You Need a Break
The Four of Swords is like an oasis of calm in a suit that presents more challenges than most. It signifies a chance to rest and meditate after a period of struggle and/or in preparation for another one. It might look a little creepy (or not depending on your point of view) with the funereal overtones, but is the card not simply implying that you are now in a position to enjoy the sleep of the dead, for a few hours.
Since this card is reversed, I’m sensing that this person could really do with a break but is either unable or unwilling to take one. That just won’t do. The downtime indicated by this card isn’t really a suggestion. It’s a requirement if you want to keep your batteries from going flat.
This person is not listening to what they’re body is telling them. Knowing how and when to strike a balance is a key to staying healthy. Sometimes you can soldier on like the Nine of Cups, and sometimes you just have to shut everyone and everything out like the Four of Swords.
Many people struggle with taking care of their own needs when they perceive they should be taking care of someone else’s, and there are of course times when you are going to lose that conflict if you’re a parent or a caregiver, for example. But it is a fact that in order to take care of someone else, you have to be able to take care of yourself first and foremost. You have to nourish yourself—it can’t always be about what someone else needs.
If you let yourself get run down physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally or any combination of the above, then you aren’t going to have the energy and enthusiasm you need for the people who depend on you. Plus you will live a grey existence of constant drudgery, and who is going to put their hand up for that?
You need to find a way to take care of you with the kind of urgency and commitment you show to others. You have as much right to inner peace as anybody else, and you are the most qualified to define what that means to you and provide it to yourself. You need to give yourself a break.