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Winter in Australia: 5 Ways to Stay Healthy on a Budget

This article is sponsored by Bupa

Known around the world for its sunshine and warm climate, you might be surprised to learn that winter in Australia can get seriously chilly!

Of course, the cooler weather always brings with it a heightened risk of common illnesses like cold and flu. While these are rarely serious, they can take you out of action for days or even weeks, forcing you to take time away from work, study and even fun!

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to avoid spending the whole season stuck in bed. Read on to discover our top five tips for staying healthy this winter. 

Get a flu shot 

One of the best winter tips for students is to make sure you are up-to-date on your flu vaccination, often called a flu shot. 

As the virus that causes the flu changes rapidly, it’s important to get a flu shot every year so you can be sure you’re protected against the latest strain. 

There are a number of reasons to get a flu shot this winter:

  • It can help protect you from catching the flu.
  • If you do catch the flu, the vaccine can reduce the severity of your symptoms
  • By getting the shot, you’ll be helping protect vulnerable groups like young children or older people, who have a higher risk of serious complications from the flu.

You can get a flu shot at most pharmacies or general practitioners (GPs). The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Vaccination Services tool is free to use and can help you locate a vaccination site near you. 

You’ll usually pay between $20 and $25 for your flu shot, making this a cheap and easy way to protect your health during flu season in Australia.

Eat well (even on a budget) 

If you’re wondering how to stay healthy during cold season, one of the best solutions is to ensure you’re eating a balanced, nutritious diet. 

Eating a variety of fresh produce like fruits and vegetables won’t just make you feel great, but it’s also key to building a strong immune system to help your body fight off disease.

While it can be challenging to eat right on an international student budget, you don’t have to break the bank or be a world-class chef to enjoy cheap, healthy meals in Australia.

Searching online for nutritious recipes is a great way to discover fun and tasty options you might not have tried before. Try experimenting with new cuisines, looking up some healthy winter comfort meals or having a go at a healthier version of an old favourite, and you’ll probably discover lots of new dishes you love!

To help you get started, why not try:

Ensure you have the right health cover 

No one ever plans to use their health cover, but if you have an emergency or need immediate medical attention, it can be a huge relief to know you won’t have to worry about unexpected expenses. 

While the correct health cover will help give you peace of mind, it’s also important to remember that international students are required to hold approved Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entirety of their stay. If you move to a Temporary Graduate Visa, you’ll need to change to Overseas Visitor Cover (OVC).

Make sure you’re aware of the benefits that come with your health insurance, as you may be entitled to some cool extras. For example, Bupa offers their International members access to Blua2, a digital telehealth platform. Through Blua, you can arrange a video call with a doctor and have 100% of your consultation costs covered2. This makes it easy to get the care and advice you need if you’re sick or unwell without leaving the comfort of your home. 

Look after your mental health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

In addition to the stress of mid-year exams, the cold weather, lack of sunshine and shorter days that come with winter in Australia can have a real impact on your mood and can sometimes even lead to serious conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Thankfully, there are some easy winter mental health tips you can follow to keep yourself fit and well throughout the cooler months, such as:

  • Getting regular exercise, even if it’s just a short walk around the block or doing winter exercises at home
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Getting regular, good-quality sleep
  • Making time for friends and family
  • Boosting your vitamin D by getting out in the sunshine

By prioritising these simple things and building them into your regular routine, you’ll find it easy to stay happy, positive and upbeat over the colder months. 

If you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are lots of services in Australia you can turn to for help and support. 

For example, you may be able to access counselling or other help through your education provider, or you can visit a GP to get a mental health plan. If you’re in crisis, you can also call one of Australia’s many mental health hotlines for free and confidential support, such as:

  • 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

Already feeling the winter chill? Find out more about what to do when you get sick in Australia as an international student.

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 combined 1

– Trusted by Government. Bupa is the provider of migration medical services for the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

– Get 24/7 access to doctors via online video call, with 100% of costs covered for Bupa international members with Blua 2

– In the case of an emergency, Bupa OSHC customers are covered with unlimited cover for emergency ambulance services and on-the-spot treatments from Bupa-recognised providers 3

– Bupa provide general advice and assistance in 150 languages, for a range of situations including medical, home, property inquiries and more. Just call 1300 884 235 if you find yourself in a situation where you need some guidance or support 4

Whether you require OSHCOVC, or are looking to transition from another provider, Bupa has a range of quality health cover for. 

1Based on total revenue for combined Overseas Visitors and Overseas Student Health Cover, APRA Operations of Private Health Insurers Annual Report 2022-23

2Fund and policy rules apply. Yearly limits apply to Essential Lite Visitors cover, but these limits will be waived (only in relation to Blua consultations) until further notice. 100% of the cost will only be covered for Blua consults. Members will only be able to book general consultations via Blua. Consultations with specialists cannot be booked via Blua. Members who are under 18 years old may need to attend the consultation with a parent or guardian. Members’ preferred language may not be available 24/7.

3If claimable from another source, a benefit won’t be paid by Bupa. Fund and policy rules apply.

4Member’s preferred language may not be available 24/7.