A Broadway Actress’s Daily Routine

At Covey, we’re inspired by the routines of leaders and influencers we admire. Now, we’re getting real with an insider look at their regimens to see what we can learn.

This month, we had the chance to chat with Desi Oakley, a talented and inspiring Broadway actress, voice actress and singer-songwriter. She made her Broadway debut in ‘Wicked’ and has since gone to perform in ‘Annie’, ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘Chicago.’ You probably recognize her from her lead role as Jenna in ‘Waitress,’ where she was part of the original national tour.  

In addition to her impressive career, she’s also active on Instagram, where she shares behind-the-scenes footage, workout tips, and a sweet look into her personal life, including her relationship with fellow Broadway star Andy Huntington Jones. Here, she shares the secrets behind her daily rituals: 

7:45 a.m.: Take a slow start to the day with coffee. 

While Desi says her days fluctuate depending on if she’s doing a show or not, she does keep one thing consistent: drinking a cold brew coffee as soon as she wakes up, year-round.

She says hot coffee makes her feel cozy and cuddly, but iced gives her the ‘jolt to the system’ she needs. Her days are busy, but her morning is slow, and she takes time to enjoy a quiet start with her partner while sipping coffee. Then, she works out at home before showering and eating breakfast. (Psst. her favorite recipes come from @thedefineddish and @nocrumbsleft.)

Prioritize a mental health practice. 

Desi says the step in her day that’s essential to her mental health is her 11 a.m. meditation, journaling and Qigong practice. If you’re not familiar, Qigong is an ancient Chinese healing practice that uses easy movement, breathing and meditation techniques to find zen and peace.

By making this a priority, Desi experiences a slew of benefits, including:

  • Groundness and the ability to stay in the present.
  • Strengthened relationships and friendships. 
  • Preventive mental health maintenance, so her cup doesn’t overflow.
  • An investment in herself so she can invest in others.

Find an accountability partner for health goals. 

To perform on Broadway, energy and endurance are essential. To keep herself active and moving, Desi relies on accountability partners. This includes 30-day yoga challenges with her bestie, where they text one another after each practice.

Or, an alcohol detox where she’ll text a picture of her La Croix in a wine glass to her personal trainer. Having someone to keep her in check is essential. As she says, “I'd be nowhere if I had to go at everything alone.”

Teach skills to others. 

Since the pandemic shut down her industry for an extended period, Desi used her skills in a new way: as a vocal, acting, songwriting and piano teacher! Her afternoons are now busy with passionate students who have kept her artistry engaged. Passing down your craft to others not only helps them succeed but has benefits for you too, including:

  • Improved communication skills.
  • Renewed love of your career. 
  • Increased confidence and knowledge. 
  • Investment in leadership abilities.

Wind down and set a bedtime reminder. 

Desi goes for a sunset ride along the Hudson River home to wind down her day, followed by dinner and a TV episode with her partner. To make sure she’s ready for sleep, she takes a bubble bath, goes through her skincare routine, and then is tucked in by her bedtime reminder at 10:45 p.m.

To ensure she doesn’t delay rest, she uses the Sleep Schedule function on her iPhone, which tracks nightly sleep, sends pings, and even how many times you hit ‘Snooze.’ It’s helped her to be more accountable for her sleep health.

Listen to your body and mind. 

While Desi does have a daily routine and enjoys having a plan, she also says it’s essential to have flexibility, too: “Having a set schedule is a great idea for boundaries and goals — but life is happening now at every inhale and exhale. So, I think it's equally important to listen to my body and others around me, be in the present moment and try to enjoy every second.”

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