Energy prices are rising, the country's being ravaged by storms, the pandemic lingers on, and to quote Sean Bean, winter is coming.
Who knows - it may not be long before we're forced to survive on what food and fuel we can find in the woods.
All of which means Gravesend historian Toni Mount's new book, How to Survive Medieval England, has arrived just in the nick of time.
We jest of course - God willing - but after a bleak year, Toni's book provides a welcome diversion for anyone keen on dreaming their way out of Britain 2021 and back to a distant time of monsters, miracles and muddy battlefields.
The Gravesend author starts her book on the premise that readers have actually got a time machine, and warns us to take a hard copy of her book as a guide, rather than the Kindle version...
"Because when the battery runs out you won't have it any more," she explains, which makes some kind of sense, as long as the time machine doesn't need batteries too.
But then again, if this was all about common sense, why not set the controls of the time machine to sometime more fun, like the 1960s, rather than dark time of famine, disease and war?
Well, that attitude is in fact part of Toni's continued inspiration - and she's spent much of her career trying to show people the wonders of a period that was once derided even by experts as a bleak and uninteresting historical wasteland.
"Everything we do goes back to medieval times, if not before," explains Toni. "The fact that Sunday is treated differently to the rest of the week all goes back to religion. The days of the week are named after Anglo Saxon gods.
"My granddaughter has done the Tudors and Romans at school, but it's limited - it's like nothing has happened in between and yet this is when the foundations of our society originated. It's a huge shame the school curriculum tends to jump that bit."
OK, that's settled then. It's time to pack our tunics and set the time machine dial to somewhere between AD 410 and 1485.
The handy survival guide offers everything you'll need to know - where to live, what to eat and wear, what languages to learn, and what to do if you fall ill.
Fortunately Toni is an expert in the latter field having got a masters degree in medieval medicine.
"I studied a proper medical text book from 1454," she clarifies. "Their idea of medicine was a bit odd though. A large section of the book was about how to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. If you couldn't get better that was the best treatment going."
For lesser ailments that don't require divine intervention there are plenty of other remedies to bear in mind.
"A quick and soothing treatment for small burns and cuts? You find a snail and rub its slime on the burn," adds Toni. "Slime protects the snail from injury and helps heal any nicks and cuts, and it can do the same for people."
That piece of advice might not actually be as weird and misguided as it sounds.
"Holland and Barrett do sell snail gel," adds Toni. "It's very expensive and one of the main ingredients is snail slime."
Another top tip might help you avoid getting the plague from flea bites.
Toni explains: "If you travel back in time, be generous with the lavender and fleabane - it dissuades insects. Put it around the house and put it on the floor."
So far, so vaguely sensible, but avoiding death in the medieval period is a tough task.
Snails and bags of lavender can only do so much, and wouldn't provide much help if you've had your head sliced open by a vicious Viking or a narky knight.
Surprisingly though, there's evidence that medieval medicine could help if you sustained severe injuries in battle, and Toni uses the example of a skeleton found at the site of the battle of Towton - fought in Yorkshire in 1461 - as evidence.
"In 1996, a mass grave was discovered near the site of the battle, " she explains. "The skeletons were all male, aged between 16 and 60 and all had met violent deaths.
"However, the skeleton known as ‘Towton 16’ was in his late 40s and because of a healed injury this wasn’t his first encounter with a weapon of war.
"He had a major blade injury to his jaw, slashing through the left side of his face and deep enough to shear off a piece of bone and a tooth.
"But this old wound had been treated and long since healed without any sign of infection - the surgeon must have known his craft so well - only for him to die at a later battle."
So there's hope if you end up accidentally dialling the time machine into the middle of Agincourt, but it's probably advisable to try to avoid severe injury.
If you are planning on venturing near to Stamford Bridge or Hastings for a glimpse of the action in 1066, time travellers from 2021 should of course bring a heavy duty puffer jacket and/or an automatic weapon.
You won't find that advice in Toni's book though.
Published by Pen and Sword, How to Survive Medieval England is strictly for those wanting to embrace the medieval experience and learn about real life in the period.
While battles and crusades might provide the headline grabbing moments of the period, everyday activities we take for granted now, such as getting hold of some bread or taking a trip to another town, would have also been a tough challenge and even a threat to survival.
"You would travel with great difficulty," explains Toni. "They didn't bother with signposts. If you went from London to York that would be fine because everyone would be making that journey.
"If you wanted to go from London to Sutton Valence you might be okay until Maidstone, but then you would have to ask directions. People were naturally suspicious of strangers so they might tell you the truth or they might not. The whole of England was suspicious of strangers - and that would mean anyone from a couple of villages away and beyond. If I turned up at Sutton Valence and a crime was committed I would be taken to be a suspicious character because no one would be able to vouch for my reputation."
Thankfully these days Toni can travel to a new town and give a lecture on history without fear of being accused of mugging someone the previous night.
Besides teaching history, she also appears as a costumed interpreter at historical events and writes murder mystery books.
Born in London, she moved to Gravesend when she was three years old, and began her career as a laboratory assistant for pharmaceutical company Glaxo, in Dartford.
And while that seems an unlikely first step on a career in history and literature, it did help her on her way.
"We were doing some forward looking research - looking at new ways to produce insulin for diabetics," she recalled. "I think that's why that whole medical side of history appealed to me."
Toni's first history book 'Everyday Life in Medieval London' was published when she was 61, and she's gone on to write many more books, including nine medieval murder mysteries, with the assistance of husband Glenn.
"I couldn't do any of this without him," she says. "He does everything - he's technical consultant, financial director, coffee maker, we visit places together for research.
"I'm not up there with James Patterson but I've survived."
Although she's survived as an author, Toni doesn't rate her chances if she took the trip suggested by her latest book.
"I would be useless," she says. "I would know what to do but whether I would be able to do it is another matter. I certainly wouldn't have lived to be 67 - I've had far too many ailments and would never have recovered. I think I'm safer with the National Health Service."
For those who do fancy their chances, Godspeed you brave souls.
How to Survive Medieval England can be bought here.