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#SeatizenSunday Stay-in Series: Anina, Des, and Sam

Closing Month of the Ocean by catching up with three women we admire: mural artist Anina Rubio, doodler Des Llanos Dee, and programmes manager Samantha Craven. They share their love for creating, whether it be through art or green spaces, and the appreciation for slow living.

Anina Rubio, Muralist

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

COVID-19 made a huge impact on my work. As a muralist, my work requires me to be on-site most of the time, so COVID-19 put a halt to 90% of my projects. But I still did some online projects and taught online painting workshops. Those kept me productive during the lockdown period.

What's been keeping you busy (work/non-work)?

I’ve rekindled my love for farming. During lockdown, I spend 60% of my time everyday arranging my backyard and planting fruits and vegetables for a more sustainable food source for my future. I now have more than 20 different types of fruits, veggies, and herbs growing at home. In 2-3 months, I can harvest already! I also started creating more free video content on farming and recycling to encourage more people to do it sustainably. After all, we need to help each other in whatever way we can during this time of crisis.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Apart from COVID-19 vaccine? I’m looking forward to going to the beach, to dig my toes into the sand and swim in the warm tropical waters of the country!

What new skill did you learn or old skill did you pick up again (if any)?

I unlocked baking skills and picked up on farming skills. These activities taught me patience and to accept failure (i.e. burnt banana bread, haha) and try again. It’s always refreshing to challenge the mind to learn something new. I’m grateful for this break, for this moment to slow down.

How have you been taking care of yourself? Any self-care tips?

As soon as I wake up, I meditate for 5-10 mins and then exercise. I keep myself hydrated too! These activities keep my physical and mental health in check.

Desiree Llanos Dee, Punny Creator behind @DesLikesDoodling and Co-founder of Tofu Creatives

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

When the lockdown started, it gave me more time to create. Quarantine removed the distractions I would pursue on a normal day. Because of all the restrictions of our new reality, it has forced me to focus on what I can control – and that includes what I want to create.

Surprisingly and unexpectedly, the pandemic has positively affected our work. There is a greater demand for creative visual content, especially since interactions are limited to online platforms. It also made us focus on development topics that we wanted to serve. It made us quickly learn to create visual summaries for webinars instead of live events.

Overall, it made us ask, what stories and messages should we be visualizing, communicating and sharing right now?

What’s been keeping you busy (work/non-work) ?

Personally, I found the time to work on a book idea I’ve had for the last year. It is a mindfulness journey from A to Zen, with a curious little girl Lily and her magical elephant Ellie. Their adventure shows ways on how to concretely practice mindfulness like to Arrive, to Breathe, and  to Create. At the beginning of quarantine, I asked my friends for suggestions on the words, and I started posting these letters throughout the month. It gave me purpose to wake up and finish at least one letter a day.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I look forward to people valuing the importance of having good leadership, most especially in a crisis like this. I look forward to seeing what people decide to do with that, whether it’s stepping up for leadership positions, or how they will use their votes and their own power.

What new skill did you learn or old skill did you pick up again (if any)?

I love watching Ted-Ed videos! so I’m looking at different ways and styles to do animation videos. We’re exploring different ways of telling stories.

We quickly had to learn how to do a live visual scribe for online events. That includes familiarity and speed with Procreate and Zoom.

How have you been taking care of yourself? Any self-care tips?

I listen to Sarah Blondin’s guided meditations, and it really lifts up my mood, especially on bad days. Her full set of meditations are on Soundcloud, and I choose a topic which resonates for me on that day. My favorite ones: Learning to Surrender, Make it Sacred, Loving and Listening to Yourself.

I go outside for walks as much as I can, and I try to workout a few times a week. Working out reminds me of the things I have to do, and taking walks reminds me of things I want to do.

Rest. I listen to my body. I rest when I feel tired, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I have days when I guiltlessly do nothing, and allow myself to enjoy that without the pressure of productivity.

Samantha Craven, Programmes Manager, The Reef-World Foundation

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

We (Reef-World) have had several trips and events cancelled, including having to postpone the launch of Green Fins in Japan and Guam! We had an action-packed 2020 planned with both field and programme development work, so the silver lining has been being able to singularly focus on some big projects which is a real luxury for our jack-of-all-trades team! Luckily our team already works remotely, being split up all over the world but it has still been a mind-shift to work from home!

What's been keeping you busy (work/non-work)?

The pandemic is affecting the diving industry too, our main stakeholders. Disinfection of rental equipment is going to have to be in place before the industry opens up again, and there are obviously environmental consequences to that. So we've pulled together some guidance for minimising the environmental impact of this. 

Outside of work I am absolutely loving not travelling! I'd be on a trip at least once a month, so it was a real challenge to do anything with my garden. So outside of work, that's been keeping me busy and connected to nature, I've made a couple of raised beds and am experimenting with growing different vegetables. It's a big contribution to my sanity! 

What are you looking forward to the most?

Diving again! And seeing the horizon. And hugs. I live alone so any kind of physical human contact is very exciting. 

What new skill did you learn or old skill did you pick up again (if any)?

Still learning, but how to have a routine at home! And planning out my meals. Honestly, after a career of travel and communal living, just learning to be at home long-term has been my challenge! 

How have you been taking care of yourself? Any self-care tips?

I've been working on quieting my inner critic, she's pretty bossy. When the world started locking down I read a lot about managing expectations of productivity during the pandemic. We're not just working from home, but working from home during a pandemic etc. So acknowledging that chronic stress and the increased bandwidth that is being taken up has helped me a lot. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint and it's ok to have an off day, or take more breaks or have that extra helping of ice cream and not beat yourself up about it. 


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