Ashley Tisdale Shares How She’s Staying Chill Ahead of Her New Sitcom

The star we adored in Disney's High School Musical told us as she hustles in preparation for her new sitcom premiere: "It's so important to have those moments where we slow down."

Ashley Tisdale, who first captured our hearts as the sparkling Sharpay Evans in Disney’s High School Musical, has grown into a multifaceted force. Donning the hats of an actress, singer, entrepreneur, and mom, Tisdale’s newest journey takes her both behind the camera and in front of it. She’s the star and executive producer of the upcoming CBS comedy Brutally Honest, a series inspired by her own experiences of marriage and parenthood.

Talking to Tisdale, now 38, it’s clear she’s found her grounding through motherhood, which she embraced with her husband, Christopher French, with the birth of their daughter Jupiter in March 2021. Still, almost any mom knows self-care comes last when you’re juggling work and motherhood.

If her child’s name is any indication, Tisdale recharges with escape. “I love traveling,” she told us. “It’s literally the time I am the most present.” This summer she’s on a mission to make exploring accessible to everyone, as her recent collaboration with Chase IHG One Rewards Credit Cards suggests.

Ashley Tisdale recently spoke with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest on balancing work and family, her travel tips for the height of summer, and what keeps her centered in a fast-paced world.

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Ashley Tisdale on slowing down

The Healthy @Reader’s Digest: Let’s start with the The Slowdown event you recently hosted with Chase IHG One Rewards Credit Cards. Can you tell us how it encouraged everyone to slow down, and what health benefits come with that?

Ashley Tisdale: I think it’s so important to have those moments where we slow down. It’s something that I’ve learned especially when I had my child that I was like, “OK I can’t do everything and at the speed that I was doing it at.” So, I’m all about taking a moment for myself and I love traveling. It’s my favorite way to do that. I love to vacation with my husband and vacation with my daughter. It’s literally the time I am the most present.

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Ashley Tisdale on her best travel tips

The Healthy: We’re all ears for travel recommendations! Can you let us in on a few destinations that you feel are just perfect for unwinding and giving your health a boost?

Ashley Tisdale: I love going to Cabo. It’s [a really short trip] for us [from] L.A. so we go there a lot. We went to Hawaii recently—my mom, me, and the baby—which was so much fun. Jupiter loves the beach as well, I think she obviously got that from me. It’s her favorite thing to do. She loves to just sit on a beach and play in the sand.

You know what? I haven’t been to Bali and that is in the ‘slowdown experience’ where there is an IHG hotel and I’m like, “I definitely need to go there.”

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The Healthy: It’s ironic that planning for a vacation that’s supposed to relax you can get stressful in and of itself. How do you manage your travel prep?

Ashley Tisdale: I think you just have to go with the flow. I had a really rough flight here yesterday because of the weather so it was much longer than just a flight to New York City, but it’s really kind of just going with the flow and not putting too much pressure [on yourself].

I always like to prepare by packing a couple days before we leave just so I’m like “OK, the baby’s packed, we’re packed, we’re ready to go,” and I think those tiny things make you feel so much better and ready if anything were to come up. You have to stay in the moment. Some things always pop up and you’re not obviously ready, but you just breathe through it.

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Ashley Tisdale on her favorite wellness rituals

The Healthy: You’re a successful actress, entrepreneur, and mom—you definitely have a full plate! How do you manage to fit in self-care and wellness routines to keep your balance?

Ashley Tisdale: I definitely talk a lot about my wellness rituals on what grounds me. I love to meditate every morning. If I don’t get a meditation in, I can really feel a little bit anxious throughout the day. But also something that my therapist taught me is that taking little sips of different moments throughout the day can really let your nervous system calm down.

The Healthy: You have to fill us in on what that means.

Ashley Tisdale: Say I’m working at home and back-to-back on Zoom calls: I will go outside in the middle of them and just sit and look at nature and just breathe and that really helps me take a moment for myself. Even if I’m not busy with work, just busy running around with my two-year-old, I’m able to be like, “OK I need to just sit, I need to meditate.” My husband and I really prioritize meditations in our daily life just because it helps us, so when we put the baby down we meditate then as well.

I also like to disconnect my phone. I think that it’s really important. I’m on my phone a lot and it can become some sort of addiction and so I love to disconnect—especially on the weekends.

Obviously traveling is another one of them, I think those are the moments where you can take a breath. For me, it’s beaches. I look at the ocean and I’m immediately calmed down.

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The Healthy: You talked about meditating as a wellness practice you refuse to skip. Any other wellness rituals you have been doing lately that have helped you?

Ashley Tisdale: I do love yoga. I feel like it’s one of those workouts that connects you to your body more. [It] really makes me super present. I feel like when I’m done with yoga I see the world differently sometimes. It feels like my nervous system has completely calmed down.

When I’m able to have those moments to myself, taking an amazing bath is a good thing for me. I love to throw a bath bomb in and create a spa-like experience in my bathroom. I love it and I live for that type of moment. Hikes—those are really nice to clear my head. I like to be in nature a lot, too.

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Ashley Tisdale on her next travel goals

The Healthy: You mentioned Bali as a next destination. Any other places you would like to go next?

Ashley Tisdale: Definitely Bali, but after experiencing yesterday where we realized we have an amazing two-year-old who can literally sit through an eight-hour flight, I definitely think we’re going to Paris next. And there is an IHG hotel there too. I was like, “I have points on my card. That is where I am staying, and that is where I’m going next.”

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Dr. Patricia Varacallo, DO
Tricia is a doctor of osteopathy with experience in primary healthcare. She received her medical degree from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and conducts clinical research in Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, as she is motivated by the desire to contribute to the development of innovative treatments and therapies. She is also a certified lifestyle coach for the CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program, empowering individuals to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes. Dr. Varacallo loves to write— especially about health, wellness, and grief. Drawing from her own experiences of loss and caregiving, she loves to offer support and encouragement to those navigating their own grief journeys. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys traveling and exploring the sunny beaches of Florida with her significant other, always ready for their next adventure.