With the government encouraging workers to return to the office, and many more already working hard in the shops, cafes and bars across the North East, it won’t be long before that commute once again becomes a dreaded one.

While the carriages and roads are clear enough at the moment, it’s a calm before the storm. A storm many of us had almost forgotten about.

But never fear, while masks are essential, keeping yourself entertained during your bus or train into town will also be, and we’re on hand with a number of suggestions on how to do that!

Below you’ll find some top tips on how to keep yourself in the right frame of mind when you’re back to battling the daily commute on public transport…

Podcasts

Podcasts have become big in recent years and lockdown has seen an explosion of them. Richard, who has been commuting into Newcastle since the restaurants reopened swears by them as a way of distraction from the noise.

He said, “Podcasts have really kept me going on my hour in and out of town each day. I’ve been listening to a lot of sports podcasts such as the Socially Distant Sports Bar and Quickly Kevin as a way to stay upbeat and positive during a time where you have to be careful about who you are in contact with and the surfaces you touch.”

“I’ve found commuting a stressful experience, but being transported away through listening has helped ease that.”

Mobile Games

Of course, prior to lockdown many of us used to game on commutes into work, and it’s a formula that doesn’t need fixing.

The rise in people playing mobile games during lockdown has been quite staggering and it will likely lead to more and more people doing so on their journey into work.

From new online slots and casino games to puzzles, word games and quizzes, there’s something for everyone, which is why so many trains are packed full of gamers first thing in the morning.

Marina, a bank manager in South Shields has been using her daily commute to seek some light entertainment.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing games on my way to work, and I generally switch what I’m playing every few months. At the moment I’m enjoying the variety of online slots available online.

“My commute is only a short one so I just need something to enjoy for five to 10 minutes and I feel like I can get a good session in during this time. I even won £30, the other day!”

Slots and bingo in particular have seen a sharp rise of players during the pandemic, the latter of which saw a 30% rise in new players at one point, and it looks like it could be a new hobby for many making their way back into work.

Catch Up On News

“Nothing has changed for me,” says John, who has been commuting into the city for much of the pandemic while working at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

“With all that’s going on in the world, I’ve tried to stay as rigid to my routine prior to lockdown as possible, and that begins with catching up on the news on my way into work.”

Reading the news, particularly when the world is changing so quickly, was recommended by a number of commuters to us, although most had committed to doing so via smartphone rather than physical copies in the current climate.

It was clear that much of the reason for this was to see if anything had changed in regards to the pandemic, given the recent trend of lockdown announcements during the late evening.

Stream TV

Similar to podcasts or the radio, streaming shows via the likes of Netflix and iPlayer has also been a popular way of completely removing one’s self from the environment they are in.

Tom, a student who has picked up some bar work during the summer, uses his bus journey to watch the shows he’d previously missed in the evenings while working.

“The bus takes me around half an hour to get into town, so it’s the perfect length of time to watch one episode. I like to catch up with what I’ve missed, as well as taking a bit of time to watch recommendations from staff at work.”

Of course, in all cases, while it’s important to ensure you make your commute as pain free and easy for yourself during what will be a stressful time, it is also important to stress that while casting your mind away from it all, it is also important to stay alert on your commute, more so than ever before.