As the nation opens up, James has partnered with neighbourhood app Nextdoor to encourage Britons to continue practicing the hobbies they developed during lockdown, and to share them with others in their community. James has attempted new hobbies himself over the past year, such as cooking and DJing.
The former rugby star said: “I don’t have anxiety, but I know that people say cooking and exercise really help with your mental health.
“Cooking and exercise are absolutely brilliant – the methodical nature of cooking, the creative nature, the flavours.
“And exercise too – exercise gets you out, gets you fit, gets you healthier, and health is wealth in the current world we live in. And all of them are great for mental health.”
James went on to explain which foods he prefers cooking on the BBQ, saying: “I cook macaroni cheese and lamb koftas.
James highlighted the importance of a balanced lifestyle, such as knowing how to take care of your body, how to eat healthily, and how to do exercise, but also knowing how to have fun and “enjoy life”.
He said: “I have a very balanced life in terms of I understand what I’m eating.
“Sometimes I want to indulge, sometimes I don’t. I train quite a lot of the time, I try to look after my body.
“I cook extremely healthy food all the time, as well as let my hair down and enjoy myself when required.”
To let his “hair down”, James explained he enjoys “wine, tequila, whiskey”.
“I don’t drink very often, but when I do, I enjoy myself and I’m sensible,” he said.
“I smoke a cigar every now and then. I fully enjoy myself.”
James added: “Eating sensible at times, looking after your diet and making sensible choices, is important. But life is also meant to be enjoyed.
“So if you understand what you’re putting in your body and how you’re doing it, you don’t have to be hugely restrictive.
“We need to move away from stupid and ridiculous diets, and unfortunately, it’s a part of our culture.
“We need to have a better understanding of knowing how to enjoy life, and to relax, but also to go ‘oh I’m going to eat perfectly from Monday to Friday, and then one night I’m going to let my hair down, and then I’m going to tighten stuff back up again’.
“Because you’ve only got one body. And that’s what people forget – you’ve only got one body and if you don’t look after it, once it’s broken it’s not going to fix itself unfortunately.”
James Haskell has teamed up with neighbourhood app Nextdoor to encourage people to pick up a new – or revisit an old – hobby this summer and use them to reconnect to people in their local community.