Captain Buck Best’s personal journey, behavioral health experience, and progressive wellness research have led to his top ten techniques critical for first responder self-care. It is essential that we “put our oxygen masks on first so we can help others”.

BEST Tips for Resiliency Strengthening

1. Add Creation into your life to Counterbalance the Destruction experienced on the job. Cooking, woodworking, metalsmithing, glassblowing, painting, writing, etc. Literally any creative act will assist in decreasing cumulative stress and encourage mindfulness. Check out for free classes for responders and their families.

2. Exercise for emotional release as well as physical strengthening to stave off prevalent occupational injuries.

3.  Incorporate disciplines that focus on Breathwork and Bodywork; yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, massage, etc. This can assist in physiological reregulation which is needed post repetitive traumatic stress. Be mindful of your breathing on a daily basis.

4.  Practice good sleep hygiene when off-duty so the body can physiologically reregulate after grueling 24-hour shifts. Essential for stress management.

5.  Seek nature for grounding. Let Mother Nature replace the senses that might have been distorted on the job. Animals are fantastic stress relievers.

6.   Healthy nutrition keeps us battle ready and fit-for-the-fight.

7.  Volunteer to promote servanthood over yourself.

8.  Healthy socializing with family and friends is stress relieving. Plan outdoor or creative activities together while actively practicing being present in that moment.

9.  Humor is healing so listen to comedians, watch funny movies, tell funny jokes, or tell funny stories. Laughter is our medicine.

10.   Practice Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude.


  • Kathy Sullivan

    Expressive Arts Consultant, MAAT, R.E.A.C.E.


    Kathy Sullivan, MAAT, REACE, is the managing director of the Ashes2Art program which provides complimentary creative arts services to first responders and their families as part of a preventative wellness initiative. The creative arts are a natural platform to decrease cumulative stress while maintaining a  battle-ready status for the next traumatic shift. It is a monumental honor to engage and interact with such amazing men and women. Blessed.