CARE to Become a More Resilient First Responder

Many people think of resilience as a quality, but it’s actually a skill that can be fostered and developed. We’re defining resilience as “a person’s ability to withstand, adapt to and recover from adversity and stressful situations.” The most important thing about resilience is that it helps counter the compounding stressors first responders experience both on and off the job. By becoming more resilient, first responders can fight career burnout while also boosting their quality of life.


One great way to help improve your own personal resilience is by following the CARE formula:


C: Consistency: creating and following a plan for diet, exercise, sleep and other actions that promote physical and mental health.

A: Active: being physically active at least three times per week, 30-45 minutes for each session.

R: Recovery: planning and observing active recovery days, practicing good sleep hygiene.

E: Eating: choosing foods that help manage inflammation and stress, following hydration recommendations.


Paying close attention to these four elements will help you become a more resilient first responder. You’ll likely also see improvements in your personal well-being as you safeguard your physical and mental health.

For more practical strategies for coping with stress, maintaining mental and physical wellness, and providing assistance to those around you, check out some of the great resources Lexipol has created for the inaugural First Responder Wellness Week!

Aaron Zamzow

AARON ZAMZOW is a firefighter/training officer for Madison (Wisconsin) Fire Department with 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer and host of the Better Every Shift podcast. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness as well as a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. He is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist, an NASM certified personal trainer and an ACE-certified peer fitness trainer. Zamzow is the founder and owner of and develops programs aimed at getting fire rescue athletes fit for duty. He authored the book "Ladder 2 Workout: A Comprehensive Firefighter Workout Program that will get you 'Fit for Duty' in 28 days." Connect with Zamzow on Twitter at @GetFRFit, on Facebook at Fire Rescue Fitness or at

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