In Chill Chat, Bustle sits down with stars to chat about all things wellness, from their favorite workout to their hacks for getting a good night’s sleep. Here, Amber Riley reveals her bath time essentials, the music that fuels her workouts, and her self-soothing method.
If you miss being inspired by Amber Riley's unapologetic character Mercedes Jones from Glee, you'll be pleased to know the star is currently shooting another musical comedy series — called Dream — that she's both starring in and co-executive producing. The Grammy-nominated singer is also planning her upcoming wedding to bodybuilder Desean Black. But that doesn’t mean the singer-actor-producer doesn’t carve out time to decompress.
Her go-to for some me-time? Luxuriating in the bath. “My fiancé knows when that bathroom door is closed and that light is off, you do not enter. That’s my zone,” Riley tells Bustle over Zoom.
For the Glee alum, though, self-care is more than soaking in the tub. “Sometimes I’ll just sit still and ask myself, ‘What are you feeling right now?’” says Riley, who’s partnered with KeVita for its new line of Prebiotic Shots. “We don’t investigate enough within ourselves.”
What’s your go-to self-care practice these days?
Having a routine really helps my mental health, so I try to wake up every day at the same time. I walk my dog, then I usually meditate or pray. It helps me to clear my mind before I come back and look at my schedule for the day.
With meditation being part of your daily routine, does yoga ever make an appearance?
I tried yoga and it just wasn’t for me. I liked the zen-ness of it, but the poses were so hard. When I workout, I like to sweat — so I’m on the stairs or I’m on the bike. That’s how I like to get my body moving.
Speaking of getting your body moving, what’s on your workout playlist?
It can be anything from “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor to “Body” by Megan Thee Stallion. Then I may have an opera song on when I’m on my treadmill and I just need to zone out, or musical theater because I want to sing along. I have different playlists depending on my mood and what exercise I’m doing.
Do you have any wellness habits that are a little offbeat?
Whenever I get too overwhelmed or in my head, I start humming. I don’t know if it’s the vibration or if it’s the lower tone, but it soothes me. My fiancé says that I hum in my sleep.
You use social media to stay in touch with your fans, but how often do you unplug? And do you have any tricks for sticking to it?
Not as often as I should, but I usually put my phone in a different room when I go to bed, and I use a traditional alarm clock to wake up so that my phone isn’t the first thing I look at in the morning. Or you can just give your phone to someone you trust and ask them not to give it to you for the entire day.
On those days, it’s good to visit a park and sit out in nature, go on a hike, or walk around your neighborhood. You almost have to distract yourself a little because it feels weird not being accessible to everyone.
When you’ve just finished a more hectic day, what do you need to have a good night’s sleep?
My best friend bought me a MZOO sleep mask — that’s my favorite. It’s super soft and contoured, so I can blink and not have to worry about my eyes feeling crushed.
I also enjoy falling asleep to the sound of rain and thunder, so I’ll just find a video on YouTube and let it play. I even bought a sound machine with a galaxy projector. The lights make your room look like a literal galaxy, so I’ll just lay down, look up at the ceiling, and then doze off.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.