Venus Williams' favorite workout isn't tennis

In Chill Chat, Bustle sits down with celebs to discuss all things wellness, from their favorite skincare products to tips for a good night's sleep . Here, Venus Williams talks mental health, her beloved aromatherapy spray, and why tennis is no longer her favorite sport.

When it comes to tennis, Venus Williams is one of the greatest players. She won seven Grand Slams, was ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles, and had been officially playing professionally since she was 14 (although she had been killing it on the court since she was 7). But the famous athlete says she wouldn't be able to do that if she didn't prioritize her mental health.

"My parents were big proponents of confidence and instilled it in my sisters and me from an early age," Williams told Busy. “Our mental health and self-esteem always come first with them, so they are the reason I grew up feeling confident in my body and myself.”

That’s why Williams is partnering with Dove and Nike to launch Body Confident Sport, a program that provides online coaching tools to help young girls increase body self-esteem, reduce self-objectification, and encourage them to continue playing sports. “I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have the support system in place, which is why [this program] is so important,” Williams said.

Are there other ways an athlete can take care of her mental health? Prioritizing her skin care routine, playing with her dog, and laying out her yoga mat. Here, Williams shares her self-care routine, including a mid-morning drink that satisfies her sweet tooth.


What advice would you give to young women who don’t feel confident about their bodies?

My mom once said something to me: "Do what you want to do." Appreciate your body for all it does and will do, rather than focusing on what others think of you. You are powerful and the confidence comes from yourself.

Can you tell us more about the Confident Movement programme?

No matter what the circumstances, every girl should feel empowered and confident to play sports. The campaign's new research shows that two-thirds of girls say they would be more confident if they had been playing sport for longer and I encourage all young girls to get involved in a sport or activity of their choice. When young people feel supported, I believe it arms them with life skills that will guide them through adulthood.

What does your morning routine look like?

I'm not an early bird by any means, but I usually start my day with training. I split my time equally between the court and the gym.

Eating in the morning is hard for me, but I always try to drink juice or eat some fruit to give me energy to sustain my workouts. It's my job to stay healthy and in shape, but it's important to listen to your body and know when it needs a break, so I'll take a day off if I need to.

Coffee or tea?

I actually don’t drink coffee or tea now. But I do love my Happy Virgin protein powder, which I use to make breakfast smoothies mixed with almond milk. Currently, I’m loving the strawberry flavor – I have a huge sweet tooth and this helps satisfy my cravings while also fueling my body.

What’s your favorite workout right now?

I've recently become obsessed with yoga. I'm not flexible at all, but I'm working on it. I love the mind-body connection that yoga promotes because mental health is just as important as physical health. I prefer fast-paced classes - tennis is a fast-paced, cardio-heavy sport, so it's right up my alley.

What's one health treat you'd never do?

I can't do cryotherapy. I'm from Florida, so I don't get too cold. The most I can do is ice during recovery after a hard training session or game.

What’s on your workout playlist?

I've been listening to Usher lately. When I was in Paris for Fashion Week, I went to his concert with some friends and was blown away.

"Something my mom once said to me was, 'Do whatever you want to do.'"

How do you cope with feeling stressed or overwhelmed?

Every experience and emotion is temporary—especially the negative ones—so it’s important to be kind to yourself in these moments. When I feel stressed, I try to do breathing exercises, and sometimes I combine it with stretching to give myself a full-body release. Being able to take the time to reflect on my emotions and why I felt the way I did gave me the ability to let go and move on.

What other forms of self-care do you enjoy?

I love skin care and have actually become my family's go-to person for all skin concerns. I love facials and sometimes I even try to make my own serums and masks. I also love trying different tools like gua sha and ice rollers.

How do you like to relax at the end of a long day?

Hanging out with my dog ​​Harry. He is my best friend. I also love candles - I have a lot of different candles in the house so I light a few and it helps calm my mood.

What do you need to get a good night's sleep?

I think having a consistent routine is really important to getting a good night's sleep no matter where you are. For me, skin care every night has become a ritual. I also like to use Asutra products to relax and spray their lavender Mist Your Mood spray on my pillows and sheets. It smells amazing.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity .