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The other morning, I was in a huge rush to get my kids out the door so I could prep for meetings I had later in the day. Usually, I take a little time to get ready before I get them up, putting on a cute dress and some lipstick, but this morning, I was in a capital-H worthy Hurry. I threw on a hoodie and jeans, was pushing the kids out the door, and impatiently trying to get them to the train station.

Of course, it took the same amount of time it always does to get them to where they need to be. But glancing into a window as I passed by, I realized how shabby I looked. Instead of enjoying my morning walk with them and feeling put together, everything felt sloppy – and it started the second I decided to put a (meaningless and self-imposed) deadline before my self-care routine.

Does this sound familiar?

I get it. It’s easy to put the needs of the day and the needs of others before your own. But the thing is, you can’t show up the way you want to in your life without taking care of you first.

You deserve to feel good. Not only that, but I think you deserve to feel sexy.

It’s nothing time consuming, but these tiny, simple acts make a substantial difference in the way I feel. I stand up taller. I feel more confident. I feel like the leading lady in my own life, instead of a supporting character. And miraculously, when you dress the part, you start to believe it. Here are my top tips for how to feel sexier now.

Office Warming Party

1. Be more accepting.

When someone gives you a compliment, the right response is thank you. Not attributing it elsewhere, making excuses, or otherwise passing it off. Accept love. Accept help. Accept massages. If it’s a good thing, and you want it, say yes. Make it easy.

2. Leave a love note.

It doesn’t have to be for anyone in particular. You can leave it in a book, in a bathroom, in a hidden location just waiting for someone to discover. If it is for a lover, make it a little steamy.

3. Wear sexy underwear.

Please, go throw out your granny panties. Like right now. Or if you’re feeling especially daring, simply go without. I can’t lie – doing my headshots in lacy boy shorts? Totally brought out the right attitude for the photo. (And I mean, who does that? Turns out, I do.)

4. Buy flowers.

A better, more clear way to say that might be, “Girl, buy your own damn flowers.” Don’t wait for someone else to decide you are worthy of a daily, everyday beautiful indulgence. Find your favorites. Display. Done.

5. Write something dirty.

Fiction. Nonfiction. Anything. Write about a fantasy. Write about that time you stepped out of your comfort zone, took control of a sexy situation, and what came next. (Couldn’t resist.)

6. Get your hair done.

Women’s hair has deep culture connections, so treating yours well is really only natural. Find someone who’ll give you the head massage shampoo treatment, and ease into it. Let yourself enjoy being pampered, and walk out of there feeling like a goddess.

7. Embrace cooking and eating as a sensual practice.

Cooking should not feel like a chore. From choosing the best ingredients to inventing a dish just suited for the day, there is pleasure to be had in this most everyday of activities. Making a meal is an exercise in enjoying simple living – potentially one in ritual, in simple hospitality. Share something profound at the table. That’s what it was made for.

If you’re going to take center stage in your life, you need to feel like the kind of woman who does that. And let me tell you, that kind of woman? She stops to smell the roses and try the rosé.

You have a choice in how you present yourself to the world – and when it’s so simple to feel a little sexier, why wouldn’t you?

Dusti Arab is a writer and performer. Sign up for her upcoming free e-course Take Center Stage here and become the leading lady in your life again.