It's (most likely) happening, New Englanders: The first snowstorm of 2019 is expected to hit Massachusetts late Saturday and carry into Sunday, bringing heavy snow, sleet, and a vengeance with it. And while it may not shape up to be another "Snowpocalypse," this weekend's storm is still a rude awakening to the fact that we have at least two more months of winter — and nor'easters — to look forward to.

In light of Ye Old Boston Snowstorm finally rearing its frigid head, here are some tips for surviving the winter in the city we call home.

1. There is free and discounted parking during snow emergencies
Parking in Boston can be difficult in even the nicest weather. For those who typically depend on street parking, some garages in the city offer free or discounted parking during snow emergencies. The discounted rate begins two hours before the declared snow emergency and ends two hours after the city lifts the emergency, according to the city of Boston's website.

A list of all garages that offer free or discounted parking, including addresses, rates, and contact information, can be found here. Some garages only offer the discounted rate to residents of that neighborhood, so it's best to double-check who qualifies for the discount ahead of time.

Of course, don't park on major roads and arteries during a declared snow emergency, the city of Boston website reminds, or your car will be ticketed and towed. A reference list of all restricted roads throughout the city can be found here. An interactive map with complete information about restricted roads and opportunities for free or discounted parking can be found here.

For non-restricted streets, space savers are allowed only during an official city-wide snow emergency. Objects like trash cans or cones can be placed in a cleared parking spot to save it, but only until 48 hours after the city lifts the emergency ban. Remember: The South End has banned space savers.

2. Don't let the cold stop you from exercising
While staying indoors to hibernate with a cup of cocoa may seem preferable to pulling on running shoes in winter months, there are many ways to stay physically active during the cold weather.

Katherine Engels, the health and wellness coach at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Ambulatory Practice of the Future, said she encourages her clients to "hack the winter" by finding a physical activity that they actually enjoy doing.

"When we find the exercise pursuits that we enjoy, that gives us the greatest chance of sustaining them over the long term so that we have consistent routines and permanent habits," Engels said.

Try a new seasonal activity that is outdoors, Engels suggested, like skiing or ice skating, or explore a new indoor or heated activity like hot yoga.

For people who do want to exercise in cold weather outdoors, warm-ups are very important, Engels said, because the muscles will be tight and stiff in the cold. Gradually warm your muscles up before exercising to avoid injury, she said. And don't forget to hydrate.

3. Know your limits when it comes to shoveling snow
When snow gathers in our driveways and around entryways, shoveling snow becomes part of our winter routine. And while shoveling is often seen as just another obligatory household chore during the winter, Dr. Randy Zusman, director of the division of hypertension at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, said it is important to take safety precautions while shoveling.

Snow shoveling can significantly increase cardiac work and increase blood pressure, Zusman said. He said he asks his patients with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, or a history of heart problems to "rigorously avoid" significant snow shoveling because of the demand associated with lifting heavy loads.

"Every winter we unfortunately hear of someone who's found collapsed or even died at the end of their driveway while snow shoveling," Zusman said.

If you are able to shovel, Zusman emphasized the importance of staying hydrated and taking on manageable sections. It's not always wise to take on an 18-inch snowfall all at once, he said, so try shoveling every six inches and take breaks when you feel fatigued.

If someone with heart problems thinks it wouldn't be safe to take on shoveling an entire driveway, Zusman was clear: Don't do it. Don't hesitate to ask a relative or neighbor for help, he said.

"People often find that neighbors and friends and family band together in times of snowstorm, and even if you might not able able to shovel, others are ... likely [able] to help you," Zusman said. "And you might be helpful in other ways, by bringing out the hot chocolate or coffee to support the shovelers. I don't think people should feel that their inability to shovel means they're by any means not contributing their share to the effort."

4. Choose the right armor to battle the cold
Wearing a suitably warm winter coat and pair of boots can make a world of difference when the weather hits freezing temperatures, so putting thought into choosing the right ones shouldn't be overlooked.

There are two main types of winter coat insulators: down and synthetic.

Down coats provide the best heat retention, so they'd be the right choice for those trying to find the warmest possible option. To judge a down jacket's warmth, look at either the down fill power or the percentage of down versus feathers inside the insulation. Down fill power, which is essentially a quantitative measurement of the down insulation's quality, is measured on a scale from 400 to 900, with 900 being the best quality (and most expensive). The higher the fill power, the warmer the jacket will be.

Many outdoors or camping stores will advertise a winter coat's down fill power, but department stores that sell less expensive jackets tend not to be so technical. More commonly listed on websites or clothing tags for coats in a lower price range will be two percentages: one that lists how much of the insulation is made up of down — the soft, white, fluffy feathers that keep ducks and geese warm — and what percentage is made up of (less warm) outer feathers. The more the percentage favors down over feathers, the warmer the coat. So, a coat that's 80 percent down and 20 percent feathers will be better insulated (and pricier) than one that is 60 percent down and 40 percent feathers.

Synthetic insulation, which is made up of plasticized fibers like polyester, is less expensive than down. Synthetic coats don't insulate as well as down does, so they won't be as warm. While synthetically insulated jackets perform better in wet weather — down insulation needs protection with a water-proof outer shell — they also tend to be bulkier and more difficult to compress for packing.

When shopping for heavy winter boots, the amount of insulation is generally more important to look for than the material used (nearly always synthetic, except for luxury brands). The synthetic insulation is measured in either millimeters or grams — ranging from about 100 to 600 grams — depending on the seller. Heavier insulation means the boot will be warmer and more comfortable, due to the cushion-y feel. It's helpful if the lining is removable, because it can be taken out of the boot and hung up to dry in case it gets wet.

It's also crucial to dress smart when exercising outdoors in the cold.

"The secret really is in getting the right gear," Engels said. Layering is a must for outdoor exercise, and it's better to wear clothes made of synthetic fibers instead of cotton for the layers that touch the skin. Don't forget your hat and gloves, and opt for outerwear that is wind-resistant and shoes with plenty of traction to avoid slipping on ice.

5. Check in on your mental health
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more than just experiencing unhappiness, said Dr. Fadi Ramadan, a primary care physician at Tufts Medical Center. The disorder comes with feelings of worthlessness, he said, and can affect one's job and relationships. It can also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as weight loss or gain and changes in sleeping patterns.

SAD is cyclical with the seasons, Ramadan said, which differentiates the disorder from depression. Because of the predictable nature of SAD, there are preventative steps that can alleviate the symptoms.

One preventative measure is using light therapy, he said. Having bright or LED lights at home can help combat SAD. Lifestyle changes that emphasize a connection between the mind and body like exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation, as well as music and art therapy are also a big help, Ramadan said.

"Exercise is definitely highly recommended," Ramadan said. "Most gyms are bright during the middle of the winter, so going to the gym at night can break the cycle."

If lifestyle changes aren't enough, Ramadan emphasized the importance of seeking professional help. When it gets to the point that someone sees that their work performance and personal life are suffering, that is an indicator of the need to see a medical professional, he said. This could include seeing a primary care physician for anti-depressants to last the remainder of the winter or talking to a therapist.

Ramadan also said that if someone is struggling, they should not try to just "tough it out" and wait until they end of winter.