The Funny Way Nicole Ari Parker Stayed Healthy While Filming AJLT

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, Nicole Ari Parker shares her morning routine and the calming beverage she drinks every night for better sleep.

Nicole Ari Parker has gotten really into tea. The 51-year-old actor, who recently starred as Lisa Todd Wexley on the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That..., is so passionate about her newfound beverage obsession that she calls her husband, Boris Kodjoe, in the middle of our Zoom interview to get the name of the syrup she uses as a sweetener. “You’re fully in my interview right now,” Parker tells him as he digs through their kitchen to find it. “It’s called Shroom Juice from Chagit,” I hear him say over speakerphone, followed by, “Hi everybody!”

Parker recently partnered with Lipton tea as the brand promotes the importance of heart health — something she feels strongly about as a foundation for one’s well-being. “Most of us couldn’t go for a check-up [during lockdown] because of restrictions, but the last thing we were getting checked was our heart,” she tells Bustle.

Tea drinking — and all of its many benefits — is one heart-healthy habit Parker has picked up. “I’m in mom mode, I’m in acting mode, I’m in checking-in-on-my-parents mode. I’m writing and producing. So it helps to take a moment for self-care to breathe and relax,” she says. “Tea has become a big part of my life.”

Here, Parker reveals her favorite skin care brand, how she copes with stress, and the unexpected place she turns to for date nights.

How did you take care of yourself on the set of And Just Like That...?

Oh, I wore all those beautiful clothes [laughs]. That kept my heart rate really stable, the fact that my character would pick up her kids in a Libertine suit. It was just a wonderful experience being on set. Also, I’m an East Coast girl at heart, so being back in New York was just a dream come true.

What does your morning routine look like? How do you get ready for a busy day?

Between being a mom, acting, and all my social media obligations, the mornings have become chaotic. So I actually meditate now when I wake up and I write in my journal for a few minutes. I write down things I’m grateful for right now and all the wonderful things that are to come. And then I really do make myself a cup of tea! I’m coming off coffee a little bit because I’m trying to be more conscious of my health.

Were you a big coffee drinker in the past?

I was a big coffee person. There’s something very stabilizing about having a cup of tea instead. I like to start my day without the rush or the anxiety.

The Funny Way Nicole Ari Parker Stayed Healthy While Filming AJLT

Do you have any beauty products you like to apply in the morning?

As a Black woman, I have just started learning that I need to wear sunscreen, too. I like spray-on sunscreens because I wear a lot of makeup. I’m also really into moisturizing. It’s always the legs, arms, and hands that get all the moisturizer, so I like to really take my time and apply to my whole body. And I like to cleanse with the NaturesBeautibar [soaps] — it’s a woman-owned company, and the products are all natural and just divine.

How do you cope with stressful moments throughout the day?

It all depends on where I am. If I’m in the car, I take deep breaths and sometimes say a phrase to myself. It could be from scripture, it could be a positive affirmation — whatever I need in that moment. It could also be as simple as saying to myself, “It’s going to be OK.”

Sometimes I’ll reach out to a friend and check in on them, too. We’ve all been so solitary during the lockdown that sometimes you forget to reach out and check on your girl, check on your sister, check on your mom.

What’s your go-to exercise?

I’m back into weightlifting, but I’m definitely a cardio girl. I love the treadmill so much!

What does a day off look like for you?

I make a big deal out of the bathtub [laughs]. I love a warm bath — like really, really warm. I do the salts and the oils, bubbles, candles, and all of that. It’s like a little apothecary around my bathtub. Sometimes my husband will sit next to the tub and read to me. We’ll have wonderful little date nights with candles and nice music and interesting talks. It’s kind of sexy, just chilling in the bathroom.

Besides And Just Like That..., what’s your favorite TV show right now?

I’m obsessed with Harlem. I’m obsessed with Succession — I just finished that one. And Ozark.

Do you have anything special you like to do to wind down before bed?

My husband makes me another cup of tea — usually a chamomile tea or something decaf. We also use chaga as a sweetener instead of honey. It has a lot of antioxidants and is really good for your heart and cholesterol. It’s very calming and helps me fall asleep.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.