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Life admin is a new term I’ve come across. I find it helpful to think about the monotonous life tasks that weigh me down clumped into this life administration bucket.

I get a bit queasy when I think about life administration during the planting season. Planting is hard enough as is, now add in needing to get a prescription filled, trying to book any kind of health care provider appointment, even going to a pharmacy in a small town on a day off only to discover the pharmacy is closed on Wednesdays… at 2:30 pm... great. Now zoom out even more, okay planting is over, summer has turned to fall, and I need to find a place to live, okay now it’s winter and I need to find a sublet for the place I just found in the fall because I am leaving again. Oh, now it's taxes. And also my low back injury is flaring up, I should get this looked at. Should I get different car insurance for my drive across the country? Or BCAA at least? Sometimes life administration can feel relentless and exhausting.


Life Administration: “refers to one’s day-to-day chores that are administrative. This can include tasks such as meal preparation, making appointments, paying your bills, responding to emails.” (Urban Dictionary)

Things to Think About Before The Season:


Do you know the town(s) you’ll be planting out of? If the answer is yes, perhaps think about getting your doctor to send your prescription(s) over to the local pharmacy so that all you have to do when they need to be refilled is call the pharmacy and ask them to get the prescription ready. If the answer is no, can you get your doctor to send you a copy of your prescription so that you have it on hand to bring to the local pharmacy once you get there? Maybe not depending on the prescription, but working with your health support team beforehand to create a plan based on, "I am not sure where I will be or when," can save a lot of pain later on.

Find out the pharmacy hours, and map out your days off for the next few weeks to plan and ensure the pharmacy will be open when you choose to be in town.

Mental Health Professionals

Do you already have a therapist going into the season? If yes, ask them if there is any flexibility in their schedule to support you during the season. Let them know you won’t always know when your days off will be, or maybe you want to call them on the block if there is service. You can ask if a last-minute phone call would be alright. Figure out together what support looks like for you during the season.

Maybe you don’t have a therapist going into the season. Finding one during planting is no easy task. Although it is not impossible, perhaps consider hopping on some waitlists of professionals you’ve vetted and are excited about working with. Or you can consider mental health apps like BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Larkr.


Only some people's favourite topic, but important to talk about nonetheless. Because of the seasonal nature of the work and piece work rate, it can take a lot of work to know exactly what you will make annually. Thinking about finances annually versus daily or monthly can keep things in better order. Think about what you want to make in a year and what you will do for work during the months you are not planting or if you’re not planning on getting a full-time off-season job. Having a plan on how you will allocate your money can keep debt at bay and make you feel more in the driver's seat of your financial situation. Something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet with monthly totals for food, rent, utilities, gas, and phone bills can provide a starting point for personal budget planning. Tracking your spending is another excellent starting point to determine where you are at with your finances.


Consider what you will do with the place you are living. Is your lease up and is the timing perfect? Do you want to find subletters? You may want to put your stuff in storage and look for a new place once the season is over. There are many options, but the main point is to have a plan. Finishing a planting season unsure of where you will live can be stressful.

Things to Think About During The Season

Those Darned Hours of Operation

Build a cheat sheet for operating hours of places you may want to go in town, like the rec center, pharmacy, grocery store, clinic, post office, and mechanic - this way, when it’s day off, you’ll be able to see what is open and what you may be able to get done in terms of life admin. You can do all this from your phone via google maps or simple internet searching, but if you do it once and save the information, you won’t have to look every time.

Equipment Check-In

Letting things stay broken for a long time can be easy. From experience, if something was only slightly broken or not working, I would not feel motivated to fix it once the day off rolled around. Then I would start my first bag up on day one only to remember this thing wasn’t working properly and have to deal with it all shift again. When I finally found the time and energy to fix it, that day-one feeling of having working equipment was magical. Looking back, I always wished I hadn’t waited as long. Fixing things while planting is like going to the gym, or taking a shower, sometimes, it’s hard to initiate, but once I’m there, I’m always glad I did it. Like many things, equipment and gear fixing is more fun with friends. If you have clothes that need sewing or patching or bags that need to be adjusted, find a friend in the same boat and have a little equipment check-in party.

Self Care

Looking after your physical and mental health is essential during a planting season.

  • Stretching is a great way to support yourself after a planting day or on a day off.

  • Taking breaks from discussing planting-related topics can also help you care for yourself.

  • If you are experiencing any injuries or physical pain, speak to the first aid attendant in camp or anyone in management. Let your employer know if you’re seeking medical aid for work-related reasons.

Preventing Mid-Season Isolation

Although planting can be a time full of friendship and community, it can also be lonely and sad. Being away from family and friends can be difficult. Consider scheduling check-in calls with loved ones. This can help you feel connected to your support system and remember that a whole world is happening outside of your season.

Meal Preparation (for Motel Shows)

This ties into budgeting, but I’ll mention it here: going to the grocery store after a day of planting before you have had any food is a recipe for disaster. Spending time on your day off to cook and prepare meals can save money and time. A slow cooker or Instant Pot can make this process even more efficient. Eventually, I’d love to add easy go-to recipes on the Cache!

Things to Think About After The Season


Tree planting seasons are mentally and physically exhausting. Planning time off after the season is a great way to recover. Schedule a few weeks of active rest, whatever that means for you. If you are returning to work or school, scheduling time off is imperative to prevent burnout.

Get Involved in Community

I always struggled to re-integrate into regular society after a planting season. I missed the small community vibe that planting provides. One thing I always found helpful to support the transition out of a planting season was to find a like-minded community where I felt safe to be myself. This looked like doing my yoga teacher training, taking acting classes, and travelling. Find your people.


Life administration refers to the personal day-to-day processes and procedures that can often feel daunting and overwhelming. Thinking through these things before they are right up in your face demanding your attention, can be helpful.

By being proactive and more organized, one can reduce stress and ensure that these life admin pieces don’t become a burden when tending to them will feel almost impossible. We can’t be on top of everything all the time, but even just starting to think about one of these things can help create a bit more balance in life's chaos.

Not all of these pieces will be relevant for everyone. The point I'm trying to get across is that it helps to plan ahead when working seasonally. Consider reflecting on what life admin pieces you can think about now that will help you feel supported in the future. Maybe current-you can support future-you.


What is 'Life Administration' For Tree Planters?

This piece is dedicated to my younger self, who would have benefited greatly from having more support and a bit more of a plan.

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