In Chill Chat, Bustle sits down with stars to chat about all things wellness, from their workout playlists to their most reliable self-care hacks. Here, British Olympian and knitting sensation Tom Daley talks about the practices that keen him grounded.
During summer 2021, Tom Daley became one of the most-watched British athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. The 27-year-old diver from Plymouth left the games with his first gold medal and a whole new fan base. Because whenever he wasn’t taking to the diving board, Daley could be seen in the stands... knitting.
On the run-up to Christmas, he’s working with Pinterest on a new campaign to encourage fans to share the mindfulness activities that keep them grounded. In return, you could win one of Daley’s knitted creations.
“Pinterest has always been a source of inspiration for me. Whether it was my wedding, interior design, or knitting inspiration, Pinterest was a place where I could see so much creativity,” he explains. “I think this is such a great way for me to engage with creators and I think I will be so inspired by people’s creations.”
Daley shared his knitting on Instagram and 1.4 million followers later, he’s been open about the role it played in him dealing with the pressure of performing. However, it’s not the only wellness secret that keeps him calm. His 200 plants and sacred breakfast routine sounds pretty glorious, too.
Over the summer you shared your love of knitting with the world. Is there anything else that keeps you feeling calm?
Cooking is a really big thing for me. I know some people can find hosting quite chaotic, and I wouldn’t say it’s how I unwind, but I love how methodical cooking is.
It really depends on who is coming and how many of us there will be but I love Mexican food and all different Asian foods. For me, it’s about dishes that you can share. I love it when it’s family-style and people can have exactly what they want.
You’ve had an immensely busy year, with Tokyo 2020 Olympics and all. What’s your morning routine like?
Honestly, my routines changed so much since the end of the Olympics. I like to get up a little bit early, maybe one hour before my son wakes up. In that time I will make my coffee, watch TV, knit, and just have an hour to myself before the day starts and it’s go go go until my son goes to bed.
Doing ten minutes of mindfulness and being able to set me up for my day is so important. When I first carved out this routine I used Headspace, whereas now I’ve been doing a lot of things on my own. After a few years, I feel like I know what I need.
What would you say is your weird wellness routine?
Before this year I think a lot of people would have been shocked to know that I knit and the amount that I do. I’ve been making hats galore (he holds up three.)
I also really love filling my house with plants. I have so many. Right now I’ve got my Christmas decorations up but I think I’ve got over 200 houseplants. The windowsill that I’m looking at right now is just covered. Any surface will have a plant on, and that’s definitely something I do for my mental health and wellbeing.
A little house jungle! What are your favourite parts of your morning routine?
Coffee is definitely a non-negotiable. If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life it’d definitely be breakfast. So, that’s always a big occasion in our house. Every morning I will try and cook for myself, Robbie, and Lance. I love making eggs and bagels or toast. It’ll always be something tasty... anything but a bowl of cereal. We like to make breakfast a thing.
And if you head out to the pool or gym afterwards what are you listening to get you in the right headspace?
I have go-to playlists on Spotify: there’s one called Massive Pop Remixes. There’s also a playlist called Bottomless Brunch and it’s every gay anthem that you need to get you through a workout. If I need something softer than heavy pop remixes and a good sing-along that’ll get me through.
Your job takes you all over the world, are there any products or rituals that you use no matter where you are?
You obviously saw me knitting a lot while I was travelling in Tokyo. I’m also a big fan of audiobooks when I’m on the road. I love history and anything non-fiction. I started reading Hilary Clinton’s book (State of Terror) because I was doing The One Show. That was different because it was technically fiction, but based on true events.
I’ve listened to a lot of books that explore the history of English people, things about space, how the world was created, essentially anything that will allow me to go down a rabbit hole of what we are in the context of the world and history.
And lastly, I’m sure you’ve had a lot of people offer you their two-pence on wellness routines but is there any advice that’s stuck?
It’s something Lance said to me. You have to be kind to yourself before you can be kind to other people or as kind as you want to be. For example, if you don’t look after yourself how can you look after someone else in the best way that you can. That’s something I’ve really learnt since the build-up to the Olympics.
Sometimes I needed to take the time to do an extra yoga class or get an extra massage. All of the little things make a massive difference.