via online video call, with 100 per cent of costs covered^. If you’re feeling unwell in the middle of the night, don’t want to leave the comfort of your heater for an in-person appointment, or don’t have a car or Aussie license to drive to a GP (in Australia a local doctor is often called a GP, which is short for General Practitioner), access to telehealth can be an incredible benefit.
Getting a good night’s rest is an often-underrated aspect of staying healthy. Sleep is important to our overall health and wellbeing for several reasons:
- It helps our bodies to recover and repair
- Sleep supports brain development
- It improves our memory and our mood
- It helps our cardiac function and metabolism
Without enough sleep, our health can start to nosedive. We may have problems with concentration, memory, mood regulation and much more.
If you are having issues with your sleep, try a few of the following things:
- Avoid using electronic screens in your bedroom
- Try not to have any caffeine after 2 pm
- Exercise during the day
- Establish a realistic bedtime and stick to it – even on weekends
Look after your mental health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. That’s why it’s essential to focus on it during winter in Australia. Plus, many education providers around the country have their exam period during the winter months, meaning you could be experiencing extra stress during this time, too.
Take active steps to stay mentally healthy, some of which might include but are not limited to:
- Exercise – Even if it’s only a short walk, exercising can help release endorphins in the body and boost your mood.
- Eat healthy foods – Good nutrition has been linked to better mental health outcomes, while a poor diet has been associated with a greater risk of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
- Talk to a close friend or family member – Lean on the people in your support network by telling them about any struggles you might be experiencing. Getting your challenges off your chest can be extremely helpful.
Building a few simple wellbeing steps into your regular routine, particularly around your study schedule, could help you flourish.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need to speak to someone, there are many services in Australia you can consult as a starting point to get some help. Some excellent examples are:
- Lifeline – call 13 11 14 or chat online
- Beyond Blue – call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
- Kids Helpline (available for young people up to the age of 25) – call 1800 55 1800
Looking for health cover to meet your visa requirements for Australia? Get a quote from Bupa!
Why choose Bupa:
Bupa is Australia’s #1 health insurer for overseas students and visitors*. Join the 18.5 million members worldwide who trust us with their health insurance.
- Trusted by Government. Bupa is the provider of migration medical services for the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
- Access one of Australia’s largest private hospital networks from Australia’s largest global health insurer.
- 24/7 access to Australian registered doctors online with Blua^. Plus, peace of mind with 100% of costs covered for Bupa international members^.
- In the case of an emergency, Bupa OSHC customers are in safe hands with unlimited cover for emergency ambulance services and on-the-spot treatments from Bupa-recognised providers.
- Unlimited cover on selected consultations by a GP (Doctor), specialist, pathology services and more~
- 24/7 Student Advice Line in over 150 languages for general legal support, help navigating the healthcare system, speak to a nurse, medical and accident assistance and more.