The “happy” in Happy New Year seems rather redundant this year. The sun sets just after 4pm, your nose freezes the second you step out the door, and, to top it all off, England has entered its third (and hopefully final) lockdown. The January blues are rife.

But fear not. Our writers at Reaction are here to cheer you up with the secret tips, tricks and habits that help us keep our heads up and remain optimistic and cheerful through these testing times. Sometimes things have to get worse to get better, but get better they will!

Mattie Brignal

The Thick of It is 90% effective against the Covid blues: life is pretty bleak but I’d rather be locked down than be Hugh Abbott. The heroically tired minister slouches from crisis to omnishambles with a hangdog expression and the resignation of a man minutes away from a date with the gallows. A clip of the volcanic comms director Malcolm Tucker going ballistic after a departmental leak has been repurposed by the BBC as a public awareness campaign. “It’s a f***ing lockdown, right now!” thunders Malcolm. Hapless minister Nicola Murray protests that it’s not a prison drama. “We are in a prison drama,” Malcolm retorts. “This is the f***ing Shawshank Redemption but with more tunnelling through sh*t and no f***ing redemption.” Know that feeling.