"I just try my best to check in with myself as often as I possibly can," the actress tells PEOPLE

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Amber Riley

Amber Riley is getting candid about her mental health journey.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the actress — who recently partnered with KeVita to promoting their new prebiotic shots — opens up about her never-ending journey to self-love and the importance of self-care.

"In the beginning [of the pandemic], it definitely was difficult, but I just had to regroup and figure out a new routine," says Riley, 35. "Routine is really important for me as far as mental health goes. So I had to kind of figure out what my new routine was going to look like. It hasn't been perfect, because life is never perfect anyway."

"I think it took time, but I gave myself grace first, and then I began to regroup and figure out what normalcy looks like," she adds.

Amber Riley
Credit: Gregg DeGuire/Getty

While Riley settles into her new normal with a self-care routine, the former Glee star has come to accept that self-love is a "forever journey."

"It's not a destination," she says. "It's not a place that you are ever going to arrive. We're ever-changing and evolving and growing. Our society is always changing and growing and evolving. So I just try my best to check in with myself as often as I possibly can. And the journey — it's ever-growing and evolving. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy."

The actress, who feels most empowered when taking care of herself, says a partnership with KeVita was "perfect" for her.

"KeVita is campaigning for people to love themselves from the inside out," she says. "And it's always kind of dope when you're already a fan of a brand and you get to work with them on messages that you really believe in."

"What they've been talking about is gut health, and probiotics and prebiotics are so good for your gut," she stresses. "And I go with my gut, my intuition, a lot — especially when making a decision about what project I want to do, or when I'm in the studio and I'm writing. It's so important that I can believe what my gut is saying and take care of my body, work out, get enough sleep. "