Chill Chat

The Wholesome Reason Keke Palmer’s Done *All* The Wellness Practices

The star, who’s debuting her first work of fiction, spills her self-care secrets.

Keke Palmer's wellness routine includes reiki, cbd, and positive thinking.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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, Keke Palmer talks about the morning routine that helps support her hustle.

While you were at home adding dalgona candy cutting to your skill arsenal, Keke Palmer was busy adding another hyphenate to her credentials. After lending her face and voice to seven shows and two films in 2021, Palmer, the Nickelodeon-turned-Hustlers star, also won an Emmy, went viral on TikTok for her extremely catchy “I know it ain’t Thee Stallion” riff, and wrote a book. “I’m the kind of person where I can turn a hobby into a full-blown career,” Palmer tells Bustle.

When she’s not busy playing characters for studio projects, she’s flexing her DIY razor-sharp comedic chops via Southern Belle Insults, a social media series she created to showcase a cast of big, Southern personalities. Her twangy, vivacious, unapologetic Belles — who live by the motto, “There is no b*tch like a Southern b*tch” — found a mass audience on TikTok with nearly a quarter of a million followers. Now, Palmer is debuting her first work of fiction, Southern Belle Insults, a collection of five essays, each in the distinct voice of a Belle. She partnered with romance novelist Jasmine Guillory to release a digital and audiobook of essays based on the series via Amazon Original Stories.

It’s thanks to morning Peloton rides and protein-packed breakfasts that Palmer has the energy to juggle a dozen hobbies-turned-gigs at all times. Here, the award-winning actor-voiceover-artist-producer-musician-author explains how Peloton, CBD, and the power of positive thinking keep her grounded.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I check my phone, then either do a scripture reading or meditate. I’ll go to the bathroom and do my skin care routine — I just use the Noxzema Classic Clean mask and follow that up with Belif Aqua Bomb moisturizer and sunscreen. In the shower, I relax as much as I can — the shower really preps you for the day, so I’ll be in there vibing, listening to DeBarge, Alicia Keys, and oldies. Then I’m ready to go.

What’s for breakfast?

I love protein pancakes and eggs and turkey bacon, but also sometimes I just want a quick shake: some Vital Proteins, strawberries, bananas. I’ll have green or mint tea. Every now and then I’ll have some coffee, but it doesn’t really work on me.

Do you have an exercise routine?

I’ve got to work out before I start work. I cycle on my Peloton. The classes talk to my soul. They’re like, “You can do this, you’re going to know exactly who you are at the end of the day.” And I’m just screaming, “Yes, all right!” I say all the stuff they tell you to say.

What comes after getting your energy out?

I go to my version of an office — it’s a lightweight influencing-slash-getting-ready room. It’s where my computer is; it’s my workspace. If you saw me while I’m working, you’d think I was a stunt person. I’m talking leggings, sweatpants, and a sports bra. I like to feel like I’m ready to go, just in case I need to run or whoop somebody’s ass.

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In your downtime, are there any experimental wellness practices you like to test out?

I’m willing to try anything to help me be my best. Reiki, sensory deprivation tubs, sound baths, cryotherapy. I try to do all of that when I can.

I view wellness practices as opportunities to become more prepared. One thing that people I admire have in common is that their minds are really strong and agile. They choose situations that help them move forward. So I’ve adapted to that habit. Even when I’m driving, I’m trying to work on myself. I’ll listen to Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled [a laws of attraction self-help book]. It helps me become stronger and ready for anything.

Is there another piece of wellness advice that you hold on to?

To worry about myself and put my attention into making sure I’m on point. The best way to be of service to others, is to better yourself and set an example. Naming the things that cause me troubles in my life, like anxieties or depression, helps me to do something about it. When I'm doing good by myself, then I'm able to serve other people.

You mention dealing with anxiety and depression. Can you share how you cope?

Reading positive books to get good energy from them. Journaling. Napping. Just closing my eyes, calming my mind, calling a close friend, or praying. Sometimes it's good to affirm if you’re feeling bad. I’ll say, “God, thank you so much for making me a strong and positive person, no matter what I’m going through.” You just control your mind by switching scripts and just making it think something different. That also helps me a lot.

With anxiety, do you ever have trouble falling asleep?

If I’m having trouble falling asleep, I’ll take CBD. But I have a special way of getting myself to sleep that usually works. I tell myself a good story. I think about things I want, like what it’s going to be like to have kids and take them to school. I manifest positive things in my life, which takes the pressure off trying to sleep. You end up falling asleep with all of that ruminating in your mind, and you wake up with good intentions.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.