Moving to Portugal has singlehandedly been the best thing that happens to expat Kamra Clemons. In fact, eight months into her move, she’s realized that Portugal has saved her life.

“Living in Portugal has given me the opportunity to take care of myself, focus on my mental health, and my physical health,” she tells Travel Noire.

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This wasn’t the case for her in the United States where Clemons says she felt on the edge all the time only exasperating her depression and anxiety. 

Moving To Portugal
Photo Credit: Kamra Clemons

She didn’t recognize those feelings until moving back to Michigan after her time abroad in Thailand for a year and a half.

“Going back home is when that reverse culture shock hit me,” she tells Travel Noire. “I felt trapped and pressure to do certain things. It was just really hard.”

Clemons says it was the grind culture in the U.S. that had her anxious all the time.

“I didn’t know how to rest or relax because I was always doing something or thinking about the need to work on my side hustles,” Clemons added.  “Honestly, if I would’ve had a mental breakdown if I would’ve stayed.”

Learning To Reset Boundaries

Women reportedly experience depression double the rates of men, but it hits Black women differently. 

Black women 18 years and older report feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness at a higher rate than white women.

“Nearly 10% of Black women say they feel like everything is an effort. Less than 6% of white women say the same,” according to stats from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health.

For Clemons, moving to Portugal has been a chance to recharge herself so she doesn’t fall victim to these statistics.

Moving To Portugal
Photo Credit: Kamra Clemons

“I’m relearning myself, especially when it comes to setting boundaries and taking really good care of myself. “I’m resting a lot more and it’s something I feel bad about it,” says Clemons. ” I witness my friends and my family stressed all the time. That can manifest to not just your mental illness but also your physical health with high blood pressure. I definitely feel like I am adding more years on to my life and I’m saving myself by doing things differently.”

Clemons say her only regret is not taking care of herself sooner.

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